Barely 30 KM from the national capital is a dingy colony in Dhauj, Faridabad called Sadiq Nagar, but more famous by the name of the community of people inhabited, Qalandar or Madari. Qalandars originally were nomads perhaps from present day Panipat region of Haryana, who accepted Islam centuries ago. They earned their living either by spreading across the country and showing plays of monkeys, or some magical tricks (Madari) or many others turned Fakirs and begged for food.
As you enter the colony, abject poverty of the people living and their hopelessness is what strikes you at first. With government restrictions now on using animals most Madaris have simply been rendered jobless. “We don’t go to urban areas much anymore but show monkey dance in rural areas,” says 65 year old Ishteyaque. On a good day they earn an estimate Rs 100.
Ishteyaque at his still uncomplete house in Sadiq Nagar, Faridabad.
Festivals are important occasions for them. Eid ul Adha, particularly becomes a day of feast for them as they get meat to eat in abundance thanks to the Islamic obligation of sharing sacrificial meat with poor Muslims. On regular days, mutton costs Rs 400 per KG while even buffalo meat is no less than Rs 150 per KG beyond the reach of poor Indians. On the days of Eid they can have this important source of protein for free.
Eid ul Adha shall be celebrated across India on October 6. Udhiya or Qurbani of animals, allowed by Shariat, is offered on the occasion in reverence of the traditions of Prophet Ibraheem’s (Abraham). The ritual of sacrificing animals was common in most ancient culture and is practiced even in most religions in different variations.
However, it is not the size of the animal, the price, etc that matters, but the intent of submission and sacrifices to the will of the God. Allah says in the Qur’aan: ‘It is not their flesh nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches him’ (22:37).
Rich Muslims/ NRI:
Although exact distribution is not necessary it is generally recommended to keep one-third for oneself, gift one-third to friends & family and give one-third as charity. However, believers who are rich and offer several animals in Qurbani often send all or the large portion of meat to orphanages or to poor and needy.
At a hut in Faridabad, Haryana
Believers abroad, mainly from the West, who find it difficult to offer Qurbani in their respective place of residence, often donate money for Qurbani to be offered in their names and its meat distributed among poor and needy in developing countries. There are several Muslim organizations based in USA, UK and other European countries who collect money and get the collective Qurbani done through their sister organizations in different part of the country.
UK based Islamic Relief Worldwide, USA based Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC), and other similar organizations have been doing this work for years. According to the Islamic Relief website, in 2013 alone over 2.1 million people in 30 countries “benefitted from Qurbani meat” due to contributions from their donors.
Similarly, IMRC last year with the help of their sister organizations performed over 4200 Qurbani and reached out to over 500,000 beneficiaries. These organizations also help hold community Iftar during Ramadan. Hyderabad-based Sahayata Trust is the India partner of the IMRC through which money collected is distributed among different coordinators spread across the country to locate needy people and Qurbani meat distributed among them The meat distribution program of IMRC/Sahayata Trust currently covers 17 states in India: West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa in the east, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan in the west, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the north and Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala in the south and Assam and Manipur in North east.
Flood affected areas in Odisha.
Waheed Qureshi, Manager of Sahayata Trust and National Coordinator of the Qurbani programme, explained to TwoCircles.net that team of volunteers across the country manages the whole operation of slaughter and distribution among the needy. Every volunteer in the states is provided with amount in equation to number of cattle to be sacrificed in a particular area, decided based on the poverty indicators. “The volunteer procure the cattle, oversee its proper slaughter and then identify and distribute the meat to the people living in extreme poverty,” Qureshi said.
Manipur’s coordinator for IMRC Raees Ahmed told TCN over phone that in last 2 years they have distributed the Qurbani meat and served Iftar to around 25000 people, adding that this year their aim to reach out to at least 6 villages.
According to Sahayata Trust beneficiaries of this scheme especially in rural hinterlands, are those people who live in extreme poverty with hand to mouth existence or sometimes even worse, for whom buying meat is a luxury, like the Qalandars of Dhauj
As the TwoCircles.net visited Dhauj, the Haryana Coordinator of the scheme Mohammad Safi, principal of Iqra Public School, who voluntarily helps in the slaughter of cattle and the distribution of meat, explained that the sacrifice in a a particular area depends on the amount of money available and cultural sensitivity of those localities. For example buffaloes are sacrificed in Mewat and Faridabad region, while in Ambala they only offer goats for Qurbani, he said.
Phulo with her daughter.
With the help of local volunteers they make packets of meat and distribute them among the poorest people. In Saidq Nagar, 60 year old Phulo, and 36 year old Pradhan (Headman) of the community Ladla confirmed to us that they had got the packets of meat last year and hoped that they soon have another feast.
(Mohd Ismail Khan interviewed Waheed Qureshi for this article in Hyderabad.)