Bangladesh has a lowly and nomadic people known as the Badiyas. They roam the countryside?
Bangladesh has a lowly and nomadic people known as the Badiyas. They roam the countryside for nine months of the year, and their main source of income is from catching and selling snakes. This old and dangerous endeavour helps the country's sorely-depressed economy.
SYNOPSIS: The Badiyas are classic nomads, many of them moving from place to place in small craft along the country's rivers. Their families and all their belongings go with them. They are only marginally Moslems, but belong to the lowest sect of the Moslem community. Their customs and life-styles are different from their fellow-countrymen, and they speak a language quite unlike the customary Bengali.
Three months of each year, Badiyas settle in one spot and ply various trades, such as fishing, and peddling pots, toys, and jewellery. Unlike many other peoples of the East, they expect both men and women to work for a living.
Mostly, they raise money by catching snakes; the Badiyas are said to have a passion for it. They take the risks, and some pay the penalty. Government figures last year said one hundred and twenty-three Badiyas died from snakebite. In villages they visit, they turn on a modestly-lucrative form of sidewalk entertaining with snake charming.
The Badiyas catch almost all of their snakes for export sales. More and more of them are registering with the government to help expand this export trade, which caters mainly for other countries in the East. Last year, it brought in a million dollars, and new orders are coming in from Japan and the United States.