Snake charming has long been a tradition in India. It is the practice of mesmerizing snakes by playing an instrument called Pungi to them. Despite its status as a national tradition, however, it seems that millennials have no interest in carrying out the legacy and are ready to leave it behind.
Snakes are revered by the Hindus of India, and these charmers are considered widely as followers of Shiva– the blue-skinned god who is usually seen with a draped around his neck.
Snake charmers conduct regular variety shows at Indian bazaars and festivals, captivating crowds who have no clue on how the charmers can control some of the world’s most dangerous creatures. The popularity of their act has now transcended from the usual bazaars into modern media, with several games about snake charming proving popular among mobile gamers, so it’s a surprise that millennials have no interest in picking up this Indian tradition.
Video credit: Alexandra Sfintesco
On iOS The Snake Charmer has become a big hit among casual gamers. European-based slots portal Pocket Fruity has also profited from the public’s fascination with snakes through their viral hit Viper Active. Despite the strong presence of snake charming via popular medias, however, it fails to garner actual snake charmers who want to carry on the tradition.
Modernity has played a huge part in phasing out this long-time tradition. In addition, snake charmers aren’t paid particularly well, as well as the obvious risks that come with hypnotizing dangerous serpents.
“There is no place in civilized society for people to go around catching snakes and taking them and doing some kind of an entertainment show with snakes,” said one, snake charmer.
Apart from modernity, the Indian snake charmers say that the tradition is quickly dying out as a result of the government enforcing wildlife protection laws for the snakes, and an outright ban on the practice since the early 90s.
A snake charmer earns around 200 rupees a day ($3), which is not enough to support a family. As a result, young people who were supposed to be carrying on the legacy from their parents are finding work in other industries. Others who have followed their parents’ footsteps are paying the price.
“Sometimes, I also feel that I should study, get a proper job or get into some business and work, so that I can take care of my responsibilities for my family and (future) children,” said a 21-year-old snake charmer.