Gadhimai: The Children

Nonviolence should be redefined to include not only killing, but also causing injury physically, mentally or emotionally–even in the most subtle ways. We can injure ourselves, we can injure our environment, we can injure nature’s other creatures and thus be a source of pain and sorrow. Or we can live a harmless life and be a source of healing and joy.

If children are raised as vegetarians, every day they are exposed to noninjury as a principle of peace and compassion. Every day they are growing up, they are remembering and being reminded to not kill. They won’t even kill another creature to feed themselves. And if you won’t kill another creature to feed yourself, then when you grow up you will be much less likely to injure people.

Extract from The Hindu Ethic of Non-Violence

This will most likely be my final comment for the time being concerning the Gadhimai Festival unless there is more news and campaign information regarding this festival or the other events that occur in Nepal involving animal sacrifice.

There is one issue concerning this barbarity that has not been mentioned much at all as far as I am aware and that is the effect this festival of cruelty may have had on the children who attended.

As more and more images of the Gadhimai festival have emerged along with harrowing accounts of the suffering of thousands of helpless animals most people worldwide myself included were horrified by the appalling cruelty to helpless animals. I was also quite shocked by the number of people who attended, which has been estimated to be between 2 to 5 million.

Also extremely disturbing is the number of children who accompanied their families as though this was some sort of carnival.

The brutal slaughter of gentle and helpless animals is not the sort of thing that most normal people would condone, attend or take their children to see.

Which brings me to an issue of great concern in addition to the savage brutality towards defenceless animals, namely that of  the psychological damage to children exposed to this display of unparalleled depraved madness and religious frenzy – though the mainstream religion of Hinduism has little to do with this insanity of superstitious dread – an event that should long ago have been consigned to history.

Such horrific displays of violence as children watch helpless animals being hacked to death and decapitated normalizes killing and desensitizes children to the suffering of the other creatures with whom we share this world.

Children attend the hideous barbarity of unbridled cruelty

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Photo from Aljazeera:
More information and more photographs of children attending the massacre
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2014/11/pictures-nepal-slaughter-festi-2014112810313769574.html

23908DD500000578-2852739-image-44_1417193879746

Photo Daily Mail
More information and more shocking photos of Gadhimai
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2852739/Nepal-devotees-sacrifice-thousands-animals-Hindu-ritual.html

Though there is little mention of children attending the festival it is clearly obvious that they did so.

The Gadhimai festival is not only a hideous form of extreme animal abuse it also involves child abuse as children attend and watch the cruel slaughter by beheading of helpless creatures.

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Though those who attend the festival may not view it this way, but surely exposing children to such violence is nothing less than child abuse. The festival must have traumatised the  children who attended. I wonder how many children wake screaming in the night as a result of this horrific violence which they witnessed before their very eyes.

Read about the damaging effects to children who witness animal abuse.

Hurt an animal, hurt a child

New research shows that animal abuse puts children at risk of being affected by disabling disorders…

The extract below refers to the book The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence, new research by 35 accademics edited By Professor Andrew Linzey

“A piece of research brought to light in this book is the domino effect of animal abuse and cruelty. It starts when we, as adults, disrespect, neglect, abuse or harm an animal. By doing so, we are unknowingly guiding children on to a slippery slope that can ultimately affect their mental health. The process begins with desensitisation or loss of feeling, whereby children become able to witness the neglect, hurting, harming or killing of an animal and yet remain indifferent.

The second step is when children become accustomed to the pain and suffering they witness and become habituated. Habituation to neglect and cruelty means that it has become a routine part of their lives.

Importantly, desensitisation directly opposes the crucial development in early childhood of empathy. Understanding the nature of empathy is critical to our understanding of how animal cruelty affects children. Empathy is the ability to feel with another person. It is the precursor to sympathy and sympathetic behaviour. Social workers and psychologists regard empathy as an indicator of healthy emotional development in children and adults. It is believed to be the vital “ingredient” upon which socially competent, cohesive, integrated, cooperative, sustainable and peaceful communities are built.

In contrast, lack of empathy leads to dehumanisation because it stunts children’s emotional development so that their potential as emotionally mature adults is not realised.

What becomes clear from The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence is that scientists now suggest that animal abuse, because of its potential to damage emotional development, is a form of child abuse that can lead to lifelong disability, including impaired ability to learn, inability to build or maintain satisfactory social relationships, inappropriate behaviour and/or feelings and depression.”

Read More:
http://mg.co.za/article/2010-11-30-hurt-an-animal-a-child

How many of these innocent children will be psychologically damaged for life, possibly suffer post traumatic stress disorder PTSD.

Here is what a witness to the 2009 Gadhimai festival said:

As director of the Indian branch of Humane Society International, I have spent many years campaigning to end this slaughter, and I’m about to witness it in Nepal myself. The footage I have viewed over the years has haunted me. I have seen terrified animals corralled into the festival site. One by one they have their roped heads yanked down, their kicking hind legs restrained, and then their heads sliced off with a machete. Others are so exhausted from travelling hundreds of miles to the festival without food or water, that they simply languish even as all around them buffaloes and goats are being decapitated. I have even seen calves trying to nuzzle comfort from the severed heads of their mothers lying on the ground.

The people carrying out this brutal sacrifice are farmers and factory workers, all hoping that this bloodshed will bring them prosperity from the Hindu goddess Gadhimai. The sights and sounds are unimaginable. Pools of blood, animals bellowing in pain and panic, wide-eyed children looking on, devotees covered in animal blood, and some people even drinking blood from the headless but still warm carcasses.”

Jayasimha Nuggehalli, director of the Indian branch of the Humane Society International.
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/nov/25/nepal-setting-out-to-challenge-the-worlds-largest-animal-sacrifice

Here is an example of the exposure of a five year old child asked to pray to Gadhimai

GADHIMAI , NOV 29 – Five minutes before buffaloes began to be slaughtered at the Gadhimai fair, five-year-old Bir Bahadur’s mother Ajay Kumari rushed with him into the slaughter field and asked him to kneel, fold his hands and pray in front of one of the larger buffaloes.

During the previous Gadhimai Fair in 2009, Ajay Kumari, who was childless, came to the temple and promised to sacrifice a buffalo if she were blessed with one. “Just a few months later, I was pregnant with my first child,” said his mother. “So I came here to thank the goddess.”

A few hours before the sacrifices began, Swami Agnivesh, president of the World Council of Arya Samaj, arrived at the temple where he staged a fast. After a few hours he was escorted to a temporary security camp. “You see children as young as five pulling little calves into the field. Just think of what we are teaching children and the impact this has on them,” said Swami Aginvesh.

Thousands of men, women and children gathered to watch over 400 butchers, who were lined up around the field as the pre-sacrificial ritual began at 2am. “I get this strange kind of energy when I am on the slaughter field. I don’t feel remorse—not at all. I just feel lucky that I am pleasing the Goddess, It’s a part of our culture,” said 38-year-old Yadav Kumar, one of the butchers who has participated in three previous slaughters.

Read more:
http://www.ekantipur.com/2014/11/29/top-story/sacrifices-despite-widespread-objections/398286.html

Note thanks to the Indian government 10,000 animals were spared this horrific death

According to Gauri Maulekhi, Indian rights activist who had filed the petition, a number of buffaloes were confiscated at the Nepal-India border by the Armed Border Forces. While they were yet to get an official count of the animals confiscated, she estimated it to be 10,000.

http://www.ekantipur.com/2014/11/29/top-story/sacrifices-despite-widespread-objections/398286.html

For the sake of helpless animals and innocent children please make sure this massacre or anything like it never happens again.

Suggested Actions

Please send a message to the Nepalese government if you have not already done so.
http://action.ciwf.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=119&ea.campaign.id=33634&ea.tracking.id=2d57aea1

If you want to send a message using your own e-mail or write letters click the following link for addresses:
https://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/in-memory-of-the-helpless-animals-sacrificed-at-the-gadhimai-festival/comment-page-1/#comment-1986  using your own e-mail or letters you could make reference to the effect the violence towards helpless animals not only effects the unfortunate animals but also how the brutality impacts on the emotional wellbeing of children exposed to such cruelty.

It might be an idea to alert children’s charites/advocates to the Gadhimai festival and the exposure of children to animal cruelty mentioning also the fact that animal sacrifice occurs at other times as evidenced by the film which you can view further down. Warning!  this film contains extremely distrubing images

Save Children
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/

Unicef:
http://www.unicef.org/crc/

http://www.unicef.org.uk/UNICEFs-Work/UN-Convention/

Time to call upon the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child to protect Nepalese children from the psychological impact caused by exposure to violence against animals in the Gadhimai festival and other occasions where animal sacrifice is involved.

Please sign the following petition:

Stop the Gadhimai Festival
https://secure.avaaz.org/fr/petition/Le_President_le_Premier_Ministre_et_le_Ministre_du_Tourisme_du_Nepal_Empecher_la_prochaine_edition_du_Gadhimai_Festival_/

This is just so extremely graphic that I hesitated to include it and do so merely to establish that animal sacrifice in Nepal takes place at others times other than the Gadhimai Festival and like the Gadhimai festival is attended by children. This video is age restricted

Animal sacrifice in Bhaktapur Square, Kathmandu, Nepal. Argued as a mainstream part of Nepali culture and Hindu culture. The ceremony in fact does ask for animal’s agreement to sacrifice – through man’s interpretation anyway – with signal that animal shakes its head! More on http://nepal-travelandphotography.blo…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok_Aov4Nnyg

 

Related information

The diary of two animal welfare campaigners at the world’s biggest ritual slaughter

Though the presence of children is not specifically mentioned in this article as you can see from the photograph there were a good number of children present

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 http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/dec/05/the-diary-of-two-animal-welfare-campaigners-at-the-worlds-biggest-ritual-slaughter

Gadhimai is not the only time that animals are sacrificed or the only ocassion of such cruelty attended by children

Animal Sacrifice Has No Place in Space-Age India

india-animal-sacrifice

Notice the children in attendance

“Technology, industry, economic growth, Mars mission, animal sacrifice. Spot the odd one out.

Though animal sacrifice remains common in Hindu temples and during the Islamic holiday Bakri-Eid, an increasing number of Indians believe that animal sacrifice, like sati (widow burning) and human sacrifice, has no place in modern India.

Earlier this week, supporters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) India and the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) gathered outside the Embassy of Nepal in Delhi, the palms of their hands raised and painted blood red.

The protest was designed to urge Nepal to ban animal sacrifice before the upcoming Gadhimai Festival, scheduled to take place in November where an estimated 500,000 buffaloes, pigs, chickens, pigeons and other animals will be killed in the name of Hinduism.”

“Many Hindus believe animal sacrifice contradicts the Hindu principle of ahimsa (non-violence), while Muslims who oppose sacrifice often point out that humane treatment of animals is required by the Qu’ran.”

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/animal-sacrifice-has-no-place-space-age-india-1470505

Extracts from

Tackling Ritualistic Animal Sacrifice: The Need For Inculcating Empathy

During the slaughter, animals are subjected to watching their own kind being murdered in large numbers. The image of a calf trembling near his butchered mother’s body is one I will never be able to forget. The terror in their eyes is unmistakable. Many animals are killed after multiple attempts because everyone is welcome to swing their weapons at the helpless animals.

Perverse pleasure derived from viewing slaughter

Human behaviour at this bloodthirsty ‘festival’ is also deplorable. People climb on to the walls of the slaughter field to watch the killings as though it is a grand spectacle. When buffaloes try to stand up in vain after being hit by a butcher, it serves as a source of great amusement for the crowds. Children can be seen carrying the bodies of family goats with whom they played just a few minutes before the slaughter.

To me this reflects nothing other than utter depravity and yet for several attendees it is part of the ‘routine’. What is funny about watching a buffalo calf defecate in the anxiety of his imminent violent death?

Read More:
http://www.huffingtonpost.in/urvashi-prasad/tackling-ritualistic-anim_1_b_6377644.html

The following article was written before the 2014 Gadhimai festival, it has some interesting observations.

GADHIMAI FESTIVAL: HARVEST OF BLOOD

The question is not about better welfare practices for ritual animal sacrifices, but whether the time has come to abolish this primitive tradition altogether, saysRUKMINI SEKHAR

“In blind darkness are we sunk when we offer sacrifices with beasts.

A higher religious duty than ahimsa has never been nor shall be.”

— The Panchatantra

“I argue that the animal rights movement must simultaneously be a moral crusade and a social movement that pursues a strategy combining idealistic objectives of abolition with pragmatic goals of embedding the values of animal rights into public policy.” — Kim Stallwood, scholar, and Deputy CEO of Minding Animals International

As I write this piece, I doubt if I can even remotely match the horrors of what will happen on November 27and 28 around a small temple in Bariyapur in Bara district, southern Nepal, across the Indian borders of northern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.Within this temple, sits the blood-thirsty Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power. Every five years she presides over the largest ritual animal sacrifice in the world, a bizarre orgy of blood surrounded by the decapitated heads of nearly five lakh animals. In what can only be described as an unparalleled depraved madness, crazed by archaic ritualistic frenzy, lakhs of water buffaloes, calves, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, pigeons and even mice are slaughtered within a three-km radius of the temple, after which the goddess, gorged with blood, rests for another five years till it begins all over again. The divine female principle, gentle mother and nurturer, has been turned into a ruthless blood-sucking ogress. The festival begins in late November to go on for a month.

Read More:
http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/agenda/for-a-cause/gadhimai-festival-harvest-of-blood.html

 

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