How ‘Gadhi Mai’ was nearly abolished yet discovered to be a scam

“…the difference between killing 250,000 animals and killing 2,500 is like confronting the Atlantic Canada seal hunt and the “Bunny Bop” rabbit-killing contest held annually in Harmony,  North Carolina,  from 1946 to 1967,  and the Fred C. Coleman Memorial Pigeon Shoot,  held each Labor Day in Hegins,  Pennsylvania from 1935 to 1999.” (quote slightly shortened), Merritt Clifton, Animals-24-7 .

Featured image: Overview of the 2014 Gadhi Mai sacrificial festival at Bariyarpur, Nepal. This is the Humane Society International drone photo, with enumeration by ANIMALS 24-7 editor Merritt Clifton.


The cruel Gadhi Mai festival, against which so many Westerners had been fighting, had been declared by the Animal Rights groups of India and Nepal to be abolished, by the very authorities of the Temple. Yet during the November 2014 Gadhi Mai investigation by them, they had found out a shocking scam: the number of animals killed in Bariyarpur’s Devi Temple in South Nepal was much lower than the public was made to believe for years. In fact, a few digits less! Instead of the puffed up numbers of 250,000 or even 500,000 that we had been reading and hearing from at least 2009, when Ram Bahadur Bomjon had entered the campaign, the numbers had been always actually around 2500! (It seems that where the Bomjon-Brigade steps in, scams are following them as their shadow…)

An investigation by the animal rights organization Beauty Without Cruelty had first shed light to the prolonged scam:

www.animals24-7.org/2015/02/03/beauty-without-cruelty-india-exposes-gadhi-mai-scam/

They write:

“Our meticulous investigations about the Gadhi Mai animal sacrifice threw up some significant information. But, it was only after the November 2014 sacrifice that we came to know we were not the only ones to have realized the 2009 figures had been highly exaggerated.”

As Merritt Clifton explains in the article Exposing the truth of the Gadhi mai sacrificial slaughter, the “investigation” of the 2009 Gadhi Mai religious festival (the very year when Ram Bomjon stepped in the campaign, making headlines by his “bravery” which ended with a no-show-up) had been made with an agenda to stop it, and not with the agenda to actually prove it! Thus simply nobody really cared about the numbers…

Many news articles also claimed that the 2010 attack by Ram Bomjon and his monks against 17 Madeshi men of Manaharwa, Bara District, was a retaliation of them allegedly having participated in the 2009 Gadhi Mai animal sacrifices. This claim had not been proved by any of the sides, yet even if it was true, it is a questionable justification to kidnap and beat people…

INVESTIGATING WITH AN AGENDA

“Attending with de Vries and the others were Animal Welfare Network Nepal president Manoj Gautam,  who doubles as executive director of the Jane Goodall Institute Nepal,  and volunteer Santosh Khatiwada.  Gautam and Khatiwada extensively videotaped the proceedings,  then turned the video into a six-minute documentary widely viewed on YouTube.  They did not use the video to quantify the numbers of animals and people actually involved in the Gadhi Mai sacrifices,  however,  until the first day of the 2014 Asia for Animals conference in Singapore”.

The investigation in 2014 was different: animal activists had actually sent a drone above the compound of the temple during the sacrifices, and using the aerial view and his animal rights volunteer’s count on the ground, he came to a shocking conclusion, that the numbers of animals had been much lower than all the articles about it let us believe.

ANTI-ANIMAL-SACRIFICE OR ANTI-HINDU?

The numbers had been artificially blown up to look like the “world’s largest mass animal killing” by mainly those who had some agenda to turn the public against Nepali Hindus and the Hindu religion in general, eventually to bring the attention to their “cause” from the West. As it is obvious from the conversations of Ram Bomjon followers on their Google Group,Google+and Facebook forums and most frequently in verbal interactions, these foreigners, identifying with their “guru’s” Tamang-Buddhist roots, had been provoking anti-Hindu sentiments among foreigners for years:

There had been attempts by Buddhists to hijack the anti-Gadhi Mai sentiments and reformulate them to become an anti-Hindu movement. In these efforts the black-and-white picture usually fed to foreigners feeling compassion with the animals was “compassionate Buddhists of Nepal, with Ram Bomjon (Buddha Boy) on their flag” contra “blood-thirsty, cruel, demonic Hindus”:

Buddhistchannel.tv does not think twice to reformulate the anti-animal sacrificing movement (in a great deal led by the very Hindus themselves!) into an anti-Hindu religious agenda:

Buddhists and animal rights activists against Hindu sacrifice to Gadhimai

“In Bara district, where the ‘living Buddha’ meditates, more than a million Hindus are preparing to sacrifice half a million animals during the festival of Gadhimai Mela.”

Zopa rinpocche’s site writing about ‘blood-thirsty Hindus’

A Google search reveals that practically all famous Buddhist leaders had used the Gadhi Mai to show Hinduism as a blood-thirsty cruel religion:

Gadhimai – A Holy Festival? | Tsem Rinpoche

Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche | Facebook

Hindu Indian witnesses staying or visiting Ram Bomjon (also called Dharma Sangha), had been describing negative emotions and enmity against Hinduism in his “Sangha” from the Tamang lamas as well of foreigners who had absorbed this attitude naturally, when absorbing the phenomenon of Ram Bomjon. The Gadhi Mai sacrifices had been hijacked by mainly Buddhist bomjonists for many years, to make an image of their guru as someone fighting against such cruelty with all his powers.

Yet, apart from a single speech in 2009, Ram Bomjon did not do much to stop the bloodshed of Gadhi Mai. In the 2009 Gadhi mai he failed to even show up, while his followers, hundreds of Buddhist monks organized by the famous Gyan Sagar Guru of Dounne, had risked their lives waiting for their “Buddha Boy” inside the compound! And the 2014 Gadhi Mai did not motivate him to even make a speech…

The exaggerated numbers had to attract a widespread international outrage, when foreigners caring about animals were automatically wiped inside the Bomjon-circle and encouraged to write letters to politicians and sign petitions,connecting the right cause of stopping Gadhi Mai with supporting Ram Bomjon, as the movement’s undeserving “hero”…This attempt we can see in nearly every single article dedicated to Gadhi Mai, published by Bomjon-sympathizers on the Internet.

“MANY” TRANSLATES AS “HALF A MILLION”

Another reason for the exaggerations might be as well the notorious “culture” or “tradition” on the whole Indian Subcontinent, where “thousands” or “millions” does not mean that very number, but is just another way to express “many”…Tourists and foreign residents had to learn this lesson about the inaccuracies in numbers, hard… Numbers of any type of measurements (amount, size, length, weight, power, time period) are nearly always exaggerated in Nepal. Thus Nepal happens not only to have the “world’s largest animal sacrifice” (proved to be untrue by the 2014 investigations), but also the world’s oldest and biggest tree, the world’s smallest man, etc… While travelers could speak at length about all those “five minutes from here” distances, which had been actually two hours far. When local animal rights opponents, in a prolonged shock by seeing the big amount of animals killed by their own eyes, wished to shout for help to the West, they also had a tendency to add a few digits to the actual numbers.

It does not matter that it is a lie, the important thing is that it is terrible and it should be stopped… Really?

DISPROPORTION IN EMPHASIS

Despite the vehement and fiery campaign started in 2009 at the inspiration of Ram Bomjon sympathizers,  the investigation of Nepali, Indian and Western animal rights groups in 2014 finally shows an entirely different picture than used as a starting point in 2009:

“Most of the animals killed for Gadhi Mai are buffalo:  circa 2,500.  About twice as many buffalo are killed for Gadhi Mai as the number of bulls killed in 2012 in Spanish bull rings.

Yet here in the U.S.,  Tyson Inc. kills about 2,600 steers per day — about the same number of bovines killed at the Gadhi Mai sacrifice –– and sustains that killing pace 365 days per year.

Over a five-year time frame the score is Tyson,  949,000; the Gadhimai sacrifice and Spanish bullfighting,  combined,  9,000.

Thus a reduction of just 1% in U.S. beef consumption would spare as much animal suffering as the total abolition of both the Gadhi Mai animal sacrifice and Spanish corrida.”

Although the Gadhi Mai animal sacrifices had been allegedly abolished in a joint statement of temple authorities from July 2015 in India, in the process of abolishing many animal right fighters had to realize that they had been focusing on this local tradition with much bigger vehemence as they could have done in places where much more animals are regularly being “sacrificed” to the “Western god” of consumerism…

Simply said, everyone had been fooled for years! Focusing on saving animal lives in any US meat factory they could have protected 365 times higher amount of animal lives being taken!

Here is an overview of the links which had been parroting the most overestimated numbers, dictated to them by “local” and “trustworthy” sources of the Bara District anti-Gadhi Mai activists, who happened to be always associated with ‘Buddha Boy’ in some or other way. This always happens when people are absorbing “factual information” from cults, fake gurus and any groups with a political agenda. As we can see below, even such “serious” sources like Wikipedia, BBC or Lama Zopa rinpocche, did not bother (apparently unto this day) to double-check the data about the numbers:

500 000: www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=2784

500 000: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/is-this-a-holy-festival.html

“hundreds of thousands”: Zopa rinpocche’s website http://fpmt.org/tag/vegetarianism/

250 000: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadhimai_festival

250 000: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-10776957

250 000: http://www.elitereaders.com/nepal-slaughters-thousands-animals-please-goddess-gadhimai-festival/9/

200 000: http://ens-newswire.com/2013/01/12/sacrifice-of-200000-animals-proceeds-despite-pleas-prayers-2/

20 000 and “world’s largest animal sacrifice” and “carnage”: http://gadimai.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html

THE ALLEGED SPEED OF KILLING THE ALLEGED HUGE NUMBER OF ANIMALS

Again, as in so many cases concerning Nepal (and especially in cases involving Ram Bomjon), the public,Western, Indian and Nepali, had simply accepted the exaggerated numbers of animals and the killing stamina of “Hindu butchers” in Gadhi Mai Temple, without thinking and without checking if the claims had been at all realistic, possible to carry out. They are not, and Clifton made a simple counting, to show why:

“If 250 butchers killed 10,000 buffalo in the daylight available on one November day,  they would have had to sustain a pace of five buffalo killed per hour,  for an average of 40 killed apiece.  U.S. commercial slaughterhouses did not kill cattle at that pace until the advent of mechanization.

If 150,000 smaller animals were killed at the temple,  the pace of killing would have been 312 per minute.  Fully mechanized American slaughterhouses even today kill only 140 chickens per minute,  or 45 turkeys,  with a proposal pending to increase the line speed to 175 chickens per minute,  or 55 turkeys.”

The article of Merritt Clifton is the first thorough and honest study, and is worth reading in full. After many consultations with cattle experts and considering the local realities of the place and local Nepalis, he is giving pragmatic proofs that the Gadhi Mai animal sacrifices could have never been carried out in such a scale as we had been reading on the Internet, in its most fiery versions, from “Maitriya Guru” followers on their Facebook sites, blogs, forums and own petitions. Similarly as in the case of his alleged “generous earthquake relief”, Gadhi Mai’s “atrocities” had been also hijacked by ‘Buddha Boy’ to serve his purpose of promoting popularity and extracting donations from the West. It is typical that his so-called “Sangha” (sometimes called Bodhi Shrawan Dharma Sangha) was focusing its great efforts, money and time on and issue which turned out to be a scam…  Focusing that very energy on real issues like the kidnappings, beatings and tortures of people by their guru, they could have done much more useful acts of humanity.

HOW TO SAY YES AND NO THE SAME TIME

One European Buddhist friend told me, he was always irritated when Nepalis answered a question with a head-movement which was neither bowing for “yes”, nor turning the head for “no” – it was the combination of the two, resembling the head-movements of skilful Karnataka traditional dancers… This Nepali (and Indian) habit to express yes-and-no in the same answer makes many Westerners confused… To say “yes” and “no” in the same time is a special tradition in Nepal.

Besides of the shocking revelations about the exaggerated number of killed animals, it is still a great attainment that the bloody sacrifice had been abolished. But was it really? Some articles appearing in Nepal had denied the news, citing the very same temple authorities who had signed the agreements:

Reported animal sacrifice ban at Gadhimai was ‘forced’  (August 6, 2015, MyRepublica)

www.myrepublica.com/society/story/25385/gadhimai-trust-dismisses-reports-on-animal-sacrifice-ban.html

www.animals24-7.org/2015/07/30/did-the-gadhi-mai-temple-trust-renege-on-deal-to-quit-animal-sacrifice/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33699136 (Did Nepal temple ban animal sacrifices at Gadhimai festival?)

In the same time there are many news confirming and re-confirming the abolition of animal sacrifice in Gadhi Mai in the future:

https://archive.is/l80a2 (Main priest appeals for slaughter-free rituals, Ekantipur.com, 29 July 2015)

Gadhimai – a bloodbath no more

How we stopped the massacre of animals at Gadhi Mai

Victory! Animal Sacrifice Banned at Nepal’s Gadhimai Festival…

Gadhi Mai sacrifices stopped

Read the entire study here: www.animals24-7.org/2014/10/03/seeking-the-truth-of-the-gadhi-mai-sacrificial-slaughter/

 


 

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