Instead, they say, they make a sacred pact with a snake in the name of Pir Goga, their guru of ancient times. They tell the snake they will release it after a given time, usually months, if it agrees to cooperate and not hurt them.
Only a cobra is kept for a full year. It holds a kingly status among the snakes and jogis treat it as sacred. Their Pir Goga loved cobras and used to hang one around the neck. They feed it milk and let it sleep in their beds to stay warm in winter. In return, they say, a cobra guards them against evil, human or otherwise. Talisman A black cobra produces a talisman—a black, shiny, flat bead called a manka in the local language—that they say saves them from snakebites.
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Once placed on a bite, it sucks the poison from the blood, swelling in the process. The poison can then be squeezed out of the manka. It is considered so valuable and sacred that a jogi would never sell one, no matter the price. Anyone who does, it is believed, faces bad luck.
It is, however, allowed, to give it as a gift. Daughters, when they are married, expect their fathers to give a manka in their dowry. Staying in one place brought its own challenges to the jogi lifestyle. Dwindling interest As opportunities for formal schooling opened up, jogi children started moving towards more stable jobs and away from the nomadic existence. Several of his own children fall into that category.
Charming snakes | The Wider Image | Reuters
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Reading Comprehension | Snake Charmers
Bahasa Indonesia voaindonesia. He is a member of an ancient tribe of snake charmers known as Saperas, who over the generations have thrived on catching venomous snakes and making them dance to their music. Snakes are revered by Hindus in India and snake charmers are considered the followers of Lord Shiva, the blue-skinned Hindu god who is usually portrayed wearing a king cobra around his neck. Snake charmers were once a regular fixture at Indian bazaars and festivals, mesmerising crowds of onlookers with their ability to control some of the world's most venomous creatures.
The snake charmers of Jogi Dera say their centuries-old tradition is slowly dying out as authorities seek to enforce wildlife protection laws, and after an outright ban on the practice in Modernity is also doing its part to elbow out tradition and these days, Saperas don't earn much as there are plenty of other entertainment options available. Young villagers who had dreamed of a life of snake charming are leaving to find work on construction sites or as rickshaw drivers.
Kuldip Nath, a year-old snake charmer recalled how he joined his father in searching for snakes, and said he regrets not going to school. They would often be the main source of medicines if someone suffered from a snake bite. Children of snake charmers sit next to a fire on a cold winter evening. A son of a snake charmer collects buffalo dung to use as cooking fuel.