• Short Summary

    Thirty thousand Jute workers at the Adamjee jute mill in the Nayaranganj community near Dacca, East Pakistan, were facing a cholera epidemic when these scenes were filmed on the 31st of December, 1971.

  • Description

    Thirty thousand Jute workers at the Adamjee jute mill in the Nayaranganj community near Dacca, East Pakistan, were facing a cholera epidemic when these scenes were filmed on the 31st of December, 1971.

    Two people had already died, and more than a hundred people were reported to be ill with the disease. Vaccines to combat the disease and food were in short supply.

    The mill is one of 32 taken over by the new Bangla Desh Government, but it had not yet been able to resume operation. A key factor in its doing so will be the many Bihari moslems among its workers. Here and at other mills the Biharis play a key role as manual workers, used to work in the mills which Bengalis key not be able to take over.

    The Indian army officers guarding the mill allowed some of the Biharis out of the compound to fetch supplies, although they feared attack by Bengalis since they had sympathised with the Pakistan regime before the war.

    Despite the tension, the Biharis may still have a vital role to play in the future of the jute industry.

    SYNOPSIS: Thirty thousand Jute mill workers at this mill in the Narayanganj community near Dacca, East Pakistan, were facing a cholera epidemic when these scenes were filmed on the last day of 1971. The mill, the biggest in the world, had been taken over by the new Bangla Desh Government, but was not yet able to resume production.

    Two people had already died from cholera at the time of filming, but more than a hundred were reported to be ill with the disease. And Reuter reported on Sunday that 15 had died in a suspected cholera outbreak at a jute mill in the Dacca area. At the time of the first deaths, only a very limited supply of vaccine was available for inoculations, and food supplies were also interrupted. Many of these people queuing for medical attention, often with small children, were already weakened by lack of food. Efforts by the International Red Cross to get supplies in were reported delayed by the need to get permission from the Bangla Desh administration.

    Many of the workers have additional fears, since they are Bihari Moslems, non-Bengalis many of whom sympathised with Pakistan before the war. They were afraid to leave the compound for medical treatment or fresh supplies in case they are attacked by Bengalis.

    Scenes like this sum the helplessness felt by many of the workers.

    At this time, too, money could have bought little to alleviate matters in the vicinity, had it suddenly become available. Fresh food was difficult to obtain, since the market had been disrupted by the Pakistani army. The few stalls remaining standing had very little to sell.

    Nonetheless, some of the Biharis decided that it was worthwhile leaving the jute mill compound, under guard by Indian soldiers, to forage for supplies. The Indians may in the future be greatly dependent on Bihari labour as they strive to get the jute mill back into production. Though some Biharis did support the Pakistan regime before the war, they may still have a key role to play in the East Pakistan economy for the Bangla Desh regime.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAADS60YZ8UR9P59Q9V0VHTDV18
    Media URN:
    VLVAADS60YZ8UR9P59Q9V0VHTDV18
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    01/01/1972
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:49:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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