Why I’m not too thrilled about Bakrid

I’ll pick up where I left off in my last post.

In it, I was basically trying to disconnect religion and celebration of festivals. I would request you to read this article with that mindset, because otherwise, 1.57 billion people are likely to be offended, which is definitely not my intention.

As you may all know, today is Bakrid.

If you know me, I think you already know what’s coming.

Goats. Slaughter. Cruelty.

My boss, Arjun, brought up an interesting point today. He pointed out how Nepal completely banned the Gadhimai cow slaughtering festival, where 200,000 cows are slaughtered meaninglessly and right in front of each other, once in five years. Even I remember signing an online petition against the festival, although I don’t know if that made a difference. But he said how nobody even bothers to raise a voice against slaughtering of millions of goats during Bakrid. Even if someone does, their voice is drowned, because newspapers like to pick up stories like this one instead. (Seriously, just read that headline.)

This afternoon, when we were discussing it, I said it’s completely horrible to slaughter animals, especially in people’s homes, where there are children watching. When we’re supposed to be teaching children to love animals, they watch their family axe one in the neck instead. Seriously, there’s no love lost in this country as it is. Why add to the unpleasantries?

My colleague was (a bit too) quick to point out to me that Hindus are no less. That Brahmins slaughtered and ate meat before too. I was a bit irked because my argument had/has nothing to do with religion. Whether it’s a Hindu or a Christian or a Muslim slaughtering a cow or a goat, I’ll hold it against him. In fact, the whole cow-slaughtering festival in Nepal was a Hindu affair and I am dead against it. My whole argument is about the lack of rationale. Any person with the ability to rationalise his actions, should not be slaughtering anything. That’s about it.

Even if you want to eat mutton, or as the festival calls for it, distribute it to the needy, then go buy mutton and give it to the needy. There’s a certain procedure to slaughter animals and believe it or not, the kind way of slaughtering them is officially called the Humane Method. There’s a reason it’s called “humane.” Ideally, you’re supposed to render the animal unconscious and then slaughter it, if you have to do it at all. Not hold it by its hands, legs, pin it down and then struggle to slit its throat with a regular house knife and let the poor animal bleed to death. (The fact that the Humane Method is not practiced in most meat shops is a completely different story by itself. But that’s no justification for this.)

My point is, it does not make sense to carry on a tradition that has lasted thousands of years simply “because it’s there!” Heck! I don’t think most people even realise the significance of Bakrid! In fact, the story goes that Allah, to test the faith of Abraham and his son, Ismail, asked Abraham to sacrifice his son through a recurring dream. When Abraham agreed and was in the process of slitting Ismail’s throat, he was shocked to see that there was a lamb instead of his son. Basically, Allah saw that Abraham was so faithful that he was ready to sacrifice someone as dear to him as his son, and replaced his son with a lamb.

The whole idea of Bakrid stems from this story. You’re supposed to sacrifice something dear to you. Not a goat that you buy off the internet the previous day. There’s nothing near or dear about that.

So, please rethink your values and principles, not as a religious person, but simply as a person. Think about it from a non-violent angle and please put an end to this mindless practice.

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7 thoughts on “Why I’m not too thrilled about Bakrid

  1. the whole concept of ‘humane method’ beats reason…so please do not call it rationale… either you eat or you dont eat…slaughtering happens nevertheless…the animal dies..by any which method..

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    1. Look. I’m vegetarian and according to me, ideally, the whole world ought to be vegetarian. But I’m not building castles in the air through this blog post. People will buy meat and eat it anyway. I’m just giving them a more reasonable way to go about it. That’s about it. I agree with your comment though. Animals ought not to die because of humans.

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      1. ” I’m just giving them a more reasonable way to go about it. ”

        Excuse me?

        What are you smokin’ today?

        You are not giving any reasonable reason here.

        How come killing animals in a different way is fine…

        Oh yes, people will do that regardless of your post, but sure as hell you didn’t drive your point home.

        That Salman piece was better. Much better.

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      2. All I have to say is that there are moderates and there are extremists. I’m the former. It’s hilarious how a seemingly vegetarian person is dissing another hardcore vegetarian. Diversity in unity. Haha! All I’m saying is that there are certain ways to do certain things. Please go read the Salman Khan article and entertain yourself. :) Good luck mate!

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  2. I am a vegetarian and I am not against people who eat meat. If a person without guilt inside their conscience can bring themselves to cull an animal for food, let them go ahead and eat meat. And then there are people who are just hypocrites. They are the ones who cannot bring themselves to hurt a chicken or a goat but still consume the meat. Hell! They can not even think of the ‘killing process’ when they are eating meat. I completely loath them.

    Then there are the people who kill in the name of religion – ANY RELIGION. They are the ones who forgot the other important stuff that their religion preaches viz. Compassion to fellow humans but somehow studiously follow sacrifices of animals ?? What logic is that??

    And then there are others who kill in the name of sport and I do not want to get started on these men (and women).

    Turkeys during thanksgiving, goats now and of course during many Hindu festivities in villages are killings by compulsion rather than by necessity. Hope this reduces in the future.

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  3. Hi, Swathi.

    I went through your piece. And I would like to ask few questions to you.
    In the end of your blog, you talk about ending mindless practice of slaughtering goat during Bakri id. Whereas on the other side you talk about distributing meat to the poors.

    “Even if you want to eat mutton, or as the festival calls for it, distribute it to the needy, then go buy mutton and give it to the needy.”

    Can you please explain these two different points that you have mention in your piece.

    ***************************

    Ok, now allow me to consider that you are completely against slaughtering of animals.
    In your blog, you have talked about Humane method of slaughtering. You have also stated it to be official way of slaughtering.
    Now, can you explain me, how the method of slaughtering matters to a person who is completely against slaughtering animals?
    How does it matters, if a animal is slaughtered in halal, jhatka or humane way. A slaughter is a slaughter. (In all the ways, poor animals have to pay the price)
    A murder is a murder, it does not matter if a person is stabbed, poisoned or shot.

    So, are you against slaughtering or slaughtering method ?

    *******************************

    I really appreciate your effort of bringing up the humane method. If this is the official way, than most of the butchers should follow this.
    Now, before you proceed further, please consider me as an individual with no religion.
    Even though, the humane method may be the correct way, but our Muslim brothers may not follow it. The Halal method is the way which finds a place in the Islamic law.

    http://halalcertification.ie/halal/islamic-method-of-slaughtering/

    According to the Islamic law, any Muslim slaughtering an animal in different way will be considered Haram. He has to slaughter it in Halal way if he wants to eat it or give to the needy people.

    From your piece, I also understand your pain for animals and I second you in that. I feel people in this world will shout against slaughtering of animals but will go to restaurants and have meat.

    You have written a good article but I find your points unclear.

    What are you against for.. Are you against Slaughtering of goat on Bakri id or Slaughtering of animal in general or the method of the slaughtering ? :)

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    1. Personally, I’m against slaughtering of any kind. I personally believe in loving animals and not harming them and eating them. But in this article, I’m only talking about slaughtering with religious beliefs in mind, and not for regular consumption of meat. I know that it’s not realistic to expect the world to stop eating meat, and I don’t expect that. But to slaughter it in the name of religion, and so brutally is senseless to me.

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