In the cosmopolitan world of the cosmopolitan man parade, cows have little honour. Around the year, 360 degrees round the clock, these harmless yet extremely useful creatures are left ignored and unloved. Yet, a certain time every year, man lets down his guard and allows the cow to restore its dignity. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you the showcase of the season, a brilliant exposition of man’s most loved compatriot and a saga of pride and prejudice: this is where you get to watch cows and goats stampede mankind’s pride.
Well technically, many of you will disagree with us. The flaunting of the sharpest horns or the smelliest dung is quite a ramp dance during Qurbani Eid. We take pride in our buys, so whether it’s the cows who’re overruling us or us using the cows to flaunt a flashy grin is an international debate. The cows are decked out in garlands of flowers and metallic streamers of every shiny color imaginable, while some are even lucky enough to have brightly colored scarves around their neck or jari embroidered ornas on their back. This is truly a beauty pageant for these cows, who have come here from the little villages outside Dhaka and some even as far as the exotic land of India. They have to walk, moo and look pretty so our pompous selves feel more pompous with every pricey purchase. It’s a difficult choice, given the variety of options and the pressure from the media to avoid racism (black cows equal more meat); our models stand quietly in stalls with Vermillion on their foreheads and kajol lined eyes full of hopes and dreams to be picked by the customer who’ll prove his (or her) ultimate love by eating the poor thing. We spank, spit and yell our bargains, and finally, a lucky cow gets crowned with a shiny green paper necklace and wins our hearts.
Our love for cows is so much that not only do we eat its meat (grilled, minced, stewed or curried), we also take pride in devouring its lungs, kidneys, liver, brain, tail, stomach lining, bone (marrow comes complimentary depending on where it came from) and for the truly adventurous the tongue (Yum! But I’ll pass). And why not? As a hugely carnivorous nation, we pride ourselves in eating anything that walks, swims or flies (as long as it’s Halal of course!)
Which brings us to another animal which is never highlighted as much the cow. We are speaking on behalf of the goats. For years goats have only been a minor (yet pivotal) character in the sacrificial rituals. The cow always seems to hog the spotlight with the goat in the supporting role. The goats are never as much decked out as the cows; they mostly rely on their shiny coat of luxurious fur and mischievous eyes full of love and curiosity of how they would taste in a rezala. Yet, despite the lack of ornamentations, our love for them blossom like flowers shown in BTV. Sometimes, our affection for them affects us so vastly that our younger siblings come home smelling like goats and refuse to take shower in fear of losing that special attachment.
We would also like to suggest some other quadrupeds for this occasion that never even get an honorable mention. The camel with its lovely hump(s) and extra long eye lashes that can only be attained using Revlon’s mascara, the sheep (which honestly are way cuter than goats) and of course, deer (check for legalities of it not being a protected species under the law). Although some may be mistakenly wondering whether these participants in the race for mankind’s attention get lagged behind, be sure to acknowledge you’re wandering along the wrong lines. They may get purchased less, but they come with sky high prices that can buy an entire chhagol haat. Man’s lesson of quality over quantity supersedes over humanity once again.
On a more serious note, a little request from us squeamish folks; try and not to have the streets and public spaces splattered with blood, guts and fragments of what it once used to be. We are aware of how the excess bloodshed is another opportunity to show off and bring that toothy grin back and the crows and dogs certainly appreciate your donations. But the stench and mess left behind is enough to give nightmares to even the most dedicated carnivores. So be nice (for a change) and pick up after yourselves (including the food and dung left from the days of having that gorgeous thing in your garage).
This Eid, throw your diets and calories charts out and have fun feasting on your choice of animal. Show those Vegans, Vegetarians and pesky PETA folks that we mean business. We shall no longer be profiled as a nation that only eats rice and fish! We have canines and we’re not afraid to use them!
By: Sabhanaz Rashid Diya and Tanvir Hassan
Published in Rising Stars on December 4 2008.