Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Street cows

Street Cows …

It’s the rainy season in Sri Lanka. It rains cats and dogs, the nature is unleashed. Thunder and flashes  surround us all the time.  It’s not the time to leave even the meanest dog outside. Not to mention.. a cow! But here it is, a wet, unhappy cow under this downpour, surrounded only by the city: cement and bricks. I have seen previously some scrawny cows wandering alone tacking a bit of grass here and there from gardens and wastelands. But this is too much…this cow intrigues me and I pass the remark to my driver: ‘What a bad master to leave his cow in the rain lke this” The answer astounds me: “Well sir, it doesn’t have a master!” “What do you mean, it doesn’t have a master. This is not like a stray dog or a street cat to abandon!” “Yes sir, it’s a cow who was bought to escape sacrifice, and left free!” And gradually I start discovering another facet of the society I live in…” The “Sacrifices War!”

 The Budhists, who form the majority in Sri Lanka, are against sacrifices or any form of taking lives. Life is something holy. Sri lankan Budhism is vibrant, and the budhist monks are quite “militant” and the Government  leaders themselves are very religious and religious holydays are quite strictly obeyed…Including each full moon, or “Poya”…

Tamils are hindus mainly. They believe in several gods, among them the goddess Kali, the goddess of Death and War (among others) and Kali requieres sacrifices. If the worshipers are poor they will sacrifice a chiken. If they are better off, they will sacrifice a goat. There are important festivals when more hundreds of goats are sacrificed. Here, I read in the papers: “About 700 goats and scores of chickens were to be sacrificed on Tuesday during a traditional religious ceremony at the Munnewaram temple, just north of the capital Colombo.  The grisly ritual, in which goats are decapitated in public using a large hatchet, was first banned in the 1980s but was revived as locals believe the animals' blood wards off evil spirits.”

Other news  in papers and blogs are even more explosive but they also appeal to my sense of humor: “Minister X went in province Y to stop the sacrifices of 140 goats …” which prompts the comment form an anonimous reader: “ He will be punished by Kali! Doesn’t he know that the hero Z always sacrificed goats before going towar ans he was always a winner!?”

The Muslims and the few Chrisitians do not engage in religious animal sacrifices and they will eat beef. Not me because here beef is tough like shoeleather. And this is where problems begin because Budhists, monks I believe, just like the kind souls and animal rights activists want o save them, sothey go to the slaughter haouse and buy the cows and then they release them…And so you get …the street cows.

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