Today, one cannot imagine a snake charmer without intertwining it with some intriguing element of mythology. However, for anyone visiting Ramsai village in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal – home to a group of nomadic tribes – the idea of snake charmer will be an element of realism. Geographically, Ramsai is a low-lying region where every time it rains it results in severe waterlogging. So, when Goonj visited the village, the locals shared their concern and after a bit of motivation and encouragement from our team member, 150 families came forward to work under Goonj’s ‘Dignity for Work’ initiative to raise the level of inland village roads. They also made channels to ensure the flow of excess water to the nearby farmland, apart from cleaning the village graveyard. Ever since snake charming was declared illegal under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the community had to depend on odd jobs to make ends meet. Women of the village managed to make meagre earnings by selling bangles door to door. The lockdown simply thrust them into a state of despair. Thus, the Rahat Kits of essentials that were rewarded to them for their efforts were just what they needed…however, achieved with dignity.
Story Teller: Tushar Talukdar
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