Bhubaneswar, August 10 (Odisha.in) 14-year old Monalisha Das, a student of Class-X in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Girls’ High School is perhaps the only girl in Orissa and may be in the country who can catch venomous snakes with ease and rescue them after playing with them for pleasure. She is also a good painter on glass.
There are no instances of any girl or women catching snakes in Orissa, even the women folk of the villager Padmakeharipur, ( a village of professional snake charmers) donot take the risk of catching snakes.
According to Pradip Das, Monalisha’s father, who is an employee with the Orissa Government, Monalisha had love for snakes since her child-hood. Subsequently she learnt to catch snakes and rescue them.
She has also learnt the art of catching venomous snakes like cobra etc. Though this involves lots of risk her family members donot prevent her to do so, after observing her too much interest.
By doing so she is not only rescuing the snakes and saving people from snake bite, she also create awareness among people not to harm the snakes.
Talking to odisha.in , Monalisha said, since she had fascination for snakes from childhood, she wanted to know more about snakes and catch them . Normally the people use to kill the snake whenever they come across one.
Moreover due to lack of awareness many people also die of snake bite. By developing the hobby of catching and rescuing snakes, she is not only saving the people from snake bite, she is also saving lives of many snakes.
Though she has developed this as a hobby for past two years, on and average she use to rescue between 25 to 30 snakes per year.
At this young age of 14 , Monalisha helps her mother in family choirs and devotes some time in glass painting besides reading.
Himanirani Patnaik, Head Mistress of Municipal Girls’ High School, Bhubaneswar where Monalisha is reading, said Monalisha is not only a good student, she has learnt horse riding and the best part of her activity is rescuing the snakes.
According to Orissa’s snakeman Subhendu Mallick , who has taken Monalisha in his Snake Helpline team after observing her immense interest in snakes; though most of the men folk including children of Padmakesharipur, use to catch snakes, there were no instances of their ladies catching snakes.
Chittaranjan Das, a professional snake charmer from Padmakesharipur confirmed Subhendu’s statement and told odisha.in that though there are 500 families in the village, none of the ladies are trained in catching snakes.
They were earlier engaged in tattooing while the men folk were busy exhibiting snake charming in the villages. Now they use to sell stationary items since no lady comes forward for tattooing because of the fear of AIDS.