Pause. Rewind. What? India Uses IT Skills to Charm Cobras into Lifelong Servitude

New Delhi government makes way for computer chipped cobras to keep snake charming alive. (Photo: The Province)

New Delhi government makes way for computer chipped cobras to keep snake charming alive. (Photo: The Province)

India has often rebuked the age-old perception that it is a “land of snake charmers and mystics”. Today, the subcontinent proudly owns its reputation for being the world’s leading information technology hub, producing world-class engineers and attracting foreign investment from the Who’s Who of the corporate world. But if the two distinctions were to collide, would India be known as the crash pad for computer-savvy cobras? It looks like we’re about to find out.

In an effort to protect India’s wildlife, the New Delhi government mandated that all snake charmers be licensed and establish ownership of their snakes. These laws would also prevent theft and smuggling, a running problem with Indian cobras. All the snake charmers would need to do is implant a computer chip under their snake’s skin. Wait…what?

First of all, we’ve seen computer-generated snakes before. We have to concur with Samuel L. Jackson that they are an incredibly annoying breed of pests (or varmints, as Mitt Romney would say). And while we’re no experts in wildlife preservation, something doesn’t sound quite right about inserting a microchip inside a living creature. Seriously, how is PETA not all over this? Or do animal rights only apply to critters of the non-vicious, “won’t fatally wound you” variety?

Snake charmers argue they’re at the helm of a dying craft, and holding onto their livelihood is paramount. Or, we could just not force nature’s creatures into a lifelong career of entertainment slavery. Seldom does society’s sympathy lie with a serpent, but it seems counterproductive to refute snake charming as a part of Indian culture and then pass legislation that encourages its survival.

Plus, animals should not be mechanically meddled with! Does no one else watch Samuel L. Jackson movies? Nothing good can ever come of it. For chartering uncharacteristically weird waters and failing to recognize that snakes are so over the song-and-dance routine, Delhi government and snake charming industry, you are both:


Sabrina Siddiqui is the editor-in-chief of


Source: LA Times