Cow Inflation: Cost of Living or Showing Off

Posted on December 23, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development, Religion, Society
29 Comments
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Adil Najam

Last year we posted a rather disturbing video that might have been titled the ‘revenge of the cow’; if you did not see it, it may be worth watching again. Our bhains video this year is more docile but equaly though-provoking.

This is a Geo News report from Bakra Mandi, Walton, Lahore. Rs. 10 lakh (Rs. 1,000,000), Rs. 6 lakh (Rs. 600,000) for a cow and the bargaining goes on. “Babar” is a fine specimen for sure – wighing 35 mun, 4 year old, and drinking 10 kilo milk and eating 1o kilo of fodder a day it is being offered for Rs. 10 lakh (Rs. one million).

Is this a story about inflation? Or is it about showing off? And how does it connect with the spirit of sacrifice and sharing that the qurbani is supposed to be about? If the purpose of qurbani is sacrifice and helping the poor might it not be better to just take that money and distribute to the really needed who might find the case more helpful than a fine piece of steak? I understand the importance of ritual in any social and belief system. But the spirit of the ritual should count for more than its mechanics. No?

29 responses to “Cow Inflation: Cost of Living or Showing Off”

  1. Lahori says:

    There is an entire ‘bakra economy’ that operates in Pakistan around Eid. Whatever the religious issue, the fact is that just like Christmas is important to the US economy, there is an Eid economy in Pakistan. Without this consider all the people who earn from rearinga dn selling teh animals, slaughtering them, etc.

  2. Humair says:

    Bhai log, ab maaf karo. Why turn everything into a religious debate. Does it matter which son or why, how said in Quran or not. Even if it is teh son you want to be mentioned and even if it is in Quran as clearly as you want, the real thing is the spirit. If a true spirit of sacrifice is there then it matters not at all, and if it is not there then what is the use anyhow. Look at this video, this just about commerce and snobbery, nothing to do with sacrifice.

    Isnt there a line in Bulleh Shah’s “jay rab milda naandian dhondia” about this. Ritual is ritual and no more. It works only when matched with teh spirit. I think that was the intent of the writeup here and everyone has gone off on detail missing the big question totally.

  3. MQ says:

    Ahsan:
    Yes, I am aware of the substitution of Ismail with Ishaq (Issac). But I didn’t want to get into that controversy. That is why I used the word child. Frankly, I don’t want to start a religious debate here. I just wanted to know where did the tradition of sacrificing a bakra or an animal come from. To my knowledge, It is not in the Quran.

    Adnan Sahib: I am glad you quoted the whole verse. But I don’t see the mention of a goat or any animal in it.

  4. Adnan says:


    As far as I know, there is no mention in the Quran of a bakra or any other animal being substituted for the child.

    Quran(37:102-108):


    -And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, “O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.”
    -And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead,
    -You have fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good.
    -Indeed, this was the clear trial.

    -And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice,


    -And We left for him [favorable mention] among later generations:

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