Srinagar: Pappu Mandal from Bihar has been selling ice cream in the Kashmir valley for nearly two decades now.
He never misses a chance to feed ice cream and fruits to the sacrificial animals at the Eidgah ground in the old city ahead of Eid-ul-Adha.
Whenever he gets some free time from selling ice-creams, he rushes to feed the sheep and goats at Eidgah.
Pappu says feeding the sacrificial animals gave him inner happiness and that people should celebrate all festivals irrespective of the religion they belonged to.
“For God, all are equal. We too should not discriminate in the name of religion. The occasion of Bakr Eid is approaching and I come here every year to feed the sheep and goats. I like spending time with these ‘Qurbani’ animals as it gives me inner happiness. I feed them grass and sometimes ice cream and fruits. If we can enjoy ice cream, these animals too should sometimes be given it,” Pappu told The Kashmir Monitor.
He said he will continue to feed the sacrificial animals as long as he stayed in the Valley.
“These days, I sell ice cream around Eidgah ground only. Whenever I do not have customers, I rush to play with or feed these sheep and goats. I have been working in Kashmir for the past 18-19 years and I will continue to do so as long as I live here,” he said.
Pappu’s love for sacrificial animals has impressed the sheep sellers at Eidgah.
“Pappu is a Hindu but he joins our festivities and we feel happy whenever he comes here. We feel happier when he tends to our sheep and goats. He gets grass for them and sometimes also gives the animals fruits and ice cream. Animals too recognize him now,” said Danish, a sheep seller at Eidgah.
Pertinently, Eidgah ground is the center for buying sacrificial sheep and goats in the summer capital and one can come across scores of sellers these days ahead of Eid-ul-Adha.
Eid-ul-Adha is being celebrated on June 10 and the festivities usually last for three days in Kashmir.
Mehraj-ud-din Ganie, general secretary of the All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association, said over 1,75,000 sheep had already been brought to the Valley and more trucks were on the way.
“To date, 800 trucks carrying around 1,75,000 sheep have already arrived in Kashmir and more are on the way. Maximum sales happen 2-3 days before Eid,” he said.