Gullu Butt bakra, Raja the cow and our immature Pakistani media
The end of an Islamic year is marked by the performance of Hajj, an act of submission that Allah has allocated a huge reward for. Pilgrims from across the globe stand humbly before their Lord, seeking His affection.
Days and nights are devoted in praising Him, whilst cutting oneself off from worldly desires and temptations. The end of this strenuous round of worship is marked by performing the qurbani (sacrifice) to honour Hazrat Ibrahim’s (AS) sacrifice. This is done not just by pilgrims but also by Muslims across the globe.
However, in Pakistan, Eidul Azha has a comic side as well. A side that is mostly projected by our media.
As soon as the month of Zil Hajj begins, or even before that, our TV channels become laden with goats, sheep and cows, our streets start smelling of animal fodder and cow dung, and our time is mostly spent preparing for the Eid days.
Here are some of the most common things you come across during this Eid.
The ‘Bakra Obsession’ syndrome
This trend has taken up years to flourish. Media reporters, when deprived of any worthwhile stories, land in bakra mandis (cattle market) for ‘news’ coverage.
This is how the segment comes across on live television.
News anchor to reporter:
“So how is the atmosphere there? Do you see animals around you?”
Wow, what an ingenious question! Who would’ve thought that a cattle market will have animals in it, right?
“Yes, as you can see, this market is filled with buyers and everybody is excited about Eid, particularly the kids”.
At this point, the reporter grabs a six-year-old kid passing through and begins interrogating him:
“Aap yahan bakra lene aaye hain?”
(Are you here to buy a goat?)
Another ingenious question. Bravo!
“Jee hum abbu k saath bakra lene aaye hain. Bohat maza aaraha hai”
(Yes. We are here with our father to buy a goat. We’re enjoying it a lot)
Um, cliché much?
Anyway, media persons aren’t the only ones obsessed with bakras. We find men, women and children indulging heavily with the cattle that are present around their homes. And the fact that there are exhibitions held all over the city for abnormally large buffalos and bullocks – and people from far off places come to see them – makes one understand how very common this syndrome has become in our society.
This just goes to show how we, as a people, have forgotten the essence of this Eid.
With the increasing popularity of Gullu Butt, we recently came across a bakra that was named after him – the news of which was widely circulated by our vigilant reporters.
Yes, you read it right. Gullu Butt may have made it big already, with games about him, his name added in the Oxford Dictionary as a word and his memes taking over the internet, but this newly found publicity definitely beats the rest.
The news for the Gullu Butt bakra came across something like this:
“This year the match is between Gullu Butt and Don”.
What does that even mean?
“Let’s see who’ll win the tournament.”
“The competition is really tough this time.”
I don’t even know what to say anymore.
Though the people selling these cattle are uneducated, they surely beat many graduates when it comes to effective marketing. Knowing that such names attract people and that they denote fitness and strength (albeit negatively used), these cattle farmers did what any good businessman would – they offered their product for sale and entertained their audience at the same time.
Also, perhaps these farmers understood the intellectuality (read: shallowness) of our media persons and knew that keeping such names will bring all the (media) boys to the yard. And so, the camera’s eye did catch this amazing master plan – and that too during prime time news.
Bakras weren’t the only animals they focused upon, though. There were news reports on cows and bulls as well, the most prominent one being a report on Raja. The report rolled something like this:
“Presenting to you, none other than, Raja, the cow”
“The existence of other cows is made insignificant when Raja takes the floor”, the reporter begins his report.
“With Raja in the competition now, other cows should watch out”.
After this, Raja’s diet is discussed, which is nothing less than that of a royalty, with almonds and desi ghee and what not. All this, by the way, got aired on primetime television, just to be clear.
And for all this unwanted flab of Raja, the seller asks for five lakh rupees!
Are you kidding me? Did all the nuts and ghee cost this much? We can buy cars in a lesser amount!
The “best morning shows ever”
In Pakistan, with every morning comes a new shock for viewers as our morning show hosts get more and more restless – and ruthless – to get better viewership ratings than their opponent channels. For this, their inappropriate content of routine shows finds new heights when it’s Eidul Azha.
During Eid season, you’ll see huge, lavish show sets accompanied by sheep and goats, which are bleating away, not caring about the hoopla that’s happening around them. The show host invites over celebrities for the ‘Eid special transmission’ to molest these poor, harmless animals. Every celebrity gets a bakra to decorate, with sleazy songs playing in the background, and the most rustically decorated bakra wins.
At this point, I really don’t know where to bang my head.
Eidul Azha is a sacred, religious practice that inculcates a spirit of sacrifice and sharing in the rich fraction of society. It is probably the only time of the year when poor families get to eat a plate full of meat. Projection of the right sentiment of this occasion has been diminished greatly over the past few years on television. Programmes that fortify the teaching of Islam, and Eidul Azha in particular, have reduced to a negligible amount.
The national media’s confusion between festivity and rustic jokes is evident. Dozens of senseless news reports air without serving a concrete point that could come under the banner of “news”. The people running these media houses should realise that religion and entertainment don’t make a good combination. The essence of this occasion is lost with every failed attempt of aligning entertainment with Eid. We have had enough of bakra jokes. It’s high time for the Pakistani media to behave maturely.
We wish a very happy Eid to all the Muslims out there!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.