Cow Inflation: Cost of Living or Showing Off

Posted on December 23, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development, Religion, Society
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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. Ahsan says:

    “Please correct me if I am wrong. As far as I know, there is no mention in the Quran of a bakra or any other animal being substituted for the child. It is only in the Bible that a ram is mentioned.”

    Dear MQ,

    With your above comment, you have started a new debate. Is the NAME of the beloved child that Prophet Abraham intended to sacrifice is mentioned in the Holy Book? According to Old Testament it is Issac.

  2. MQ says:

    Please correct me if I am wrong. As far as I know, there is no mention in the Quran of a bakra or any other animal being substituted for the child. It is only in the Bible that a ram is mentioned.

  3. Akif Nizam says:

    I think the bigger assumption is that Eidul Azha has anything to do with the spirit of Qurbani/sacrifice. If it were so, then one would be required to give away the meat to the poor only. However, there is no such requirement, only tradition that one-third be given away to charity but you don’t have to. I think that it’s a mere commemoration of the Abrahamic act and that’s all. That does not mean that you have to sacrifice something near and dear to your heart.

  4. S.A.Mallal says:

    Ref. comments by MQ.
    An assumption seems to have been made that half the household of Karachi numbering one million do Qurbani which means one million heads of Bakras roll on the street of Karachi on Eidul Azah. Please believe me one million is a very large number when applied to Bakras. A safe assumption will be to say 10 to 15% household in Karachi do the Qurbani. And also keep in mind that probobaly half the house hold of Karachi find it difficult to make both ends meet let alone doing Qurbani. Yes they may be doing Qurbani by keeping mum about this injustice.
    The other point I want to make is this: If we decide to do THE QURBANI IN THE REAL SENSE OF THE WORD WHEREBY A BOND IS ESTABLISHED WITH THE ANIMAL BEFORE SLAUGHTERING IT then we may find it too demanding emotionally and not be able to repeat it every year. We may do it once in a decade or once in a life time. That will be fair enough. At least it will be a qurbani more close to the spirit of Qurbani (sacrifice) than it is now. It is this sort of Qurbani which is more likely to inculcate in us a spirit of qurbani which seems to be the object of the whole exercsize.
    I have already narrated my experience of feeling the impact of real Qurbani when my pet Bakra was slaughtered on Eidul Azaha which was one of the reason I became reluctant to indulge in this activity thereafter. I must admit sheepishly (pun is intended) though that this year I let my wife do the Qurbani as she aleays desired. She went and paid Rs 5000/ to Edhi Home to slaughter a Bakra on her behalf (and probobaly mine as well) which they did most promptly and without any inconvenience to us. Afterwards she went and picked up 5 kg meat as part of her share of Qurbani a major chunk of which she gave to the poors who came to our door steps for it.
    The question is did we make any sacrifice in this operation. No! I don’t think so. Throwing away Rs 5,000/ like this was no big deal for us.

  5. Babur MAHMOOD says:

    May Allah protect this nation. We need EDUCATION, EDUCATION and EDUCATION. Only with education, we will understand Quran, Islam and the world around us. We seem to be sleep walking towards an abyss.

    When will Pakistanis wake up

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