Bakra of the Day: Kickin’ n’ Screamin’

Posted on December 29, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Society
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Adil Najam

Many readers would already have seen this on Karachi Metroblog. Voyeuristically, I guess, it is interesting. However, I wanted to make a rather different point.

Personally, I do not find this funny. I find it sad and slightly sickening.

The video shows a bunch of men from a neighborhood mohalla ogling at and sometimes provoking a frightened cow. In the process, the poor animal lashes out and kicks violently at various people who try to ‘control’ it. The tamashbeen seem to find this funny and, purposely or inadvertently, their reaction further instigates the frightened animal.

It is easy to focus on the antics of the cow, but I would urge you to pay more careful attention to the people in the video and especially to the comments of the person who is making the video and his companion.

Angry cow flying kick

That is the sad part. But not for some of the foul language that creeps in. What is sad is the joyous glee and excitement people seem to be expressing not only at the misery of the cow but also of those who are being kicked and hurled by the cow. It is not just that they are oblivious to the welfare of the poor animal; it is also that they seem genuinely excited (even happy) that someone got violently kicked by the frightened beast.About a month ago we did a related post on how people fail to react to the misery of others (in that case someone supposedly slapping a woman as a prelude to stealing from her). In this case its not just that they don’t rush out to help someone in obvious pain, it is that they seem to find that pain funny (this relates to a different discussion we had on why people ‘enjoy’ self-destructive behavior by others).

In this season of bakras (I know this is not a bakra, but since it is being treated as one, I am sticking with the headline), it makes me think of the inhumane treatment we met out to the animals that are supposedly going to help us become better humans. Unlike Arab society 1400 years ago, where livestock was a prime unit of currency and commercial exchange (and, hence, of sacrifice) and where most people would have been well aware how to deal with and treat these prized possessions, most people (at least in urban Pakistan) have no experience or idea about how to treat any animal and one often seen purposeful and inadvertent cruelty inflicted on these animals, which are treated as a source of novelty rather than as living creatures worthy of our respect.

Elsewhere on ATP, we have been talking today about dignity and the demonstration of dignity. Maybe it is that incident that has left me in a pensive mood. As I watch this video, it seems to me that the only one who comes out of this video with its dignity intact is the cow. I, for one, am rooting for the cow.

23 responses to “Bakra of the Day: Kickin’ n’ Screamin’”

  1. Huma s says:

    it is sad how little desi people know about animal cruelty. I do not mean to put us ALL in one group but our people can reach engineering and medical highs but basic suffering they do not get. NO RELIGION allows this behavior and if you belive so, thn you are not MUSLIM, JEW OR CHRISTIAN…just plain evil. Khair, this blog will not make much difference but it can make us think…

    Why Animal Rights?

    Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to the circus and to zoos. Many of us bought our beloved “petsâ€

  2. ashu says:

    very disturbing, a defenceless animal and some enjoyying faces.
    but nice to see people debating here for a social cause atleast. It is true religion has nothing to do with cruelty. Even Hindus do sacrifice in the name of God. but in my view, a killing is a killing, whether it is for a sacrfice or food or just for fun. One can imagine the pain when being slaughtered.
    I sincerely apologise , if my comments hurt anyone

  3. MQ says:

    I didn’t know that my comment sometime before Eid had triggered a religious discussion. I opened the Internet today at an Internet cafe after a break of several days. (I have been unable to get an Internet connection at home so far in spite of repeated “inshaallahs” and promises. I suppose Eid holidys, both official and unofficial, have also something to do with this. But there is still too much beauracracy here.)

    Anyway, I was not blaming religion or slaughter of animals in my earlier comment. (How can I? I am a meat eater myself.) I was blaming the way the poor animal was being dragged to its death and being treated as a source of amusement.

    Regarding the ritual of Qurbani, I agree with Iqbal who said ( and I have quoted this once before):
    Yeh sab kiya hain? faqat ik nukta-e-imaaN ki tafseeraiN
    Brahimi nazar paida zara mushkil say hoti hai

    “What is all this? only interpreation of one point of faith
    The vision or spirit of Ibrahim is missing in all this”

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