Serpent Dance, Sundarbans and Organic Pineapples

Serpent Dance, Sundarbans and Organic Pineapples

Gulabo Sapera Fields
Sometime in November 2002, when I was still a cub reporter, I was assigned to cover the Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan. After a hectic day spent between camels and their herders, we were in for a pleasant surprise. The organisers had arranged for an evening with folk dance and music. Of all the performances, what stayed with me was the Kalbelia or serpent dance where a group of girls danced acrobatically as men played the been, the wind instrument used by snake charmers. 

The memories came back when my colleague Urvashi wrote about Gulabo Sapera, the global ambassador of Kalbelia. Gulabo was buried alive soon after birth because her parents already had three girls. How she survived, went on to receive the Padma Shri and helped enlist Kalbelia on UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage is the subject matter of Urvashi’s story. You shouldn’t skip this one. 

The other interesting piece is on Sundarbans, where locals pray to Bon bibi (Forest Goddess) for their safety while facing daily attacks from tigers and crocodiles. If Amphan flooded fields with water, the islanders turned them into fisheries. Sundarbans is where women wear white clothes when their husbands venture out, to ward off evil until their return. My colleague Dola has brought out their indomitable spirit in her story. 

Ultimately, living in harmony with nature is the only way to live happily. It’s evident from the success of organic farmers in India. Nagaland’s Movlom is India’s first bio-village and its organic pineapples are sought after globally. Do read up Anjana’s piece on how farmers are faring better by going back to old farming methods. 

As always, there’s a lot more at Happy Reading!


Buried at birth, how Gulabo Sapera survived to become the global ambassador of Rajasthan’s Kalbelia folk dance

From weathering cyclones to tiger attacks, how Sundarban inhabitants forge resilient lives


From pineapple to pepper, how organic farming is increasing farm incomes in India

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