Dhaka, Bangladesh: This is unprecedented. The animal cruelty and killing in the name of religious sacrifices presented a savage scene for the humanity:
These pictures were posted on September 13 at Twitter by @EdwardRees who as per the Twitter account lives in Dhaka and is associated with the United Nations.
September 12-15 is being observed as Eid-al-Adha (also known as Bakrid)- a prominent religious festival in Islam. This day is a “Feast of Sacrifice”,i.e., Muslims kill (sacrifice) goats to Allah and then distribute this sacrifice as feast among themselves.
Millions of goats are slaughtered on this day to quench the bloody thirst of humanity. The roads of Dhaka presented gory details of the pious day: Blood spreading into streets compounded by lashes of rains! Result: “Rivers of Blood in Dhaka” as Dhaka Tribune depicted the scenario with this headline.
India Today appropriately termed the scene as “Dhaka streets transforming into Blood Streams after Eid sacrifices and Rain.”
In a true sense of ‘Religion is opium’, a developing country with poor infra structure and inability to effectively cope with natural excesses (if not calamity) admixed with over zeal for religion played out a perfectly sorrowful scenario in form of sanguinous streets.
Animal killing at a mass level as a religious celebration sounds horrific and grotesque. However, this time I found a different chatter also. May be due to convergence brought about by social media, this sentiment got louder also: People are questioning why animal killing! Social media was abuzz with these hashtags: #EcofriendlyEid and #BloodlessEid
At least, a debate is happening!
Rakesh Chauhan from Narnaul, India gave a cogent argument:
नर मुंड का स्थान नारियल ले सकता है तो बकरे का स्थान लौकी या पपीता क्यों नहीं? सनातन धर्म तुम महान हो! #EcoFriendlyEid
Anna Solaiman wrote a blog on The Huffington Post and stated: “I am celebrating all life with a Vegan Eid.” She adds: “The faithful can choose to reject animal sacrifices and instead show mercy and compassion during Eid simply by eating vegan..”
Hi five to Anna!
Religion and compassion go hand in hand. Let this moral equation not be disturbed!
(Outswinger: Through my Outswingers, I speak on a host of issues- local to global!)
Twenty-first of February is an important annual date for the peoples of both, Bangladesh, and West Bengal. On that day in nineteen fifty two, students of East Pakistan’s institutions of knowledge like Dhaka Medical College, had been mercilessly struck down, after they were fired upon by the soldiers of West Pakistan. Their crime? Bangla, the indigenous mother-tongue of all Bengalis, irrespective of religion and location, had been the prime focus of East Pakistan’s ‘Language Movement’. The seat of power, despite the East’s relatively larger demographic, had been, for all means and purposes, firmly lodged in the West, separated from the Eastern wing, by thousands of miles of territory belonging to the state of independent India. West Pakistan wielded absolute power over Pakistan’s army, its internal security, administration and the judicial system. Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, and Sindhi, were the most recognized and respected lingua franca. Bengali was deemed by the West, to be a ‘Pagan’ language, the tongue of millions of ‘kaffirs’ that worshipped a plenitude of deities.
The Bengalis, a people deeply protective of their cultural heritage, cutting across religious lines, took offense, and thus commenced the movement for the restoration of Bangla, as the legitimate representative of the East Bengalis. What followed, is well known, to South Asian History, enthusiasts. Exploiting the opportunity that had presented itself, and asphyxiated by more than ten million Bengali refugees who had migrated to eastern India in wake of ‘Operation Searchlight’ imposed by West Pakistan on its eastern wing, India had invaded the latter in the early December of 1971. The shortest war of modern history, had ended a fortnight later, with the emergence of an independent homeland, for all Bengali speaking peoples: Bangladesh.
Bangladesh turns forty-seven on the twenty sixth of March this year. Over the last nearly five decades, much water has flown under the bridge. Significantly, it has taken along with it, a bulk of the initial bonhomie and camaraderie, that Bangladesh and India shared with one another. From trustworthy allies, the two neighbours, have now entered a phase of grudging respect, but that too is often found in suspended animation, once anti-Indian regimes come to power in the other country. There are a number of reasons why India and Bangladesh have experienced a souring of relations over time, and much to the ordinary Indian’s chagrin, not all of the blame can be laid at our eastern neighbour’s door.
A) WHAT’S IN A PICTURE? EVERYTHING!
Any patriotic Indian, often ruminates fondly over a well circulated photo that emerged in the December of 1971. It was taken during the capitulation of the West Pakistan army to India. The photo is held up by Indian nationalists, like a trophy and proudly referred to as the ultimate symbol of India’s crushing of Pakistan. This historic photo in question, has a sombre Lt. Gen. J.S. Arora, looking on, as a visibly demoralized Gen. A.A.K. Niazi of Pakistan signs the document of surrender. A sea of khaki and army green dot the backdrop of the image. Smiling soldiers of the Indian Defence Forces, can be seen interspersed between high ranking members of the Pakistan Army. However, remarkably, missing from the image, is the presence of the very people, who had had to sacrifice their life, their limb, and their precious dignity, to make their own independence happen.
As time has passed, millions of Bangladeshis have taken stock of the historic footage that seemed to signal their freedom day, and yet, they have asked: “Where are our people?” Yes, indeed. It is a photograph that, once the euphoria had died down, was bound to reveal its troubling nature. It may have been the defining moment for our own military men, but for the patriots within our newly born neighbour, this image is one of being slighted; of being overlooked, and insulted. Indians should have realized awhile back, that parading the said photo, was not a wise thing to do. The newly liberated nation, did not and to this day, cannot claim the image as their own, due to the complete absence of any East Bengali presence.
B) WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE, BUT NOT A DROP TO DRINK!
In 1996, Bangladesh and India had signed a treaty over the sharing of river waters. The agreement – known as the Ganges Treaty – had promised to equally divide the volume of river waters shared by the two nations. Waters of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna mega-basin, constitute the globe’s second largest hydraulic region, with a high population density inhabiting its banks. Simply put, the so-called division of water, is neither fair, and nor useful, to Bangladeshis. Through the Farakka Barrage, India, with its advanced systems of harvesting trans-boundary water, virtually controls the upstream flow of currents, which it then utilises without a care for the consequences being experienced by the people that live around the downstream currents of the barrage. As a result, Bangladesh has become a victim of environmental degradation which is a direct consequence of India’s water harvesting policy and techniques. Flora and Fauna, especially a variety of edible fish, important to our eastern neighbour, have either drastically lessened, or come close to extinction, due to callous and selfish, Indian interests over river-water sharing.
A) THREE IS A CROWD!
A fundamental problem that posited itself even before the Liberation War in East Pakistan was over, and should have been a dark indicator of what was to come, was the deluge of refugees that had escaped the porous Indo-Pak border at its eastern end, and come to stay in India, as hopeful citizens. Even though Bangladesh is itself a witness to a refugee apocalypse in the form of the Rohingyas, they do not seem to be able to join the dots between their own problem, and that of India’s, for which their homegrown, poverty-stricken population is responsible. The Indian state w