- Title: PAKISTAN: GIRL WHO CANNOT ENJOY SLEEP UNTIL SHE HAS BEEN BITTEN BY A SNAKE**+
- Date: 17th May 1994
- Summary: MULTAN, PAKISTAN (RECENT)(RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. SV EXTERIORS OF MULTAN CASTLE 0.04 2. SV SHAHZADI ZARQA HOLDING A SNAKE 0.09 3. SCU CAGE FULL OF SNAKES 0.11 4. SV SHAZHADI FEEDING A SNAKE USING A STICK 0.25 5. SCU SHAZHADI SAYING "THE SNAKE IS A HARMLESS ANIMAL, IT DOES NOT BOTHER ANY ONE UNLESS DISTURBED." (URDU) 0.36 6. SV SHAZHADI WITH ABOUT 20 SNAKES COILED AROUND HER FEET 0.47 7. SV SHAZHADI WITH SNAKES COILED AROUND HER NECK 0.50 8. SV SHAZHADI HOLDING SNAKES IN AIR 0.58 9. SCU SHAZHADI SAYING "MY FRIENDSHIP WITH SNAKES HAS FORCED ME TO LIVE A LONELY LIFE. MOST PEOPLE THINK I AM ALSO AS POISONOUS AS A SNAKE." (URDU) 1.19 10. SV SHAZHADI PUTS TWO SNAKES IN HER MOUTH 1.28 11. CU TWO SNAKES IN SHAZHADI'S MOUTH 1.42 12. SV SNAKE BITING SHAZHADI ON THE FINGER 1.54 13. SCU SHAZHADI ZARQA KISSES SNAKE 2.01 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 1st June 1994 13:00
- Location: MULTAN, PAKISTAN
- Country: Pakistan ASIA
- Reuters ID: LVA9HAE6LN0L4X910H811IDPOTZF
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: A seventeen-year-old Pakistani girl who has a fascination for snakes says she can't enjoy a good night's sleep until she has been bitten by one.
Shazhadi Zarqa is a snake performer who stages nightly shows caressing and kissing her poisonous menagerie at the foot of Multan Castle, 400 kilometres (248 miles) south of Islamabad in the heart of central Punjab province.
Shazhadi has tamed a collection of thirty snakes, some more poisonous than others. She hand feeds them, stuffing food down their throats with a stick. She is often bitten but brushes off the encounters.
"The snake is a harmless animal," she said. "It does not bother anyone unless disturbed." "What harm could an animal with neither eyelids nor ears be?" she added. "It is a very innocent being." After ll years of close contact with snakes, Shazhadi has developed a high degree of immunity to snake poison and even admits to a strange "pleasure" from the toxins. If she feels too much venom has entered her body she sucks it out.
This snake lover is an ardent nationalist who donates 35 percent of her daily takings to the Kashmir Fund, a group dedicated to Kashmir's independence from India.
But her predilection for snakes has forced her to live a lonely life with only a small circle of friends and relatives who dare to come close to her.
"My friendship with the snakes has forced me to live a lonely life. Most people think I am also as poisonous as a snake." Shazhadi fears her proximity to snakes will scare away potential suitors as well. She hopes one day a man will walk into her life who is brave enough to marry her despite her lethal livelihood.
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