Inhumanity in the name of God: The heinous reality of Nagpanchami and the steps being taken


By NewsGram Staff Writer

Nagpanchami is a festival celebrated all over India, where people worship the Snake God. This eve, where it’s auspicious to even have a glimpse of a cobra and offer it some milk, has a very inhuman and grim reality attached to it. A month before the auspicious day, snake charmers start hunting and capturing snakes and harm them in the most brutal ways. Because watching a snake is considered holy and lucky on this day, snake charmers make a lot of money out of this. But nobody bothers to even think about the painful conditions snakes are kept in.

Snake_in_basketSnake charmers remove the fangs and venom of the snakes for the safety of the people when they are put for public display on the eve of Nagpanchami. Then they stitch the snake’s mouth with a thread so that it does not eat anything, thereby making it hungry and thirsty. Hence offering milk on this auspicious day is an act of forcefully making the snakes drink milk which is not their food at all. Also, the absence of its venom apparatus and other severe infections result in the snake being unable to eat its natural prey or even drink water later. By the time Nagpanchami is over, the snake is extremely weak, severely infected and the snake charmer, after making his money, just throws the snake away, thereby letting it die a very slow and painful death.

Fortunately, with the combined efforts of various NGOs, Wildlife Protection Activists and government initiatives over the years there has been a decline in the number of snakes getting harmed. To protect snakes falling prey to such heinous hands, the Bombay High Court, on July 15, 2014, had banned the capture and exhibition of snakes on Nagpanchami. Citing references to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the court had also rejected Battis Shirala’s opposition to the ban. It also cast aside the town’s contention that the festival was centuries old, pointing out that the gazette published in 1858 had no mention of the festival in the town.

The Friends of Snakes Society, Hyderabad, takes a lot of measures in this regard. The volunteers and activists of this society, a month before Nagpanchami, start searching for the buses and vehicles and scrutinizing the snake charmers and all possible luggage where a snake could be found. If found, the snakes are taken to a veterinary doctor and are given proper medication.

The blind faith in religion and God and the stupidity of people lead to such inhumane acts and create loopholes in the society that allow the snake charmers to indulge in this.

But fortunately, there are measures being taken which are proving effective in saving the Snake God we worship, from the absurdity of how we show our belief and faith; doing so in the name of religious traditions.