While most people are terrified of venomous and potentially deadly snakes, an 11-year-old girl from Ghatampur city in Uttar Pradesh, India, considers them her close friends. She has been hailed as the ‘Snake Goddess’ in India.
Kajol Khan, an 11-year-old girl from Ghatampur, India, has always seen venomous king cobras as her trusted companions. Despite being aware of the danger they pose, she plays, eats, and sleeps alongside these venomous snakes.
Due to her passionate and frequent interactions with king cobras, Kajol has been bitten several times on her stomach, neck, and hands. However, she has always received timely treatment and her life has never been in danger. Nevertheless, these incidents haven’t deterred her from playing with the snakes.
“When they bite, it hurts a lot, but sometimes it’s my fault because I provoke them,” shared Kajol Khan. “When I was bitten for the first time and it bled, I was quite scared. My father quickly went to the forest to find medicinal leaves.”
Kajol’s love for snakes seems to have been passed down from her father, Taj Mohammad, who has been catching snakes in Ghatampur for the past 45 years. Taj Mohammad has passed on his snake-catching skills to his eldest son, Gulab, 31, but it appears that his youngest daughter, Kajol, has the most passion and affinity for snakes.
“I feel very happy when I play with king cobras. I don’t want to go to school; I just want to play with the snakes,” said Kajol.
Currently, Kajol’s father has gained fame in the region and earns a substantial income by catching snakes and supplying them to homes and shops in the city. Taj Mohammad claims to have inherited a traditional remedy to treat snakebites, using only wild forest leaves. These leaves are ground, mixed with butter and black pepper, and then consumed or applied to the bite.
“If the remedy is prepared correctly, it can save the lives of those bitten by venomous snakes,” shared Taj Mohammad. “This remedy has saved my life and Kajol’s life multiple times after being bitten by king cobras.”
While Kajol is the only child in the family enthusiastic about this inherited profession, her mother, Salma Bano, does not want her to pursue this dangerous path and wishes for her to attend a regular school. However, Kajol was expelled from school after she brought a king cobra to class in her backpack.
“I want my daughter to go to school like other children. I don’t want her to play with dangerous animals, but she loves them, and I can’t stop her,” shared Salma Bano.
“Now she refuses to go to school and plays with snakes all day,” added Bano. “I try to teach her at home, but she always keeps snakes around her and neglects her studies.”
Due to her fascination with venomous snakes, Kajol’s family rarely has visitors as people are scared of her “pets.” Kajol herself has no friends her age as other children are terrified to come near her.
With her penchant for playing with venomous snakes and her ability to handle them easily, Kajol has earned the nickname ‘Snake Goddess’ among the local residents.”