Sacrifice: Oh please don’t do this

'Why I'm Stopped?' Photo © Arghya Mitra.

Arghya Mitra is an amateur photographer. He has several distinctions to his credit including AFIAP from the Federation of International Photography (France). Wow! His works have also been exhibited in 20 countries. A hungry pair of eyeballs and an always ready lens that he has, national and international awards keep coming from photo salons.

Recently, he posted one of his captured images on facebook and tagged friends. Generally, people hate being tagged as many a times such actions cause unnecessary embarrassment. But certainly not in this case, when Arghya posted the image of an animal sacrifice. He wanted to ensure his friends see the photo, an eye-opener.

You can see that the buffalo calf (in the photo below) is tied and held by people and is about to be beheaded. Few persons are also seen lying on the ground and praying. And while posting this image, Arghya tagged his facebook friends … identifying them with one person or the other seen in the pic. This evoked mixed response. Many criticized the ritual as captured by Arghya, while some kept moving their cursors trying to figure out where do they stand in the picture (as tagged).

I was more interested in the image and I thought this must be talked about, blogged about. Arghya told me that he shot this photograph on the eve of Bengali New Year at Aambari, a remote village in Coochbehar district in India’s eastern state of West Bengal during ‘Ostomir Snan’ — a ritual performed mostly by Bengali Hindus on the eve of Basanti, another form of (Goddess) Durga Puja.

Evil of Hinduism? Photo © Arghya Mitra

The scene here is of a sacrifice offered to the Goddess by members of a family to ward off evils that have engulfed them. The shot depicts the rituals prior to beheading the calf — a cult that remains today as evils of Hinduism. This image has also been selected in the “daily dozen” for 5th week of April in National Geographic.


  1. Thanks Neeraj for this one. I think Arghya deserved it.

    Coming to this photograph, I think I was the first one to comment on it when Arghya had shared it on FB. I wrote “take it off”. It looked indeed very disturbing to ‘chicken hearted’ people like me.

    Having remarked so, I would, still not agree with Saurav that ‘I am a Hindu but I hate this aspect of Hinduism’. It’s not really about religious fanaticism alone. People across all religions and faith are killing Animals for eating. It’s more about being Non-vegetarian.

    Nevertheless, this photograph is a great piece of Art and also the killing of innocent ‘bejubaan’ animals, for whatever reason, must stop at all costs.

    Be a vegetarian by choice.

    -sanjay singh


  2. आमतौर पर लोग ऐसी प्रथाओं का परम्परा, धर्म, संस्कृति, आस्था आदि के नाम पर समर्थन करते हैं… लेकिन मैं भी इसके सख्त खिलाफ हूँ. मेरे ख्याल से इस बारे में सरकार को कोई कदम उठाना चाहिए.


  3. Dear Neeraj,

    Two in one day.

    Amazing. Dont really know how to react I am disturbed as human being & a Hindu at prevalence of such practices.

    Thank you

    Anil Kohli


  4. Neeraj Da,

    Very nicely carved story. I have learnt how to raise a structure, building it brick by brick. Thanks dada for the lesson.

    I was scared to see the pic at first instance, when Arghyada posted it. But then I saw the beautiful photography, great timing , crisp clarity, large domain, and biggest aspect of retrospection behind the pic, I liked it and rated it 10/10 on Nat Geo.

    We usually do not appreciate things which hit us hard. I am a Hindu but I hate this aspect of Hinduism.

    Actually this is no religion. It is sheer ignorance, blind following and fanaticism. Such sacrifice can never please Maa Sharda. How can one be pleased on seeing his own creation being destroyed. Wish Common sense was not so uncommon !!!!!


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