Sunday, 22 April 2018

A female Snake Charmer ? A K foa good cause!!erala woman's daring pursuit

Raji with a cobra, KeralaNewIndianExpress

Never have I either heard or read about female snake catcher in India. In a man's world women, it seems, have already made a successful entry. Here is a scoop  for you which I recently read with interest.
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Normally, the very mention of snakes causes fear and a sort of trepidation among us. People are normally overwhelmed by anxiety and fear as we always look at the snakes as if they were  villains from Bollywood or Kollywood movies. The truth is without these predators  in the paddy fields, etc., our loss of food grains will be immense. Just like the snakes owls play a great role in reducing the rodent population in the agricultural fields. But in India, sighting an owl is a bad omen. Some people believe that hooting of owls in some places is a warning of impending  death. Such superstitions do exist in rural areas.

In this age of  woman empowerment, we have seen women successfully striding  the areas that were once dominated by men. There is almost no field in India that does not have women folks. They are flying passenger planes, fighter air crafts, run express trains. Indian women have  scaled Mt. Everest and many of them hold records. 

What about the scary area of snake charming? This neither requires  a college degree nor does it require a technical degree. Unlike other folds ridden with danger, in this pretty old field which is a man's world, the death is  just a few inches away!! A wrong sleight of hand is enough to send the snake charmer to the nearest hospital. For a Keralite  woman, snake charming is a passion and not a profession.
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For a 34-year old  Kerala woman by the name of J R Raji  who is a home maker  catching the reptiles is like  playing Checker-board.  Native of Pacha near  Nanniyode village  located at the foothills of Western Ghats, catching snakes  has been a passion since her late childhood  and  she does it with keen desire as a social service.  Her parents were rubber-tappers  and she used to see lots of snakes on the rubber estate. She took basic training in trapping snakes and gets satisfaction when she helps the  distressed people from danger.   According to media reports over a period of one year she saved 483 snakes from Kollam and Thiruvaanthapuram districts, thus establishing herself as a skilled woman snake-charmer in a man's realm.
Because of her continuous interaction with the reptiles, she has become a saviour  of reptiles in Kerala. Since their habitats are fast disappearing, snakes  frequently get into human settlements to roost. Her job is to rescue  the snake and and save the jittery people from panic and threats. When caught, she  hands over the snakes to the government and she does not catch snakes for money. In case people insist, the money will go to charity.
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Mrs. Raji can handle any poisonous snake including vipers and deadly pythons. with skill. She never shows any sign of fear when handling cobras and other snakes. When facing the critters in close quarters, her concentration, quick reflexes and snake's behavior  come handy for her. Though she had a close shave on a few occasions, she  was not disturbed. On the contrary, she has become more resolute in pursuit of dangerous reptiles to catch  them and save them than give uo on snake-catching. She is the mother of two children and is being encouraged by her husband.
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/meet-raji-the-lone-woman-in-hiss-world/article23383779.ece