Historically, the earliest evidence of snake charming can be traced to the Egyptians. Till the early 1990s, it was quite normal to see snake charmers wandering in the streets with their colourful bulging bag hanging on their shoulder. Their serpents were in baskets or pots hanging from a bamboo pole slung over the shoulder. These charmers usually wore very colourful attire, comprising a turban and long kurta and had mostly long and curly hair. Necklaces of shells or large beads and earrings would make their personality even more mysterious. They usually attracted people's attention by playing a special flute-like instrument made from gourd, known as 'been'. Once a sizable crowd had gathered, the snake charmer would play the flute and a snake eventually emerged from the cane or straw basket. It is commonly believed that the snake actually dances to the tune of the flute but in reality, the snake can't hear anything. It actually moves with the motion of the flute that the charmer moves while playing it. Baba Kamesha, a 60-year-old snake charmer, has been in this profession for the past 20 years. It is his family profession and even the children in his family are involved in it.
Misri Jogi & Companion with Murli (Snake Charmers of Sindh)
Kamesha learnt all about snakes, which he calls saanpon ka ilm, from his master Log Bengali. He disclosed that a snake charmer keeps wandering — visiting villages, towns and cities and also spends years in desserts and jungles to search for serpents. Kamesha got his snake from Balochistan's desert. "An inexplicable relationship exists between a snake and its charmer, the jogi," Kamesha confesses. According to him, a snake never hurts its master; and the master, for his own part, is not scared of being bitten by the snake, even poisonous ones. And in case of a snake bite, the jogi uses traditional remedies to treat himself and keeps a white mysterious powder in his pocket which he applies instantly on the bitten area. These days, snake charming has almost vanished because no one is really interested in watching a poor man's art and his serpent's performance. REFERENCE: Feature: Fading with time By Wajiha Jawaid | InpaperMagzine March 5, 2011 http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/05/feature-fading-with-time.html
Late. Iqbal Jogi on Murli
HYDERABAD, Jan 20: Snake charmers called Jogis in Sindhi warned on Saturday that many rare species of snakes were fast becoming extinct in Sindh and demanded that the government should set up an institution to preserve and conduct research on the reptile. A group of Jogis said while addressing a press conference at the Hyderabad press club that the government should also establish an educational institution for them. Arjun, an expert on snakes, said that the snakes feed on meat, mud and milk and advised the government to set up an institution to preserve the snakes which were fast becoming extinct. He said that the snakes' venom and meat could cure many diseases such as tuberculosis and jaundice and disclosed that Jogis administered a soup prepared from snake meat to their children and believed the diet would help them tell one kind of snake from the other. He claimed that there were 900,000 snakes and 100 scorpions in the province. He said that the most famous specie of snakes were Umel Karo, Pandam, Karar and Lundi and among them Lundi was the most dangerous, which was found only in Sindh. Mohammad Urs Behrani, Syed Mureed Ali Shah and Aslam Channa also addressed the conference. Jogis had brought with them some snakes, which were put on display in glass containers. REFERENCE: HYDERABAD: Snake charmers call for research Bureau Report January 21, 2007 Sunday Muharram 01, 1428 http://archives.dawn.com/2007/01/21/local28.htm