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Glimpse of India- Land of snake charmers?

Land of snake charmers?

Ask westerners and they can tell you that India is a land of Snake Charmers. Though a huge number of Indians have not spotted a single charmer in their lifetimes, the foreigners have an assurance that these mysterious persons are quite a common sight in India. I’m sure many people reading this article want to know about these fellows curiously.

What is a Snake Charmer

Snake-Charmer is a person who appears to hypnotize the snakes by playing a wind instrument (Pungi) around them. They take necessary precautions while playing with the snakes. In addition to staying away from venomous snakes, they carefully remove the creature’s fangs before performing the act.

*Earlier, the Snake Charmers were considered magicians or healers. They were the men of high status and knew how to handle snakes and treat person bitten by a snake.

Snake Charmers- A common sight or not!

It seems that Snake Charming originated in India. In Hinduism, snakes are considered sacred and hence worshipped. In the early twentieth century, the government promoted this art to draw tourism.
Today, snake charming is dying out mainly because of the enforcement of the law (1972) to ban the ownership of snakes. Now the snake charmers are not found in every street of India. It doesn’t mean that they have completely disappeared. You can spot them in fairs, famous tourist spots or religious events.

Why is India called a Land Of Snake Charmers?

1) India is home to many venomous and non-venomous snakes. These species baffle our western friends and they see a connection between India and snakes.

2) India has a huge number of snake researchers, snake catchers, snake temples and snake worshippers🐍.

3) While other countries eat snakes, India worships them.

4) Before 1972, the government of India promoted snake charming to boost tourism. This led western countries to conclude that India is the Land Of Snake to Charmers.

How many times have I spotted a snake-charmer?

Frankly speaking, the sight is not common in India I know. As a small child, the spotting was more frequent say once in 2-3 months. As I grew older, the mysterious snake charmers started disappearing from the streets. For the reason, I explained earlier.

As PM Narendra Modi said, “We are no more land of snake charmers, rather even downgraded and play with MOUSE in Computers and rule the Whole Software world from India to Silicon Valley”.

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35 replies on “Glimpse of India- Land of snake charmers?”

Enjoyed this post! I agree with you – snake charmers aren’t even a common sight anymore. I am glad our global perception is slowly changing, especially as snake charmers continue to be equated to superstitions and illogical beliefs.

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Yes, they talk of Snake charmers as magicians or occultists and I think that’s not true. Training snakes is an art that has been banned by animal rights organizations.

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It’s interesting: when I was a kid the association of India and snakes was huge and snake charmers were a part of the portrait of India we in the west were shown. Now, though, I haven’t seen nearly so much reference to that here. I wonder if their disappearance from the streets resulted in fewer westerners seeing them and the myth not being reinforced quite as much.

It wasn’t until I was talking to a friend of mine just last week that I learned about Naag Panchami. Until then I hadn’t know why snake charmers existed beyond simple entertainment.

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You are an avid reader and hence know about other countries so well. I’m saying it again, “India is NOT a land of snake charmers; it was projected to be one in the past to promote tourism:)”
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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There was once a culture of snake charmers in India. I am glad it no longer exists in those many numbers anymore. Snakes are brutally captured, their fangs (teeth) pulled out using crude methods like pliers, and often these snakes die from gangrene and shock or related diseases. Snakes are for the most deaf, so the ‘music’ of the been doesn’t sway them, What they do is sway to the been in self defence. It isn’t really a dance, more of a desperate attempt at staying safe and alert, having been defanged and imprisoned in a tiny cane basket. Out of some 270 species of snakes found in India, only some 60 are venomous. Also, when a venomous snake bites, people often die from the shock and not the venom, because its not always that a snake injects venom of lethal quantity.

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Back when I was in highschool I wanted to be a herpetologist (ophidiologist in precise) and was very much influenced by Dr Brady Barr. And also wanted to join NatGeo…

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