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Drought saves sacrificial goats in Bihar


Patna : The drought in Bihar has come as a blessing in disguise for hundreds of goats. Many financially-battered people are not slaughtering them during Durga Puja and Dussehra.

After the devastating floods last year, an acute drought now is forcing people in rural areas to celebrate the festivals without fanfare.

Many of them are in fact still battling the after effects of the 2008 floods that left hundreds dead and destroyed houses of over three million people.

It is part of tradition to sacrifice goats to mark the festivals but fewer animals were bought for slaughter this time.

“We decided not to sacrifice a goat in view of the drought,” said Munna Singh, a villager in Aurangabad, one of 26 districts declared drought hit by the government.

Scanty rainfall has virtually destroyed the rice crops of Munna Singh and other farmers.

Ram Mohan Sharma, a villager in Jehanabad, another affected district, told IANS: “The drought has saved the animals.”

Both Munna Singh and Sharma used to sacrifice goats each year in a bid to appease the gods. Now they lack the money to buy goats. And they are not the only ones.

All across Bihar’s sprawling drought-hit region, there are similar stories.

The festivities have gone low key in Saharsa, Madhepura, Supaul, Araria and Purnea districts.

“A few people did offer the customary animal sacrifice,” said Bhagwan Bhaskar, a resident of Gaya district. But he noted that their number was minimal.

He said that in Magadh region, comprising five drought-affected districts, the number of animals sacrificed was hardly 10 percent of the usual quota.

Bihar recorded a rainfall deficit of 21 percent this monsoon. The situation improved following rains in August.