Some Learning from this Eid
Eid-ul-Azha has come and gone. It was no different from the
previous years. There were the usual animal haats within
and beyond the city limits. There was the predictable rush for
sacrificial animals, animals were slaughtered wherever people
deemed it fit to slaughter them, this discerning deed left the
city in stench, and there were altercations and an occasional
fight for the meat given to the poor from the prosperous house
holds. All these were there but there were things different
from the run of the mill occurrences. I understand that cows
this year were limited in supply and, therefore, the prices
were high. Indeed very high for the middle class Bangladeshis
to shy away from the age-old custom. Therefore, a lesser number
of cows was slaughtered. Also, strange though it may seem, people
started questioning the intent with which animals are slaughtered.
To some, at least, the whole exercise seemed ostentatious and
made my day is a banner I came across near the Dhaka Sheraton
Hotel. Adapted from Bangla it would read: Do not kill the animals
of the wild. Kill the Animal within you. Isn't this fascinating?
I think this is the most profound appeal I have come across
in a long time. Kill the animal within you. I think this most
extraordinary slogan alone, if adhered to, could make life so
much more meaningful and blissful for all of us. What's more,
it gives me a tremendous sense of hope about the future of Bangladesh.
A Bangladesh where we have become used to talking about all
the negative things in our daily conversation, where despondency
is our every day companion, where we do not find any reason
to come back to if we can barely make a living abroad.
in the morning and before I saw the banner I had met an aunt
who lives in the ground floor of a respectable residential apartment
complex. This year, for some strange reason, the occupants of
the apartments had decided to slaughter the animals within the
compound and in the car park of the complex. Coincidentally
the place they selected for this was by the side of my aunt's
bedroom window. She was very disturbed by the sight of animal
after animal being slaughtered, skinned, cut and chopped. What
disturbed her most was that a band of very young boys were sitting
and watching all these from the adjacent wall. The felling of
each animal resulted in a gleeful outburst from them. The comment
of my old aunt was that "I could literally see a band of
young thugs being inducted into the trade of indulging in the
violence that has become endemic to our society of late."
Her comment made me appreciate the banner even more.
question remains, and it may well be asked by the devout Muslims,
that should we abstain from practising gestures of sacrifice
during the celebration of Eid-ul-Azha? I would hazard an answer
to this question through a counter question. Let us put our
hands on our hearts and ask how many of us sacrifice animals
during the Eid with a spirit of sacrifice? Don't we indulge
in a competition of buying the most expensive animal with an
attitude of exhibitionism and of obtrusiveness? Don't our eyes
light up at the prospect of savouring the taste of the choice
cuts of the animals we have so eagerly brought home from the
haat to sacrifice in the name of God? Does that animal ever
become our most loved and most prized possession, the sacrifice
of which should meet the spirit of qurbani? Do we genuinely
care about the fate of the teeming millions of destitute that
comprise the majority of our population and can't even afford
a square meal a day?
in our present day Bangladesh’s beasts are not as beastly as
the human beings. Isn't that the beast within most of us that
we should sacrifice first on such occasions?