Traditions are pots of happiness and togetherness. Traditions are intended to be a commemoration of pleasure and joy, an occasion that unites people rather than inflicting the deaths of helpless, innocent creatures and leaving a select few wretched and lonely for the rest of their lives. A newspaper recently published an article inviting people to engage in the ‘cruelty’ custom of the ‘Gadhimai festival’.
The Gadhimai Temple in the Bara area of Nepal hosts the greatest animal sacrifice in the world once every five years in our nation. This ritual has been done in Nepal for a long time and is nothing more than inhumane treatment disguised as tradition. Innocent and vulnerable lives are lost. Countless defenseless creatures meet their horrible fate every year due to religious dogma, which is irrational in and of itself. We, as humans, should be sensible enough to discontinue something that causes nothing but misery. Giving something the name of ‘tradition’ doesn’t make it right in any way. Despite the country’s reputation for being a devoutly religious and spiritual nation, many Nepali people are guilty of treating animals cruelly. The mistreatment of animals is especially prevalent in urban areas, where pets and livestock are often kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions.
All in the name of ‘tradition’, animals are then brutally murdered. Torture and murdering helpless animals should not be considered a tradition. People have long attempted to rationalize heinous acts by citing tradition. Tradition, on the other hand, does not make anything correct. Gadhimai festival is a barbaric blood “culture” that should have been abandoned to the annals of history long ago. It is a torture, mutilation, and slaughter of animals for amusement and thrill, according to many, regardless of its history.
Thousands of buffaloes are slain in the hope of bringing prosperity and putting a stop to sin. Isn’t the act of murdering animals itself evil? If we are the cause of evil, how can it eradicate it and offer wealth to us? No religion endorses the practice of animal sacrifice. Hindu religious scriptures even state ‘love others, serve others, aid others, hurt never’ as the foundation of religion. Animal sacrifice is not a religious practice; rather, it is a societal atrocity that is rooted in myths and goes against the teachings of Hinduism, which uphold the principle of non-violence.
Hinduism’s central tenet is the idea that God dwells within every living thing, even vulnerable animals. Giving these barbaric acts the label of ‘religion and tradition’ is thus an act of human folly and lack of self-awareness.
The use of animals for entertainment purposes is also a problem in Nepal. Elephants, in particular, are often subjected to cruel treatment in order to entertain tourists. Many elephants are kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions, and are subjected to physical abuse in order to make them perform tricks. Stray animals are another group that are often subjected to cruelty in Nepal. Stray dogs, in particular, are often beaten, kicked, and thrown stones at by people who see them as a nuisance.
There are also reports of people poisoning stray dogs in order to get rid of them. Despite these issues, there are also many individuals and organizations working to combat animal cruelty in Nepal. Animal Nepal, for example, is a non-profit organization that works to improve the welfare of animals in Nepal through education, advocacy, and direct care. Similarly, the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre provides medical care and shelter to stray dogs and other animals in need.
According to me, we as a society should come up with an alternative for this extremely cruel act named tradition. People in the city can arrange a fair where people can come dressed up as any historic figures they like and hold campaigns or acts in the same area to attract media attention. It also gives a fantastic chance to raise awareness about the suffering that animals endure during religious events. It allows us to reach out to those who are unaware of the cruelty that occurs during these festivals. The fair will give people a joyful, fun-filled alternative to these events that is devoid of brutality. Those who wish to celebrate are welcome to attend the fair and give their contribution to the cause. This can be done every year and will fulfill all the requirements that a tradition needs to have, i.e.; a sense of togetherness and joy.
Overall, the practice of killing animals for the sake of religion should be discouraged and outlawed. Animals are living entities with the ability to act, and as such, have the same rights as us, human beings. Respect should be shown for their right to coexist peacefully with others and the environment. Never will a god call for the blood of one of his creations. Animal sacrifices are a primitive, evil, and purely superstitious tradition. Animal torture committed in the name of superstitions and rituals cannot be justified by religion. Making the lives of innocent people unhappy and hurting animals for your amusement is an act of selfishness and cruelty, and calling it tradition doesn’t make it acceptable. While animal cruelty remains a serious issue in Nepal, there are also signs of progress and hope for the future. By raising awareness of the issue and supporting organizations that work to protect animals, it is possible to make a difference and improve the lives of animals in Nepal. As indicated above, the alternative will help people unify while also serving the objective of raising awareness against animal abuse. Let’s make it a tradition, and let’s do it right this time.
Ananya Shri Mundara
Grade 11, Pathways World School