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Indian Farmers Dump Forty Snakes Including Cobras in Tax Office to Protest Against Corruption

farmers release forty snakes in Indian tax office

An insane protest against corrupt tax officials in India in 2011 went viral across the internet for very slimy and slithering reasons. Two Indian farmers one of whom was a snake charmer unleashed a horde of venomous snakes in a busy tax office in a village in Uttar Pradesh, North India. The unique form of protest captured the intense frustration with bureaucratic apathy and alleged corruption in rural India.

The incident

snakes in India
Snakes slithering in the tax office. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

On a busy day at the Basti tax office in Uttar Pradesh, two farmers, known for their patience with local bureaucratic processes, decided to take an extreme step to highlight their grievances. They dumped three bags containing around 40 snakes, including several deadly cobras, in the office to protest the alleged corruption.

Why the protest

snake crawls under chair
Snakes crawled under tables and chairs. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

The farmers, Hukkul Khan and Ramkul Ram, were reportedly frustrated with the ongoing demands for bribes in exchange for tax records related to their land in Narharpur village. Their requests for these documents had been repeatedly delayed by officials whom they accused of seeking illicit payments.

An extreme step

Officials tried shooing the snakes away. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

The farmers unable to cope with the arrogant officials took the extreme step of releasing sackfuls of snacks into the office in Basti, about 186 miles southeast of Lucknow. Among the snakes were four cobras.

Immediate Chaos

Among the snakes were four cobras. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

The release of the snakes caused pandemonium in the office. The deadly reptiles slithering across the floor sent clerks jumping up on tables and chairs while visitors scrambled for safety to escape the slithering threat. Despite the chaos, there were no reported injuries, as police and forest officials managed to capture the snakes.

Public Reaction

tax officials
officials jumped on tables and chairs. Source: YouTube, Channel: The Telegraph

The spectacle drew a large crowd outside the tax office, with some people advocating for the snakes to be killed due to the danger they posed. This event not only highlighted the farmers’ issues but also drew significant media attention, bringing the problem of corruption into the limelight.

It was chaos. Source: YouTube, Channel: The Telegraph

Authorities condemned the method of protest as unacceptable and began searching for the farmers involved. Among the two farmers involved, Ramkul Ram was a snake charmer. The incident sparked discussions about the appropriate ways to address grievances with government officials.

Farmer reveals why he did it

ramkul ram
Ramkul Ram. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

In the video, when asked why he took such a step, Ramkul Ram says, “I had to dump the snakes because the District Magistrate and the Sub Divisional Magistrate told me, we have approved your application, but lower officials are sitting on it.”

Broader Context of Corruption

ramkul ram
Ramkul Ram explains his stance. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

Corruption in governmental processes is a widespread issue in India, prompting various forms of protest and calls for systemic change. The farmers’ snake protest is among the more dramatic manifestations of public dissatisfaction.

Media Coverage and Public Discourse

snakes in india
The snakes remained for hours. Source: YouTube, Channel: The Telegraph

The event was widely covered by national and international media, emphasizing the desperate measures some citizens resort to in order to voice their frustrations and demand accountability from public officials.

Impact on Policy and Public Awareness

chasing snakes in office
An official trying to chase away snakes. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

While the protest was shocking, it played a role in raising awareness about the deep-rooted issue of bribery and corruption in various sectors of government. It underscored the need for reforms and more stringent measures to tackle corruption.

Government Response to Corruption

snakes released in tax office
The snakes were eventually captured. Source: YouTube, Channel: Ranch Radio

Following widespread public outcry over such incidents, there have been efforts to implement more robust anti-corruption laws and mechanisms in India, including the proposal of new watchdog agencies and online platforms to report corrupt officials.

Cobras are venomous snakes

cobras are highly venomous. Source: Image by alinamd via Depositphotos

Cobras exhibit a range of colors, from deep black or brown to a lighter yellowish-white. These snakes are equipped with unique muscles and ribs around their neck that expand into a hood when they sense danger. In a defensive stance, cobras can lift their bodies, spread their hoods, and emit a loud hissing noise to deter potential threats.

How dangerous is a cobra’s venom

King Cobra
King cobras are the longest venomous snakes in the world, capable of reaching lengths of up to 18 feet. Image by Anil Sharma via Unsplash

Cobras are part of a specific group of snakes called elapids, which includes over 270 species. The venom of an elapid snake is particularly dangerous because it contains neurotoxins that act on the nervous system, rapidly spreading through the victim’s bloodstream and can cause respiratory failure and death if not treated promptly.

What to Do if You are Bitten by a Cobra

cobra snake
A cobra bite needs immediate medical attention. Source: Image by hecke06 via Depositphotos

Immediately lay or sit down, keeping the bitten area at a neutral position to slow the spread of venom. Take off any rings or watches to prevent issues from swelling. Clean the Wound: Gently wash the bite with soap and water to prevent infection. Cover the Bite: Apply a clean, dry dressing to the bite to protect it until medical help can be obtained.

Does a cobra really sway to the music of a snake charmer

snake charmer
Snake charmer in India. Source: Image by kalinovsky via Depositphotos

No! Snakes are deaf, and they cannot hear the music played by snake charmers. Snakes lack external ears and the ability to hear the music in the way humans do. They respond to the movements of the snake charmer and the instrument (often a pungi) rather than the sound itself.

Cobras are not the most venomous snakes in India

An Indian Krait. Source: Image by Jayendra Chiplunkar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cobras are not the most dangerous snake in India. It is the common krait (Bungarus caeruleus) which is considered the most dangerous snake species in the country. A krait’s venom consists mostly of powerful neurotoxins that induce muscle paralysis.


Indian snakes
Two cobras perform in Varanasi, India. Source: Image by Cornfield via Depositphotos

Considering how snakes are feared and revered in India, the incident of releasing hundreds into a government office was insane. The snake protest at the Basti tax office is a vivid example of the lengths to which citizens might go to protest corruption. It highlights the urgency of addressing corruption not just in India but globally, where similar frustrations exist among the populace.  

On a lighter note, the scene of tax officials clambering over tables and chairs was quite hilarious. You can WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

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