The Facebook haat

Ahmed Shatil Alam and Muhammad Ibrahim Ibne Towhid talk with the admins of a Facebook group that is entirely dedicated to providing information to online users about the various haats of the country

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One of the most exciting activities of Eid-ul-Azha is to check out the sacrificial animals bought by neighbours. Some of the biggest or most expensive sacrificial animals tend to become the topic of discussions during these times.

This time, the bull that has created much hype in the social media is Sultan. This red American Brahma, with a weight of 1,100 kilogrammes, has been brought from Texas. It has already been bought by the owner of a renowned conglomerate of the country at a price of Tk 16 lakhs from a Dhaka-based agro firm called Sadeeq Agro. The buzz about the topic was created by a facebook group called Bangladesh er Gorur Haatt or BDGH in short.

BDGH is a facebook-based community through which people can learn about the latest trends related to sacrificial animal purchase from the various haats of the country. The initiative was actually the brainchild of the page’s admin Zebrul Hossain.

Since childhood, Hossain had always been fascinated by the animals making the news during Eid. As he went abroad for academic purposes, he missed visiting the haats. He then came up with the idea of opening a platform from where people can share the updates and their experiences of the cattle market.

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The Qurbani haat runs for about a month or so. But the preparation of the animals to be sold there begins four months earlier. As different markets sit in different places, people always want to know about the market where they can buy an animal of their choice at the best possible price. Also, prices fluctuate at different hours of the day and night and this is why it is difficult to make an assessment about the prices, till one is physically present in these markets.

BDGH does all these things for you, while turning the information into entertainment. The group opened in 2015 has a member of more than 28,000 in just two years. This is the largest cattle related facebook group, so far.

The core members of the group are Faisal Ahmed Chowdhury, Imtiaz Rabib, Taufiq Hasan and Tanvir Khan. There are more than 100 enthusiastic members of the group including 60 active female members. During this season, these members wore t-shirts with their group name and visited different haats of the country, particularly of the city, to post photos, review the animals and do live streaming.

One can easily know about the prices of the cows and other animals, arrival of fresh stock and review of different animals in the various haats by accessing the page through any internet-enabled device. This is a very helpful tool that can curb the movement of customers from one haat to another to buy a cow.

Many a times, the group members can be found travelling with the cattle truck and posting regular updates in the social media.

Monjur Elahi Shuvo, one of the moderators of the group, says, ‘This is a group for cattle lovers. The core activity is entertainment. Members from abroad can also share their market experiences. We have been able to track and trace animals which are coming from different parts of the country as well as from other countries.’

Two other important roles of the group are to warn people about risky situations and also carry out charitable work. On the day of Eid, the group will sacrifice an entire animal and share it entirely with the less privileged people.

Round the year, the group posts updates of weekly animal haats around the country. They have an active YouTube channel from where they post the videos of their experience. This group also does free promotional activities for the farmers and cattle traders.