The Golden Hour campaign: Street play organised to raise awareness about snake bites

As part of its awareness campaign to inform rural residents about the measures needed to prevent deaths due to snake bites, Gaon Connection organised a street play where villagers not only enjoyed the play but also learned the dos and don'ts in case of snake bites. Details here.

The Golden Hour campaign: Street play organised to raise awareness about snake bites

The street play was part of Gaon Connection’s ‘The Golden Hour’ campaign to raise awareness on the issue of snake bites. All photos by Divendra Singh. 

The rural residents of Karua village in Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki district were up for a surprise on July 23 when a troupe of artists performed a street play themed on the measures to be taken following a snake bite.

Crowds of hundreds of villagers began gathering around the street play which began with a call for attention as a performer by the name Birju began ploughing his field. Moments later, Birju is found to be perplexed by a sharp pain caused by a bite on his leg. Immediately after the sensation of pain, a black snake was seen crawling.

Upon realising that Birju has been bitten by a snake, the village elders collectively decided to take Birju to the local quack in order to save his life. The quack, however, tells the villagers that Birju has been bitten by the snake due to his old enmity with the reptile.


Also Read: The Golden Hour campaign: Workshop organised to raise awareness on snakebites amongst school students

Having been assured of Birju's death by the quack, the villagers did nothing but to wait for Birju's last breath as he writhed in pain. However, Birju's daughter who studies at a college, arrives at the scene and asks villagers to take her father to a hospital which offends the elders who tell her that the quack has given the final word on Birju and that traditional wisdom must prevail.

But Birju's daughter convinces the villagers about the need to approach a hospital. Luckily, Birju reaches the hospital on time where he is administered with anti-venom injections which eventually saves his life.


The theatrical portrayal of Birju's story had a convincing effect on the crowd that gathered to watch the street play who pledged not to go to the quacks in case of snake bites and take the patient to a hospital without any delay.

The street play was part of Gaon Connection's 'The Golden Hour' campaign to raise awareness on the issue of snake bites.

According to a July 2020 study titled Trends in snakebite mortality in India from 2000 to 2019 in a nationally representative mortality study, of the 2.8 million people bitten by snakes every year in India, 58,000 people die. And up to 94 per cent of the snakebite deaths are from rural India. In India, around 90 per cent of snakebites are caused by the 'big four'— common krait, Indian cobra, Russell's viper and the saw scaled viper.

The July 2020 study shows that 70 per cent of the snakebite deaths occurred in eight states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh (which includes Telangana, a recently defined state), Rajasthan and Gujarat. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 8,700 deaths a year.

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