Vadivel Gopal and Masi Sadaiyan, members of the snake-catching Irula community, were among the 106 Padma awardees on this Republic Day (26th January). The duo has not only led snake-catching operations in India but also advised snake expeditions abroad!
Despite playing a critical role in saving thousands of lives each year from snakebites, Irulas who have been the backbone of the antivenom supply in India, have faced caste-based injustices over decades.
The comic appears in my column with The Hindu Sunday Magazine. A couple of years back, I wrote and illustrated a short comic book on snakebite awareness called ‘Making Friends with Snakes’ in collaboration with the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and renowned herpetologist Mr. Romulus Whitaker, which is available via Pratham Books and Storyweaver. The book was a recipient of the Green Literature Festival Award, 2021.