Snake Charmer displays Cobra to mark Rath Yatra festival in Ranchi
By Abha Manakatala - Sat Jul 18, 10:25 am
Many Europeans talked about India as the ‘Land of the Snake Charmers’.Indeed,the breed of humans who eked out their living by catching and displaying snakes,and who had slipped into oblivion in the wake of the country-wide development in the later half of the twentieth century,continue to exist and thrive.
This was evident from their presence outside the Jagannath temple in Ranchi.One young snake charher carried in his bag snakes,especially Cobra,both male and female.Traditionally,Cobra was part of worship in temples.Hundreds of devotees of Lord Jagannath donated cash amount varying between paise 50 to Rs 100.
Folklores prevalent among the Hindus revealed that many deaths used to occur due to snake bites.This was a bane since ancient times and some historians claim that snakes were feared and revered by the people in the Indus Valley and by tribals in Jharkhand as well.This view point was common among Hindus as well.
No wonder,today when the Rath Yatra was on,snake charmers stood among the devotees near Jagannath temple in Ranchi.This was not for nothing.
Money was made by the snake charmer who made temple devotees offer him cash in return for the cobra’s blessings. But, looking at the health of the snakes,it was clear that though this money was hardly spent on the snakes,cobras were not starving.
“Some people may take it as a source of money and part of religion.As an observer I feel unhappy.So because snakes,including Cobras should be left in the wild and allowed to roam free and be wild”,said Manoj Prasad,Editor,www.jharkhandstatenews.com
“Instead, these poor creatures have been stripped of their main weapon, their poisonous fangs and are put inside a small wooden box. No wonder, the cobras are fast disappearing from India and the rest of the world.”
As it is,many of these snake charmers hail from Dhanbad district in Jharkhand.
It would be great if the Indian government/wildlife association roped in such skilled snake charmers and used their services for wildlife conservation and for rescuing snakes and letting them off in the wild.
www.jharkhandstatenews.com’s picyure shows a young snake charmer who earns his livelihood by owning and displaying Cobra at Jagarnnath Mela in Ranchi on Saturday.