Monday, February 20, 2012

The Curse of Sheep

The ancient Kuruba Gowda community has become diversified in the modern world. Majority of the city dwelling people belonging to the community have been successfull in various professions, but still for the vast majority of people in rural Karnataka/India the profession remains Sheep rearing and wool weaving along with agriculture in small land holdings. Among the rural folk there are rich land lords as well. The glory of ancient kings and kingdoms are the stories of the past now.

Came across this interesting story told by a Kuruba Gowda, Kuruba Gowdas look after their sheep like their own children, they feed them, they shelter them from the elements, they protect them from the wild animals, some shepherds can recognise every single sheep in the herd and the sheep themselves respond to the call of the shepherd, they trust him completely and follow him everywhere. When a sheep gives birth, it is celebrated by everyone in the family. The sheep itself falls into this false sense of security, until the day of its slaughter.

The so well cared for sheep is separated from the herd on the day it is sold to the slaughter house for its meat. It keeps shouting for help as it is dragged by the Kasai(slaughter man) out of its herd and out of the village, the sheep looks at its owner whom it had trusted since its birth and who had cared for it when it was ill and catered the wounds when it was injured, but he remains a mute spectator, The other sheep in the herd look helpless and confused.

The journey of the separated sheep continues out of its home and familiar surroundings to the slaughter house thinking all the time what did it do wrong to be separated from its family, unsure of the fate awaiting it. If it is a lucky one then it will be killed by a single hack on the neck by a Hindu butcher, but the vast majority of them end up with the Muslim butchers, who in the name of their religion just slit the throat of the sheep and let it die a slow and painful death. The meat thus acquired is called "Halal" or pure meat.

Probably the time when the throat of the sheep is slit, does it realise why the shepherd was so caring and loving and curses him for the false sense of security and bond that he developed with it. That curse has remained with us for ages. from the millions and millions of sheep that has been killed.

Hence my  suggestion is that we diversify from just sheep rearing to other professions. But for sometime though sheep rearing will remain the core profession.

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