Mizoram’s two main species of bamboo flower every 48–50 years, attracting hordes of rats that devour crops, leading to famine. The first time this happened, in 1959, the government was seriously unprepared, which led Laldenga to found the Mizo Famine Front (MFF) to combat famine. It transformed into the Mizo National Front (MNF), a guerrilla group fighting for secession. The government’s heavy-handed response in 1967 boosted support for the MNF who relied on essential Pakistani assistance, which came to an end with Bangladeshi independence. The MNF eventually came to the negotiating table and statehood was granted in 1986 in return for an end to the insurgency. Mizoram is now the most peaceful of the “seven sisters”. However, in 2007 the bamboo began to flower again, the rat population grew and crops were destroyed; thankfully, this time the famine was not as devastating.

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