By Vinay Ghatke
The author is an independent writer residing in Pune.
In India, snakes are sacred, held in reverence second only to perhaps the cows. The tribal people of Bastar, Chhattisgarh, have in fact adapted their lives around the reptiles and believe that snakes offer cures with great efficacy. Although modern medicine is known to use snake venom, but the traditional medicine systems of this region throw up challenges that are yet to be explored.
India is home to over 270 species of snakes, out of which about 60 are venomous. In many cultures world over, consumption of snakes for their medicinal property is acceptable and considered a delicacy. Knowledge accumulated through centuries of interaction with the natural habitat by the aboriginal and tribal people is dying slowly as communities are being mainstreamed into the formal structures that conform to the law of the land. It is understandable that with development some information is bound...