The Chinese Lunar Calendar is set up in a ‘12-year cycle’ and each year is associated with an animal. According to the legend, Lord Buddha summoned the animals to him before he departed the earth. Only 12 came to bid him farewell and so he named each year after each animal as a reward.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2013 is the Year of the Snake, which begins on February 10, 2013 and ends on January 30, 2014. Ancient Chinese wisdom says, a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.
2013 is the Year of Water Snake. People born in the Year of the Snake are reputed to be thoughtful and wise and to approach problems rationally and logically, seldom instinctively.
Through this upload I would like to wish my Chinese Friends from all over the world ....
Happiness, health, prosperity, longevity and may all your wishes come true. Happy New “SNAKE” Year....!!!
NOW. . . lets come to my Part of the World;
as a Snake and Animal lover I am Thrilled to be a part of this Snake Year. Since 2013 is the year of “Water Snake” that brings back memories which is associated with the water snakes of Bangladesh. Let’s go back 20 years, at that time I was totally devoted to wild life photography and particularly of Snakes.
Whenever I went out for a field trip or a photography trip out of the city, I frequently used to catch one particular species of snake which is called “Dhoora Saap” (local name) or Asiatic Water Snake / Checkered Keel Back (Xenochrophis piscator). Probably this is the most distributed ‘Colubridae’ in Bangladesh. It’s a non-venomous water snake from the plains, abundant in waterways, such as flooded rice fields, ponds, lakes, marshes and rivers.
This species was so common that even in the capital city, they were very...very easy to find.
So, what is their Status in 2013 ?
In short, simply Alarming ! Their numbers has dramatically declined.
In Rural areas, I have to look hard to find one, even during and after the Monsoon Rains when they are supposed to be plentiful. In the city lakes and waterways... probably less than 10% of the previous population surviving.
The photograph above is NOT at all about the most common Snake of Bangladesh or how their number has declined during the last two Decades. It’s about the “PEOPLE” who is directly associated with the most Feared and Misunderstood species called “Snakes”.
I always believe ... “ if I want to Save the Elephants, first I need to Save the People whose lives are directly involved with the Elephants”.
let's meet. . . “Jyotsna” ( meaning Moonlight) . . . !!!
She represents “A Vanishing Breed” called “Bede” the Snake Charmers from Bangladesh.
They are also known as River Gypsies as they live in Boats. Bede’s themselves are convinced that their community has Arabic roots and that the name “Bede” was derived from the Arabic word “Bedouin”.
Currently Bangladesh has an estimated 500,000 snake charmers. Most snake charmers are Nomads, the word nomad comes from a Greek word that means one who wanders for pasture. Rivers are the Life for Bedes. For hundreds of years, they have wandered along rivers and intricate waterways by charming Snakes, selling Herbal Medicines, trinkets, performing Magic and Healing People.
In the 1980s and even the early 90s snake charmers used to be a common sight in the city streets and their colony of Boats can be found in the rural areas of Bangladesh. People used to call them and they played with their snakes while householders, especially the children looked on with a mixture of fear and expectations.
Today, the Snake charmers are struggling for their very survival. They are facing increasing difficulties throughout the country because their profession is in decline. Earlier, they earned around 500 taka ($6.25 ) now maybe 50 -100 taka ($0.63-1.25) - a day.
“People in the cities today no longer seem so interested to watch us entice the snakes or to buy herbal medicines from us. They lead a busy life and don't have the time or the inclination to watch performing Cobras" - said Hashim an elderly snake charmer, who was quoted recently in a Bangladeshi newspaper.
In rural areas, snake charmers can still attract some small crowds, but that is mostly during festivals which are not held on a regular basis.
There are several reasons put forward to explain the decline of the profession. In the past, people would be mesmerized by a dancing snake and the eerie sound of the flute. But today people in bigger cities and even in the villages... are pressed for time and provided with alternative forms of entertainment - regard snake charmers almost as an “Irritation”.
Another reason is the fact that snakes themselves are harder to find due to a Combination of Deforestation and Urbanization.
On February 6th 2013, I read an article from BBC News which was about a 'snake village' called ‘Zisiqiao’ located in China.
It is a sleepy village with a deadly secret. A couple of decades ago, locals in Zisiqiao made a living from farming and fishing. But now they rear snakes - among them pythons, vipers and cobras. The snakes are reared for their meat, which is sold to restaurants, and their body parts, which are highly sought after in traditional Chinese medicine.
With the rising demand for snakes, the once poor village of Zisiqiao is now relatively wealthy, with many residents boasting revenue of tens of thousands of dollars.
"Domesticating snakes takes experience and technique," says Mr Yang, who says his Snake business is now a multi-million dollar enterprise.
“Everything is in relation to Everything else” the sooner We realize this fact and involve ourselves to Protect and to Preserve the “Relativity” - the Better for Us.
S Arman S. 8th February 2013.