Shah Rukh and Salman have no takers!
There aren't too many takers for Salman and Shah Rukh in Jaipur this Eid because at Rs.75,000 and Rs.125,000 they are way too expensive - and the tsunami prevents people from spending too much, even if it is for star sacrificial goats.
With Eid-ul-Zuha only a day away on Friday, the mood is distinctly downbeat at the animal market, which normally does business of Rs.60-80 million (about $1.5 million) and sells 6,000-10,000 goats and sheep in the week before the festival.
But this year is different, with the tsunami tragedy casting its shadow on the festivities and people reluctant to celebrate lavishly.
The result: Shah Rukh and Salman, who have been carefully readied as goats for slaughter, are going a-begging even a day before Eid.
"The centre of attraction of this year are two goats, Salman and Shah Rukh, whose prices are as high as Rs.75,000 and Rs.125,000 respectively," said Abdul Aziz Qureshi of the Jaipur Meat Merchants Association, lamenting that business was not as it should be at this time of year.
Said Haji Mohammad Yousuf: "I wanted to buy two goats and spend Rs.1,500 to Rs.2,500. But now I have decided to buy only one and give an equal amount to the tsunami victims."
Added Ismail Bhai: "I have cut down on celebrations as I want to give something for the people who have been badly hit by nature's fury."
This has directly impacted on the 10,000 odd goat sellers from all over Rajasthan who come here every year to sell their animals for the festival.
Said Shyam Lal Kumar, who travelled to Jaipur with his menagerie hoping to make some good money: "I expected substantial growth in business this year because of good rains in parts of Rajasthan, but that has not happened."
The price of a goat or sheep depends on their health. And the 'slaughter traders' spend a substantial amount of money in fatting them up six to eight months before Eid-ul-Zuha, also known as Bakr Eid. The animals are fed with milk fat and other delicacies in the hope that it will be compensated by their high selling price.