Two million cows have their heads sawn off on one morning in Bangladesh every year. The streets of Dhaka City very literally run red with blood to mark the annual Festival of Sacrifice, Eid-ul-Azha. What happens is this: well-to-do families get butchers to bring a cow over to the house and they slaughter it. The animal in its entirity is sliced up immediately. The best beef is kept by the owner, a few steaks are gifted to relatives, and the third-rate cuts are distributed among the poor, who queue up outside rich people's houses and hold out plastic bags into which they're tossed a handful of offal.

It's like Trick-or-Treat with meat!

Cattle market in the morning.

Qurbani butchers sharpening their knives

GRUESOME: This video shows the slaughter of cows and gives a good indication of the sheer volume of blood on the streets of Dhaka that day.

Gallons of blood gush out, so they usually do it on the pavement or the driveway so it can be sprayed off into the road.

You'd be surprised how much of the cow will be consumed.

Here's a queue of poor people outside a rich person's house.

This act of the rich giving to the poor is supposed to help the development of cordiality between these polarized income groups. But the whole thing has become another way by which wealthy families can show off their riches, competing over who can slaughter the biggest, most amount of cows.

As many city-dwellers return to their rural villages during Eid-ul-Azha, Dhaka becomes a ghost town. Rainy, hot and Monsoon humid.

On empty streets the occasional people you'll see are beggars carrying sack-fulls of fat and entrails, which they steal from each other and fight over. I remember the city looking like genocide had taken place and flesh-eating zombies had taken over.

These photos were taken by my dad (pictured here) on Eid-ul-Azha in Dhaka on July 2, 1990.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You sick bastard can turn anything around to make it look horrific - Poor people do not have the luxury of eating meat and this is a way and a form of charity to the poor who can't afford.