About the rituals of Bakra Eid in urban areas…
I grew up dreading bakra eid.
You know, having to go with my dad and mum to get a couple goats from a crowded, chaotic mandi.
I never really understood how they’re priced, so selection and bargaining is always stressful. (Aik daant, dou daant, wtf right?)
Also never really got the hang of handling the goats, picking them up and closing them in the trunk, or squeezing them into the back seat of the car. And that smell. The poopies.
And they would cry. All night long. That always seemed unnecessary.
I mean, I get that the Eid sacrifice is a big deal. And yes, maybe its me specifically who doesn’t get this — especially seeing how everybody enjoys the hell out of the entire process. The modern version of the hunt, you know going to the mandi armed with cash and the zeal to find the best bargain to eventually parade around prize livestock in the neighborhood, and oh, is ka to gosht bhi itna acha nikla *noorani smile*.
But, they way we go about it, doesn’t feel right. Its never felt right. Its not natural. It doesn’t make sense.
I think now after all these years… I guess my questions are, what is sacrifice really? What is the idea exactly? Where does the modern ritual of bringing livestock home, parading, and slaughtering etc. etc. come from? What forces have created and sustain it today? From a moral perspective, whats the right play here?
What’s the qurbani?
Is it the money? In which case you could just give away money… Or is it livestock and meat? Livestock farming/ownership is not a part of our urban lives. There is definitely a lifestyle somewhere out there in space/time in which livestock is a big part of your daily life, you know… a source of food, status and wealth. Sacrificing a lamb/goat/cow and giving away the meat one must definitely feel a pinch. Is that pinch the sacrifice?
There is at least one branching off here — that pinch is either primarily because of the wealth subtraction or because of your personal attachment to the animal you sacrifice. Alright, I have to tell you something. I think this attachment, is really something us urban people feel. Since I’m guessing in the lifestyle mentioned before slaughtering animals for meat is pretty much an average, everyday thing… they do it all the time! So the sacrifice must be the giving it away part. In which case, its just wealth subtraction… yes?
Maybe its the actual slaughtering. I should confess. I’ve never done it. I can barely stand watching it. I feel like I should. Like its a rite of passage for being a real man, its one of the Big things in life. You know, actually slaughtering an animal. I remember its one of the first things that The Arrow’s (The superhero?) master on that Island made him do to make him into a warrior. Maybe that’s the hikmat. Men must be warriors. They must experience slaughtering a live animal… ehh, I’m not too sure. Because, sacrifice is obligatory on people who have the wealth… so are you saying only wealthy people get to be warriors? Iffy right?
Anyway so its either the money thing or the taking life of something you grow attached to thing. Due to the iffies on the latter, I think its the money thing. The sacrifice is money.
Come to think of it, for me personally, it would be a big deal to cut up a cute lamb/goat, so maybe the taking life thing actually applies to me. Given how other people are so meh about it though, I don’t think it applies to everyone. However, the money thing does!
And what is this nonsense of displacing animals from their natural living areas, squeezing them into awkward transports, bringing them into your non animal friendly homes and streets, and the god awful mess that everyone leaves around afterwards… and the bloody animal hide business. There are obvious economic forces at play here. So many people make so much money out of this. From the people who trade livestock, the people who set up stalls with animal feed, baskets, knives, chopping boards, coal, mini bbqs etc., everyone is making a buck. I think that is one of the big things that sustains the Strange rituals in this festival.
Another is the social, status thing.
Yaar us ki gaye dekhi? Yaar woh log to har saal australian bayl latay hain…. Us ki bakron ki jori kitni fit hai… Is saal kya kar rahay ho? Chota ya bara? Acha bakray… Is saal hum nay teen gaye ki hain! … Yaar woh log oonth laye hain, chalo dekhain… Is saal hum nay 25 janwar kiye *shit face* Woh log to sahi intezam karte hain, tent shent laga ke… poori raat chalaya hum ne gaye ko… expert to ali bhai log hain… wtf.
The rituals bring out the worst kind of social competition, materialism and status mongering in our people. Again, I’ve never felt it. But I see it everywhere. It doesn’t make sense.
The other forces.
So this is a sticky idea. Its also complex. Theres definitely more.
I’ve tried to talk to people to find answers to these questions. And with most of them, the answer is simple. This is just the way to do it, they say. This is the way they’ve always done it. Its a clear edict to sacrifice livestock, and we can’t question it. Whats the point of logic? What is this liberal nonsense?
This is the fundamentalist bias. This kind of bias related to religious rituals is super strong here. You want to talk about some sort of change and critical analysis? Sorry, not open to liberal nonsense jewish conspiracy analysis.
Good thing (kinda) is that almost everyone agrees that there must be a better system to do this. You know, more sanitary, more efficient. Like in Saudi, you cannot bring livestock to your city homes. There is only one place to do your animals, and super strict rules regarding cleaning up and going about it.
Listen, it doesn’t make sense.
Displacing animals from their relatively natural spaces. Transporting them in such uncomfortable, dangerous lorries/cars/rickshaws. Slaughtering on the streets. The amount of poop, blood, road blocking loitering animals, is crazy. The diseases. The corruption at the mandis. The extravagance.
The spirit of sacrifice just turns into this perverted modern day nonsense set of rituals that everyone is doing. Some people make a buck. Few people feel the qurbani pinch. Its a sanitary shit fest. Its so unnecessary. I think its immoral as well. Its not right.
We’ve been doing the thing recently in which you just pay like Meat One or whoever and they sacrifice an animal for you and package up the meat and send it over on Eid day. We feel the money pinch. I think this outsourcing to pros thing is relatively better.
Morally… Donating money to the right projects, people or at the very least going about the slaughtering business in a cleaner, smarter, humbler way seems like the right thing to do.
Tbh I don’t know for sure what the spirit of sacrifice is. And maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. But this. This what’s going on around us. Does not make sense. Its irresponsible, and we should maybe try to figure this out.
At least, think about it.