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Faseeh Shams July 11, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Pakistan.
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Snake Charmer. Lahore, Pakistan 2012

Faseeh Shams (b. 1984, Pakistan) began his career wandering in northern Pakistan with a small point and shoot camera. He later earned his MBA in Human Resources and an MA in Marketing and worked as a brand marketing consultant for a firm in England. Faseeh’s work has been published in Newsweek, the BBC and Reuters among other publications. His photographs have been exhibited at Punjab University and Gallery 320. He is currently based in Lahore, Pakistan but frequently travels to Iran, Afghanistan and the UK.

About the Photograph:

“My daughter, he proudly boasted ‘She is the queen of all tribes living here. One day she will be the best snake catcher of all Pakistan.’ Shazia was barely five years old, the youngest family member of the clan who had their tents parked outside Lahore in an abandoned lot. Snake charming is an art and a profession. It originated in India where it was a religious requirement. Before Hinduism, snake worship was one of the ancient religions. Snake worship had special temples, Gods and deities. Hindus practiced the arts of charming which included treating snake bite victims and herbal treatments for various ailments. It was a Hindu discipline but later other castes and groups in Sindh, Bengal and Punjab also acquired the skill. The art of snake charming is becoming a rare breed. In Pakistan it’s dying because it doesn’t pay. Forty years ago charmers walked the streets and were invited into homes. On Eid, Saperas dressed in long kurtas, colored turbans and necklaces made of beads and shells would show up and perform with their snakes.”

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