Lalu, Nitish, Maya and Mulayam are on sale. Don’t be surprised as they are names of donkeys on sale during the five-day “Gardhabraj Mela” (donkey fair) which begins from Prabodhini Ekadashi (November 22), in Ujjain about 55 kilometre north of Indore.
Hundreds of donkeys are bought and sold, with some of them for as high as Rs 20,000 during the fair, which will continue till Kartik Purnima (November 25) on the banks of the river Kshipra.
The owners who name their donkeys after politicians and Bollywood actors believe that such names would attract buyers and fetch higher prices. Decorated in bright colours, the donkeys bearing the names of prominent politicians and film stars have become the star attraction of the fair.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, a donkey keeper, on condition of anonymity, said, “We are fond of the donkeys and give them names according to the latest trend. After recent developments in Indian politics, Nitish and Lalu are the star attractions and so we have named them likewise.”
Large number of farmers and traders from far off places of the country are visiting the donkey fair every year, which is one of the few fairs famous for donkey sale. Not only, donkeys but horses and other animals are also brought in the fair.
Commenting on how age and price of animals are settled, a trader said age and fitness play major roles apart from attractive names.
“Normally, we count the age of donkeys on the basis of the number of teeth they have. An animal with two teeth is reckoned to be three-years-old, while three teeth mean four years of age of the donkey and accordingly they are traded,” said the trader.