Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 23, Tuesday January 10, 2006


Bovine trickery

Ask any cow trader if they are involved in sneaky dealings and they will always vehemently oppose. They will equally vehemently hint that every other trader is into cheating the customer. The law of averages works out that every single one of them is possibly cheating you of your money. Here are some of the tricks employed.

An energetic cow is a healthy cow. That's the belief although cows generally like to stand still and chew their way to oblivion. A simple trick used by a trader is to prick the cow with a pin and it will surely jump around for a while. Another more cruel trick is to break the tail. When gently twisted the intense pain makes the cow cry out in agony.

Of course, if the cow is so energetic that it starts dancing and laughing hysterically at you it is probably suffering from mad cow disease. Quickly buy that cow and use it in cultural functions.

Then there is the matter of the teeth. The older a cow gets the more teeth it has. Consequently it will require you, the buyer to have more teeth to chew it's tough flesh. Generally, cows with four or fewer teeth are considered young with meat tender enough to melt in the mouth. To sell off old cows many traders are known to break off some of the teeth to show the required amount. It's improper to have Qurbani with such cows. Sometimes it can be spotted by checking to see if there is any broken root left inside the mouth or if the gum is unusually swollen or infected.

Also remember that once you pick your cow, pay for it right there and take it home. There have been instances when the same cow has been displayed and sold to several buyers. Later on they were presented with a different animal which could very easily be unfit for Qurbani.

A cow without horns is safe as it cannot gore you in an attempt to flee. But if the horns are broken form the root the animal cannot be used for Qurbani. Although, if a horn breaks from the middle the cow can still be slaughtered. Similarly, animals that are totally blind or have lost one-third or more of their eye-sight, or one-third or more of the tail is missing, cannot be used for Qurbani. Same restrictions apply if the animal is born without ears though this is very rare.

A healthy cow is one that has a good amount of meat especially on its rump or the hind legs. Poking around with a finger usually suffices. Thin animals are acceptable for the slaughter unless they are so thin and weak or sick that they are unable to walk to the place for slaughtering. These cannot be used for Qurbani.

Sign of wealth
Throughout the year the wealthy ride around in expensive cars with cow skin covered seats. The women display expensively labelled cow hide bags. In the winter men show off their wealth donning leather jackets under the burning sun. During Qurbani Eid, the cow is still used for displays of wealth albeit here the entire cow is the status symbol. In fact, it is the only item that can show how rich you are. It's the ultimate status symbol.

A few weeks ago The Daily Star ran a picture of a cow on sale for 5 lakhs. You can buy a decent used car probably with cow on the seats for that amount. With a cow like that you really need to put it into your living room and show it off as a genuine leather product fit for a king.

Last Eid one relative bought a cow for 2 lakh taka a week before the due day. It was conspicuously kept near the front gate under bright lights. Even a couple of security guards were employed along with the usual apartment guards. On the date of the kill the crowd that gathered to watch the slaughter of such a costly cow nearly caused a jam on the 16 feet wide road. That is one heck of a way to publicise wealth.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Cleanliness is not something that Bangladeshi's are renowned for. One look at the state of affairs on almost every street corner would assure even the most ardent supporter that cleanliness and hygiene doesn't rank highly in the hierarchy of important things for the average Bangladeshi.

Eid is therefore no exception (were you expecting otherwise?). In fact it seems that during Eid-ul-Azha the average civilian in the cities lose what little sense of cleanliness that they had and disintegrate into being insipid zombies with not a care in the world about hygiene.

All is well at first, upto the point that the sacrifice is made in the name of the Lord, Allah. After that however, all hell breaks lose. The only thing that seems to matter is how quickly they can separate the meat from the bones and get it sorted. Little or no attention is paid to the state of the streets or roads that suffer badly from the sacrifice of the animals.

This time therefore, take some time out and make sure that when you leave bag and baggage you don't leave the street outside your home looking like a disaster zone. It's simple really. All you have to do is ten minutes of hard work.

Have some bleaching powder handy and of course some water. Since Eid has fallen during winter time during this calendar year, there is very little chance of the rains doing their work. Therefore, having some bleaching powder and water handy means that you can clean up the place before too long has passed.The trick is to remember not to let the blood clot.

One should take care to clean the place with bleaching powder and direct the blood and other waste onto the drains or sewages nearby.

A hose pipe also works wonders in these situations as the increased flow of the water makes it easier to clean the place of residual blood and gore.

You don't have to be Captain Planet or the Planeteers to keep your environment clean. The most important thing is to remember that you are doing it not for the environment but for yourself as well.

A little cleanliness never hurt anyone.

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam



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