Eid smells like peas pulao this year

Eid smells like peas pulao this year

In Yogi Adityanath’s Absurdistan, closed abattoirs have killed the festivities of Ramzan and Eid for the faithful who’ve fasted all month and are now geared up for the big day.

By Khabar Lahariya

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Gosht dekhne ko nahi mila is Ramzan, ki hota kaisa hai? (Didn’t even get to see meat this Ramzan, how does it look, how does it taste?)” Noorjehan in Jhansi is as exasperated as her family, her neighbours, and her entire tribe who’ve been fasting during the holy month of Ramzan with rigour and devotion.

With Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordering a shutdown of illegal slaughterhouses in one of his earliest Cabinet meetings, the situation in the state has been dismal for those whose livelihoods and lifestyles depend and thrive on meat.

All abattoirs, irrespective of the number of generations employed in the business, have suffered due to the government’s “drive for hygiene”.

A slaughterhouse owner, Dheeraj from Nariyapur village, told Khabar Lahariya in May, “I took a loan to get glass windows and concrete tiles installed all over my shop, but it wasn’t even considered a necessary feature for my licence.”

Jeetu Khateek, the president of the meat and fish trader’s union in Jhansi, expressed his anger over his interaction with the Uttar Pradesh CM. “He was looking at me as if I was from another planet,” Khateek said.

With a long fasting month coming to a close, the lack of real meat at iftar has dimmed the festivities. The absence of meat has adversely affected businesses and people’s enthusiasm around Eid.

Shahnaz, a meat shop owner, says, “We haven’t earned enough all this while, how can we plan a big Eid?” Meat plays a central role in weddings, parties, and especially Eid. “Meat nahi hai, toh kuch bhi nahi hai, yeh samajh lo (If there’s no meat, there’s nothing, that’s all there is to understand),” he said.

Jaitun begum, a Jhansi resident, who had to cook “matar ke chawal” this Eid, asks point-blank, “What will we feed the guests?”  “You can’t expect aloo-puri at weddings now, can you?” she said.

Jhansi residents asked if this crackdown is “sabka saath, sabka vikaas” as the government has promised during elections campaigns.

Khabar Lahariya is a rural, video-first digital news organisation, with an all-women network of reporters in 8 districts of Uttar Pradesh.