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BEADS Don Bosco Lucknow Relief Aid for Marginalised Snake Charmers

By Father Babu Varghese
Snake-Charmers of Sausiran, Lucknow
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New Delhi, Jun. 12. Bosco Educational and Development Society (BEADS) team from Don Bosco Technical Institute, Mohanlalganj-Lucknow District in Uttar Pradesh, distributed food 06 kilometres away from its premises, in Sausiran village under the Banthra Police Station jurisdiction.
Sausiran village long considered as the 'village of snake charmers'is presently pushed to the brink of marginalisation, with a total loss of sustained livelihood and cultural articulation. COVID-19 and its disastrous aftermath has added to the misery of the semi-nomadic people whose survival is at stake.
Sausiran located about 06 kilometres from Don Bosco Technical Institute, Mohanlalganj, generally evokes  images of dusky men with snakes twisting around their bodies while they played the flute, in front of baskets containing snakes to entertain people on the streets and in public places. Once revered for their ability to tame reptiles, these snake charmers are invited by people to catch snakes from their houses and take them away. The locals depend on them for cures for various ailments, especially snake bites. Their medicinal knowledge is unique to the community and unfathomable by practitioners of allopathy and homeopathy. Their medicines are made out of roots and herbs. They are even able to take control of poisonous snakes very easily. Snake charming has been their main source of livelihood for years. Snakes are part of their households and daily life.

Today, these semi-nomadics of Sausiran say that their centuries-old tradition is slowly dying out as authorities seek to enforce wildlife protection laws. They are battling to try and keep the ancient practice alive in their village.

As Bosco Educational and Development Society (BEADS) team entered Sausiran village, they thought that some of the villagers would be snake charmers, but the reality surprised every one of them. Fathr Edward Sacrawat  says: ''I was astonished to see that the whole village was filled with snake charmers.''  On enquiring about their situation in these COVID-19 days, Brajendra Nath said, ''We are all snake charmers and we have no other source of in, under the come at all these days and we are not even having food to eat.''

The older men and women hardly have clothes to wear. Their situation is pathetic, they can hardly stand erect. BEADS provided food provisions to sustain these snake-charmers for a while, who charmed by the relief aid provided, expressed profuse gratitude to the Don Bosco team.
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