Wednesday, May 2, 2012

VIDEO: Snake Charming Kids

A two year old boy plays carelessly with a deadly cobra as his grandfather looks on proudly. This footage shows the dying tradition of snake charming in rural India.

For centuries, India's snake charmers have enjoyed a celebrated place in the country's history. The hypnotic tunes they played to enchant snakes to dance have not only captured the imagination of Indians, but people around the world. But now, the industry is fighting for its survival amid stringent wildlife protection laws. Since the late 1990s, when the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) was implemented, members of the nomadic Bedia community have seen their meagre finances dwindle still further. The Act bars people from using wild animals commercially or turning them into pets, including bans on performances with live snakes. The largely illiterate Bedia community have no other source of income. Clad in a colorful turban, Budh Nath, 65, is training his young grandson to perfect the ancient art of making a snake dance to music - despite the fact it is illegal and he could be jailed if caught. The family, which lives in Faridabad, an hours drive from Delhi, claim they used to make a good living and were respected as highly skilled performers.

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