500-year-old traditional fair does away with animal sacrifice

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Dehra Dun : In what is being seen as a welcome change, the people of this small mountain state are slowly but steadily doing away with the traditional sacrifice of animals, specially goats and male buffaloes, at religiously important congregations and ‘melas’, courtesy efforts of NGOs and animal lovers.

The 500-year-old Bukhal Mela, near Chaurikhal in Pauri district of Uttarakhand, where people got together for the traditional sacrifice of a male buffalo to the goddess Kalika was done away with this year when the fair started on Saturday. Even the old practice of sacrificing goats by people whose prayers had been met was done away this year.

While no organization or NGO is taking credit for the doing away of the traditional sacrifice of animals, locals believe that it is the sincere efforts of various organizations polled in with that of the district administration over the years that was responsible for no animals being slaughtered this year. The more important thing is that it was done voluntarily by the people without any coercion.

In the past years one could see the male buffalo to be slaughtered before the deity being led in a procession amongst the beating of ‘dhol’, ‘darau’ (traditional drums of the region). A large number of goats were also brought by people whose prayers had been met to slaughter before the goddess in thanksgiving. This year even such people were convinced to refrain from making the thanksgiving ritual.

However, district magistrate Pauri M C Upreti said that though the efforts and sentiments of the district administration to ensure that there was no slaughter of animals at the fair this year was by and large respected by the people, but there were certain diehards, who still wanted to sacrifice goats at the alter.

He said that such persons did approach the fair grounds with the goats meant for sacrifice, but barriers had been put up at various points to check this. “There was no coercion used to refrain them fron not slaughtering the animals, but they were convinced that the thanksgiving to the deity could be done without indulging in the traditional sacrifice and thankfully they agreed”, he claimed.

Meanwhile the residents of the region claim that they have acceded to the request of the district administration to do away with the traditional sacrifice of animals at the fair, and now the concerned authorities on their part should take greater interest in the developmental activities in the region so that there is prosperity amongst the people. This will give the message that the deity has accepted the practice of doing away with the sacrifice of animals and in return has brought prosperity to the people, they claimed.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

4 Comments

  • Amar says:

    The administration, NGO’s and the so called animal lovers falsely show their concern against animal sacrifice before the village deities, which is actually an age old tradition. We are taught from an early age to follow our age old traditions in all respect. If they are really concerned about killing of animals, why do they not protest against the killing of goats, chickens and other animals, which are sacrificed daily and get this menace stopped for ever. Are they not aware that hundreds and thousands of animals are sacrificed daily for eating by non-vegetarians in every city and town?

    Why this double standard?

  • as patwal says:

    dist. admin.got popularity and ngo got handsome money. no one is there to quastion them and check the ground realty. jai ho bunkhal kalinka sabka bhala kare

  • Ram says:

    It just bafles me when some of you are advocating continue of in-humane tradition. If you are using culture, tradition as pretext to defend and to continue such act, you should consider restoring of “sati system” and “human sacrificing” as well. If I am not wrong, “sati system” and “human sacficing” was one time practiced as part of our culture and tradition. I am glad such traditions are almost gone except in some rural area were some fanatics still carry on and defend continuing on as part of tradition. I think we should move forward like other civilizations and try to catch up with rest of the world rather than commiting cruelty against defenseless animals.
    Ram

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