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Snakebite death due to pandemic

Manisha Thombre, hailing from Redani village in Indapur taluka under Pune District of Maharashtra, had lost her mother to Covid 19 a few weeks ago. She had come to her maiden home in Jalochi, a semi-urban village near Baramati town to attend her mother’s funeral rituals and provide emotional support to the family. On 22nd

Snakebite during Covid times

The Covid-19 pandemic was peaking in many urban areas in India around August-September 2020. Gurugram, a town situated on the border of New Delhi and Haryana, was no better.  Hospitals were crowded with Covid-19 cases and most people were avoiding going to hospitals for minor ailments. With the pandemic as the backdrop, the response time

When Snakebite Caused Blindness

It was a humid June night in Bannu city in the southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area of Pakistan. Summer begins in this region from April and peaks in June. The family in this story lived in the suburban area of Bannu city. There were about 5-6 villages close by and an abundance of guava orchards which

Closed Primary Health Centre seals fate of two boys!

This incident occurred on 26th August, 2019 at Narmada Jeevan Shala run by Narmada Navnirman Andolan. This tribal school is situated in Thuvani in Dhadgaon block, Dist Nandurbar, Maharashtra. The school is constructed out of local materials like bamboo plastered with mud and cow dung. The bamboo woven walls have gaps that exposes the dwellings

When Snakebite Treatment Costs A Fortune!

This incident happened in June 2016 in Arasampatty village situated in Pochampalli Taluk, Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu state.  A V Kannan is a 64 year-old coconut farm owner. His farm of about 10 acres of palm trees is his main source of livelihood. This farm has a good population of Russell’s vipers and Spectacled cobras

The broken, debt ridden family from Assam

Snakebite incident as shared by field reporters Bikash Bharali and Assistant Journalist, Samim Ali from Golaghat, Assam  Twenty-five-year-old Bikash Bharali from Golaghat, Assam sent me a WhatsApp message sometime in July 2018. He was reporting a snakebite death of a father-daughter duo. Bikash had been following Snakebite Healing & Education Society’s work on social media.

Snakebite in a High-rise Apartment

In most of India snakebite is a phenomenon that can happen anywhere and at anytime.  This story  validates this statement . Jagdish Bhai Chandra Trivedi is an octogenarian living with his 76-year-old wife Vatsala in Tirupati Akruti Green Complex in Ahmedabad. The couple have seven daughters and one son –  Sagar Trivedi, who lives in

A Tragic Holiday in Diu

This is a story of a father who had to take the toughest decision of his life – to donate the organs of his only child who was brain dead due to delayed treatment for a venomous snakebite. In the first weekend of November 2017 Himanshu Vora, a 42-year-old lawyer from Bhavnagar, Gujarat, along with

A motherless child!

This is the story of Yashodhara Kadu, a 21-year-old young mother from Mumbai, Maharashtra. Yashodhara was married to Chottu Kadu on 10th May 2014. She was a local girl and shifted to her in-law’s place in Aarey Milk Colony’s hamlet called Jiwacha Pada.  It is situated on a slope with tiny huts built at different

How I Became a Snake Rescuer

My lifelong love affair with snakes started with a heart-breaking incident that took place in the year 1987 when I was studying in class seven. Ganesh belonged to a very poor family from a small village in Latur district. He was one of my closest friends.  He used to work in STD booths during the mornings

Maharashtra’s reformed Snake Rescuer cum Stuntman

In conversation with Amol Jadhav, B.E. (E & TC), MBA (Oper), a reformed Snake Rescuer cum Stuntman. Q1. Please tell us about your family background and what made you fall in love with reptiles especially snakes? Ans: My father is in a government job in the telecom sector, there is absolutely no connection between him

The Brilliant Daughter

Aarti Jelia was a 14 yr old student of Class 9. She lived in Khilchipur village in Dist Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan. This is a largish village with an approx. population of 10 thousand villagers. Khilchipur has four Government schools and six private schools. Aarti was the third child. She had two older sisters and a

The Snakebite educator with a message for safe handling.

Diana Barr with Dr David Williams at Palais des Nations (UN), Geneva, Switzerland, at the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA), May 2016. I grew up in a farming community on the outskirts of a village in Yorkshire, England and spent a great deal of my childhood wandering off to catch spiders, newts, tadpoles, etc. I

When Snakebite Seals a Toddler’s Future!

Ranidevi is a 23 year old widow living in Ledhgai village in Latihar District, Jharkhand.  Ranidevi was married into an agrarian family about four years ago. Little did she know that she would become a widow with a 5-month-old toddler to take care of very soon. It was the month of July 2014. Ranidevi’s husband,

The Story of a Paralyzed Woman!

  This is a story about a 50 yrs old paralyzed woman, Viviyana Chauranth from Chipadoha in  Latehar district of  Jharkhand state.  The backdrop to her condition is a venomous snakebite that was inflicted by a Russell’s viper. Incident: On 8th June, 2013, Pradeep Kerkatta, a 40-year-old farmer was returning home with his wife. It was

Fieldwork in Ranthambore, Rajasthan.

India is famous the world over for its snake charmers and myths around snakes. While the common man of today’s India is peeved with this comparison, nothing much has changed in the last century in the snakebite scenario despite the fact that there was a ground-breaking invention of Anti Snake Venom to cure venomous snakebites

When Snakebite struck three generations – A story from Rajasthan

This is the story of Kaluram’s family which lost 3 generations of women  to snakebite. Kaluram is a 23 year old farmer with a small tract of land and three buffaloes. He stays on his farm which is about 1.5 kms away from Village Khawa in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. He grows wheat, gram

How social media saved Jeetu Gujjar’s life!

Thursday, March 17, 2016. At around 10.30 am my phone rang. It was displaying an unknown number. Someone wanted to report a snakebite case from Rajasthan. The caller introduced himself as Rohan Shringarpure, a scientist working with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) posted at Bhopal as Centre Manager for Vulture Conservation. His colleague Purushottam Ingle

An alert daughter saves her father!

This is a story from Sahamsapur village nestled in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh. Bhola Rajbhar, 60, is a daily wage labourer. He has eight children and lives in a house with unplastered outer brick walls.  The small area in front of the cluster of houses has a neem tree and a shed that houses

Imran’s death: A tragic case of Human Rights Violation!

This is the story of an unfortunate 10 year old boy, Imran S.K. Imran was the son of Moslem S.K., a poor farmer from Sikarpur village, under Bewa Gram Panchayat, Police Station & Block Farakka, District Murshidabad, West Bengal. He had 7 siblings and his father struggled to feed the family from the produce grown

The Prince who fought for his life

This story is of a little boy called Prince Yadav from Bihara Village in Gazipur district of Uttar Pradesh.  Bihara is one of those impoverished villages in India which has  no electricity. The main occupation of the villagers is farming and animal husbandry. The village is surrounded by fields where crops like paddy, mustard, Tur

One Million Snake Bites written by Janaki Lenin

I wrote this in 2011 at the request of the film production company that produced ‘One Million Snakebites,’ a BBC Natural World documentary. Wasn’t published then so here it is – If you are a young farmer in India, your chances of succumbing to snake bite are greater than anywhere else in the world. The

Loss of life can never be compensated!

Loss of life can never be compensated. The latest individual to fall victim to a venomous snake bite is Chirag Roy, a promising field biologist from West Bengal. Chirag was a well-informed budding conservationist and loved the wild. He had seen seniors in the field being bitten, a few had even died. And yet when one

A Snake on the Bed!

  Dinkar Prasad Singh, a 55-year-old is a farmer from Baraini Village in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. He belongs to the Yadav community and has his own farm land and a few Jersey cows and other cattle. He is a heavy, obese man and weighs 106 kg.  His family grows wheat and bajra

The unrecorded death of Rama Shankar (Story from UP)

Rama Shankar was a 50-year-old carpet weaver from Mahamalpur Pipariya Village in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh.  His monthly income was a meagre Rs1500. He had 4 daughters and a son. His wife Umavati did odd jobs in the village to support the family. They lived in a mud house, cooked on dry wood

The Rescue Paradox by Kedar Bhide

Recently I was in discussion with a friend about snake rescue and we just decided to pen down a list of snake friends in our knowledge that have died due to snakebites. In 30 minutes we could come up with 29 names, there may be additions to this list if we start researching on a

Effective Snakebite Management in Himachal Pradesh

Snakebite management through free emergency ambulance service during Golden Hour in Himachal Pradesh   In India every half an hour there is death due to snakebite as the total mortality is pegged at 49,500 cases every year. Snake bites are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in the hills. The risk of snake bite

Dark fairy tale stories by Ashok Captain

The following is written with the hope that somebody who reads this has enough ‘everything’ to make life saving decisions. DARK FAIRY TALE VERSION #1 Once upon a time, not so long ago, lived a beautiful princess. Her evil stepmother made her go into the forest to collect firewood – hoping that leopards would eat

Snakebite Interest Group on WhatsApp

On Sunday, 9th July 2015,  my beloved junior Dr Sk Rajib called me over the phone from Dhoniyakhali Rural Hospital of Hoogly district of West Bengal at about 9.30 am. Dr Rajib wanted to draw my attention to a picture of a patient sent to me on WhatsApp (WA). Rajib informed me about a very

“Halla Bol” penned by Priyanka Kadam

HallaBol was a war cry used in the past to build up frenzied energy to spill over into the battle field with destructive force. In this day and age the same slogan signifies the intent to wipe out social evils that dog our day to day life. From Snakebite Healing and Education Society’s perspective: Halla

Cobra in the Flour Mill – The Arunbhai Devani series

This is the story of Varjanbhai Alabhai Kadachha, a 40 year old primary school teacher.  Along with his day job as a teacher, Varjanbhai is also a farmer and the family owns a flour mill. Varhanbhai is married and has three children. The family lives in Kadachha village in the Porbandar district of Gujarat. Kadachha

Luck by chance!

  This story is from Dhanyaha village, PO Ilahipur, District Hooghly in West Bengal. Dhanyaha is a non-descript village having houses that are bunched together surrounded by fields from all sides. The houses are built of cement, mud and bricks. The outer wall of every house has cow dung cakes pasted on it to be

The Strike of the King Cobra

This story is from Kalasa town in the Mudegera Taluka, Chikmagalur Dictrict in Karnataka. A man had died of a King Cobra bite in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. This was a first for me as the King is an otherwise non-combative snake and prefers to flee than to stand its ground and attack. The incident happened on

Who will milk the Cow – The Arun Devani series

I was looking forward to my trip to Madhavpur (Ghed) in the Porbandar  district of Gujarat. I had been exchanging notes with Arun Bhai who is the local expert treating snakebites at Krishna Health Centre under the supervision of Dr Ashwin Vanza.  Arun Bhai has been a snake rescuer for 40 years and has been

A community effort to save Valiben (The Arun Devani series)

This true incident happened in July 2009 in Mander village, PO Madhavpur, District Porbandar, Gujarat. The total population of Mander is less than five thousand.   Valiben Parmar was 33 years old then and already a grandmother. Her daughter Devi ben had just delivered a baby and was staying with them for a few weeks.

The Unforgettable Picnic!

Fenil Virendra Dhedia  is a 20 year old graduate living in Borivli, Mumbai. He is the youngest amongst his siblings. Following his father’s footsteps, Fenil works  in a garment shop that sells children’s wear. Bite incident: Every  year Fenil’s employer takes his staff for an annual outing. On 25th June 2015, thirteen staff members

A life less precious!

4 year old Mohit was playing with   two of his friends outside their house. It was 7.30 p.m. and almost dark with lights from the various houses and street lamps illuminating the narrow road. Suddenly Mohit ran home to his mother crying in pain. On inquiry he replied  something had bitten him. This is the

Death due to blind faith

Bachuben Shamjibhai Nadasiya was a 65 year old widow who lived with her 4 sons in Bhagamda Village, DhandhukaTaluka,   Ahmedabad District, Gujarat. The family lived in a mud house with a thatched roof made of bamboo. The courtyard outside the house was fenced with thorny bushes to deter animals from entering the house. Bachuben’s four

A Game of Cricket

Victim’s Background: Jayanth Krishnappa is a 14 year old boy studying in the 9th grade. He lives with his parents and elder sister in Malur, in the Kolar district of Karnataka. His father works in a factory and his sister studies in junior college. His mother is a home maker. Bite incident: Jayanth ‘s favourite

The downfall of a snake rescuer

Victim’s background:  Parmar Natubhai Hamirbhai was a 56 yr old construction labourer from Khadol village in the Dhandhuka taluka, Dist Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Apart from his day job as a construction worker, he was also a snake rescuer and villagers from in and around Khadol used to knock at his door to rescue snakes from their

A Lucky Escape

Sukhmoti Maran Patel is 38 years old. She is a resident of Lakshmipur village, Pithora tehsil of Mahasamund district, Chhatisgarh. She is married and is the mother of four children. Her husband, Pautram, works as a farm labourer and vegetable vendor. They have a cow and sell milk on the side. Pautram does odd jobs

A teenager’s nightmare!

VICTIM’S BACKGROUND Binod Yadav is a 15 year old boy, studying in 8th standard in a Hindi medium school, Prathmikshala, in his village Chindauli , P.S. Patewa, Chhattisgarh. His father is a farm laborer, and his mother does odd jobs (maid and farm laborer). Binod has a younger brother. They live in a two roomed

The unfortunate death of Joydev Mondal

Victim’s background: Joydev Mondal, resident of Basanti, Canning Sub Division,South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal   was a snake rescuer representing the Juktibadi Sanaskritik Sanstha (JSS), Canning. He died of snake bite on 18 April 2014 at the Gosaba  Village Health Centre. He was thirty-five years old, married with two children – a son and

Case of the Wall’s Krait bite

Victim’s background Koushik Barui is a 25 year old resident of Gairkata (district Jalpaiguri, West Bengal). He is a student of MA Part 2. His father has a cloth shop and his mother is a home maker. He has 2 sisters , both are married. Koushik is a member of an NGO named Gairkata Aranyak,

Kiss of Death!

Victim’s background: Dharmendra Trivedi lives in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. He has worked as a translator in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha since 1991 and served the then CM Narendra Modi between 2009-2014. He is now a part of the team of the present CM Anandiben Patel. He is married to Shilpa Trivedi and  they have a 12

Sunil Vijay Sahasrabudhe

Name: Sunil Vijay Sahasrabudhe; Age: 43yrs Victim’s background: Sunil V Sahasrabudhe is married and has an 8 year old daughter. He runs a small printing business. Bite Incident : This is the story of a snakebite incident that happened right in the hustle and bustle of a busy city. On 30th Oct 2013, Sunil was

Aakash Laxman Dhangad

Name : Aakash Laxman Dhangad; Age: 9 yrs Father: Laxman Dhangad; Mother: Manisha; 2nd brother Roshan (7yrs); Youngest brother Amit (5yrs). Address: Patoni Pada, Yeor Village, Dist & Taaluka: Thane Date of bite : 21st April 2014. Incident : Aakash is a 9 yr old boy studying in 4th Standard in a village school in

Story of Kirti Sahu – How snakebite changed her life.

Kirti Sahu is a 23 year old widow from Digepur Village in the Pithora District of Chhattisgarh. She has two very young children and lives with her in-laws in a mud house with nine other people in the family. It was Sept 2012 and the rains had just set in. Kirti was in her first

Khumesh Thakkur’s snake bite ordeal!

  This is the story of Khumesh Thakkur, a 9 year old boy belonging to the Gond community from Lakhagadh village in the Pithora District.Khumesh has a cute smiling face and was happy to skip school to meet us. Khumesh lives in a household consisting of 18 people. His father Punna Ram is a mason

When the village healer get’s bitten

The two nuns from the missionary hospital and myself had travelled the whole day visiting villages meeting snake bite victims. At the end of the day we reached the periphery of Pithora District that was hemmed from three sides by mixed deciduous variety of trees. The sun was quickly disappearing behind tall trees as we