Animal Sacrifice

Religious fairs

Animal sacrifice is a very ancient practices. Primitive humans compared god to humans: “after all god created humans in his image” who needed appeasement with all kind of gifts including animal and even human sacrifice. They believed that these gods will grant them out of turn favors; even if they did not deserve them. This belief system is prevalent even today in nearly all parts of the world and in most religions.

During the summer season, most of the villages in Maharashtra celebrate annual religious fairs in the name of some or other local God or Goddess. These carnivals serve as an occasion for entertainment and community get-together.  Height of the festivities is generally animal sacrifice, which reminds us of barbaric behavior of ancient times. But even in these modern times, vested interests encourage the traditional rituals under the guise of religious practices and cultural occasion only to satisfy their commercial interests.

Most of the communities in Maharashtra have their local deity to worship and these communities believe in worshiping them annually so that no harm will be caused to the community and individual as long as they follow the traditions set up in the past. One of the heinous traditions followed by the communities is animal sacrifice. Occasionally a well-built buffalo is offered but generally a sheep or cock is butchered in front of the temple, in some temples a piece is offered to the idol and a portion is given to the priest. and his family, whereas the remaining is cooked and consumed with family and friends. This is known as fulfilling a Vow ‘Navas’ a in Marathi.

Basically the belief that if you offer something to God, God in return will take care of you is itself a myth. This kind of myth forces poor people to spend lot of money and hardship unnecessarily which otherwise can be used for medical expenses, nutritious food, clothing and to educate the children. The conditions in which the meat of the sacrificed animal is cooked is unhygienic. The billions of Rupees  wasted in this way can be utilized in many ways to improve basic infrastructure like cleanliness and sanitation etc. in and around the temples and to fund programs to alleviate poverty of the beggars begging for alms around the temples and fund basic education so that these poor people can earn their livelihood honestly. MANS knows that all over the world millions of animals are killed every day for consumption as food. We oppose the practice because human beings need not sacrifice animals in the name of god to satisfy their vanity. The great saint ‘Gadge baba’ and many other saints have denounced this practice and proclaimed it as a ‘sin’.

Efforts by MANS

We also oppose the sacrifice of goats during the Ed festival. Instead of sacrificing goats we have given an alternative by offering ones own blood as a sacrifice. This program was started in colaboration with the ‘Muslim Satyashodhak Samaj’ to offer their ‘most beloved blood’ by organizing blood donation camps during this Bakri Id festival. This blood donation program was started in Pune by late Dr. Narendra Dabholkar and now has been emulated by many other chapters in many cities and towns all over Maharashtra.

Our activists face lot of opposition while campaigning against animal sacrifice. Persons whose livelihood is at stake start opposing the good intentions and efforts. The local rowdies try all their best to discourage our activists and even threaten them. They question about the posters arguing that the posters are hurting the religious feelings. The cronies of the priest even instigate the local youths who come in a group and start behaving as though the local deity has possessed them.

MANS has all the while opposed the practice since animal sacrifice has never served any purpose. However though the courts have again and again stressed to stop animal sacrifice in public places, the police authorities are unable to implement the order since there is no support from the society. Our organisation tries to bring awareness and to educate the community in this regard by arranging lectures, poster exhibitions, processions, etc.