Goats of War

Social Commentary

Goats of War

Illustration: Akshita Monga


he chorus of bleats is accompanied by the faint thud of a subwoofer somewhere. Throw in the vegetal smell of peepal leaves, the acrid smell of urine, and this sensory overload is guaranteed to make you retch.

I’m at Govandi’s Bakra Mandi, or Goat Market, where about a thousand people have gathered to peruse a thousand more goats. The animals are being poked, prodded, fondled, and groped by a multitude of men, who are looking for signs that’ll help them zero in on that one perfect specimen they can send to Allah.