Two-year-olds Being Taught to be Snake Charmers in Indian Clan
Jun 12, 2009 11:09
The Vadi tribe in western India teach their offspring how to charm snakes, and many of them start as young as two-years of age.
The tasks of snake charming are divided btween the sexes - with the men charming the snake with the traditional flute, and the women caring for the snakes when the men aren't around.
"The training begins at two, the children then are taught the ancient ways of snake charming until they are ready to take up their roles in our community," said chied snake charmer, 60-year-old Babanath Mitunath Madari. "At twelve the children will know everything that they can know about snakes"
"They are then ready to continue the traditions of the Vadi tribe which can be stretched back over one thousand years to India's great Raja's."
The Vadi tribe doesn't stay in one place for more than six months. They take great pride in their association with deadly snakes and have an almost mythical attachment to them, especially cobras.
Instead of cutting off the venomous snake fangs, they feed the snakes a herbal mixture which renders the snakes poison useless. They don't harm the snames as "they are like children" to the tribe.
Madari only knows of only one man ever bitten by a snake, which he says is "because he kept the snake longer than seven months." It is considered "disrespectful" to the snake to keep it away from its natural habitai for more than seven months.
Snake charming was actually made illegal in 1991, and the Vadi have often gotten into trouble with police, and suffered discrimination from nearby towns, should they try to look for food or water.