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Hygiene, Disease and Everyday Resistance

Education was not the only sphere where there were a lot of battles, but also in many other spheres like health, hygiene and religion.

Plague Strikes Hanoi :-

The French wanted to create a modern Vietnam, and so decided to rebuild Hanoi. Bubonic plague started to spread in the modern part of Hanoi in 1903. Serious social conflicts were caused by the measures to control the spread of disease in many colonial countries. But it was different in Hanoi.

  • The part of Hanoi that had French majority was taken proper care of

  • Parts of Hanoi that had local people were not taken proper care of. The sewage pipes, the stagnated waters, were left uncared.

  • The result was the increase in the number of rats and the problems caused by them.

Stagnant Canals in Hanoi

The Rat Hunt :-

  • A rat hunt was started in 1902, to follow up this problem.

  • The Vietnamese workers were hired by the French and paid them for each rat they caught.

  • They caught thousands of rats, but there seemed to be no end of them.

  • The rat hunt seemed to provide an early lesson in the success of collective bargaining for the Vietnamese.

  • They found that a higher bounty could be negotiated, if they came together. Innovative ways to profit from this situation were discovered.

  • They tried to do various tricks, to earn a bounty.

  • The French were forced to scrap the bounty programme, defeated by the resistance of the weak.

Rat Hunt

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