Shah Rukh stood tall and handsome, the cynosure of all eyes at a busy market near Jama Masjid in central Delhi. But just in case you thought it was the famous Bollywood icon, it wasn't.
Shah Rukh was one of the several hundreds of goats of the Mewati breed brought to the city to be sold for the festival of Eid-ul-Zuha, or Bakr-Eid as it is more popularly called, on Dec 9.
One of the most important festivals of the Muslim community, Bakr-Eid commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail on god's command.
According to popular belief, god wanted to test Ibrahim's faith and commanded him to sacrifice his son. Ibrahim agreed to do it but considering what a difficult task it was, he blindfolded himself before putting Ismail on the altar at the mount of Mina near Makkah.
When he removed his blindfold after performing the act, he saw his son standing in front of him, alive. On the altar lay a slaughtered lamb instead. Sacrificing goats on Bakr-Eid is therefore in commemoration of that incident.
In preparation for the festival next week, traders from nearby towns are therefore thronging the capital with goats of all sizes and breeds and selling them at phenomenal prices - ranging from Rs.5,000 to Rs.50,000.
Taslim Sheikh, one of the traders and a resident of Ballimaran in central Delhi, said that depending on their budget people buy two to three goats, sometimes even more.
"It depends on their budget, but people don't mind spending, quite naturally because it's festive time. One of the breeds which is very popular is the Mewati. A goat of this breed is generally very tall and can weigh as much as 50 kg," Sheikh told IANS.
"The price depends on the weight of the goat," he added.
No wonder then that sometimes the goats are made to drink a lot of water so that they look full - rather healthy - and can fetch a better price.
Besides the Mewati, some of the other breeds being sold by the hundreds in the Jama Masjid area, Okhla and Seelampur markets in the capital are Totatpari, Alwari, Barbara and Dogla.
Most of the goats brought for sale are from places like Bulandshahr, Meerut and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh and Mewat in Haryana.
"Traders take a lot of care before selling their goats. They are brushed, garlanded and made to wear tiny bells on their feet. But the ones which are generally in very high demand are white goats or ones with a red mark," said Salim Jahan, another trader in central Delhi.
To attract more attention, some traders also resort to naming the goats after popular Hindi film actors.
Therefore a Shah Rukh here, a Salman there and a couple of Saifs around are not really uncommon to spot. Just hop by one of the markets before Eid-ul-Zuha and you will see them in hordes!
6 months ago