Before you begin reading this, please allow us a moment to introduce Meera Ahmad (the contributor of the below post) to all of you.
Meera is a Ph.D student at University of Delhi and lives with her mother, brother Kabir and her canine companions in Nizamuddin. Meera is secular by birth, born to a Hindu mother and a Muslim father, her home is lovingly referred to as ‘Chintu Ghar’, the first time I visited her, I thought Chintu was the name of their first pet, but infact as Meera’s mother amusingly shared Chintu was their stuffed toy ‘Elephant’ whom they cuddled and cared for and were even willing to risk their lives for! (yes! yes! that is what Meera’s brother Kabir tried to do, when he jumped from the auto-rikshaw thinking that Chintu was in the bag that had fallen from her mother’s lap on the road). Perhaps it was Chintu, the elephant toy that made them realise that before they realised that their heart was filled with love for animals. Meera and her family look after and feed the many street dogs in Nizamuddin and at Lajpat Nagar as well, besides taking the responsibility of getting them sterilized and vaccinated at nearby animal hospitals.
When she saw a man taking his sick goat to an animal hospital yesterday, she was prompted to reflect over her thoughts on Bakr-Eid. Read on…
Bakr-Eid: what happens to the goat?
By Meera Ahmad
Yesterday, a man from my colony in Nizamuddin West took a sick goat to the nearby Friendicoes Animal Hospital
He said to the doctor: ” Please treat my goat so that it becomes well quickly. I have to cut it day after tomorrow.”
Animal sacrifice is the biggest farce and misplaced superstitious belief in the name of religion.
Today (17th November, 2010) is the first day of three days of Bakr-Eid or Eid al-Adha or Eid-e-Qurban. For Muslims it is a day to celebrate how Prophet Ibraham willingly almost sacrificed his own son Isma’il as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. To commemorate it Muslim families blindly sacrifice many animals (goat, cow, sheep, camel) on this day often after days of feeding and caring for them extremely well. The act of sacrifice carried out in Muslim homes is extremely cruel as the goats are killed slowly in front of each other by the very people who fed and nurtured them and whom they came to trust deeply. Children too are encouraged to cut them on these days from a very young age so that they become conditioned to it.
In my colony a few weeks before the festival it is common to see children roaming about with healthy and well nurtured goats and grazing them in the parks and bylanes. After the sacrifice I have spoken to them and they comfortably and eagerly narrate gory details of how they carried out halal (religiously permissible form of sacrifice in which the animal’s throat is slit to slowly bleed it death so that it is drained of all the blood before being skinned and cut) of the goats.
So deeply engrained becomes the notion of halal in them that they even practice it on toys and stuffed animals. In an extreme case I remember hearing that a child slit the throat of his pet rabbit. When his mother came running on hearing the wails of the poor animal and asked the child why he did it he said proudly that he had done halal. My neighbor’s young daughter who studies in class 2 was last year wailing uncontrollably outside her house on Bakr-Eid for she wanted to cajole her father to let her keep the baby goat that he had brought for sacrifice and not let it be killed. When her father asked her the reason for it she said she wanted to play with it and make it her pet. However, her tantrums didn’t have any effect. A few ays back when I saw her roaming in the park with a goat on leash I could not resist asking her what she would do with it. She said that she would do it halal. Her father had convinced her that the goats that are done halal on these days are fortunate as they go straight to God (Allah).
That the animals are alive and moving for quite sometime after their throats are cut and while they are being skinned was pointed out to me by children who have witnessed and participated in the sacrifice.The goats that are to be cut on the following days are kept in the same place where their fellows were cut, skinned and hung in front of their eyes. They kick and cry loudly for days and nights before the sacrifice, but once the killing begins they go eeringly quiet. It is as if the face of imminent death makes them mum. A look at their faces and in their eyes chills the soul. I have always felt it is a look of resignation, dullness and deep gloom.
“The mullah finishes the prayer. Ameen. He picks up the kichen knife with the long blade. The custom is to not let the sheep see the kinife. Ali feeds the animal a cube of sugar – another custom, to make eath sweeter. The sheep kicks, but not much. The mullah grabs it under its jaw and places the blade on its neck. Just a second before he slices the throat in one expert motion, I see the sheep’s eyes. It is alook that will haunt my dreams for weeks. I don’t know why I watchj this yearly ritual in ou backyard; my nightmares persist long after the blood stains on the grass have faded. But I always watch. I watch because of that look of acceptance in the animal’s eyes. Absurdly, I imagine tha animal understands. I imagine the animal sees that its imminent demise is for a higher purpose. This is the look……..” -Khaled Hosseni, The Kiterunner.
Nature provides food to goats, cows, sheep so they can live well. Humans provide food to them so they can kill and cut them. Nature provides food to goats, cows, sheep so they can live well. Humans provide food to them so they can kill and cut them. If we really love our earth and want it to be a comfortable place for future generations, we all need to start reflecting on our daily decisions. How we live. What we eat. What we buy. How and where it is made. How we travel. Everything we habitually do has an impact and also sets an example. One of the most important among these is our relationship with the animals of this planet that should be of compassion and protection. This change may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is certainly better than doing nothing and lamenting later. Let us start by raising our voice against animal sacrifice and slaughter.
Other posts by Meera Ahmad: