With Eid-ul-Azha, the second biggest festival for the Muslim community, just around the corner, blacksmiths in the port city of Chittagong are busy around the clock making and sharpening different types of knives for slaughtering the sacrificial cattle.
One may wonder if they have time for food or baths, as a mob of people were seen rushing to blacksmith’s to have their machetes and cleavers repaired, with an almost equal number looking to buy freshly made knives.
When visiting several blacksmith’s shops in Chittagong city’s Lal Dhigi’s Jail Road, Choumuhuny, Riazuddin Bazar, Muradpur, Bakalia-Kalamia Bazar, Halishahar-Boropol and EPZ area, this correspondent found them all extremely busy.
Even at the last minute, a large number of people were seen thronging to the shops to buy new, ready-made tools.
While fixing the wooden handle of a newly made cleaver, Md Rafiq, 40, at Jail Road said: “We are racing against time, smelting and making the tools while repairing the old tools people bring as well.”
Siddiq Mia, a sexagenarian seen hammering an iron plate at Boropol area in Halishahar, said: “Usually we have no rush except before Eid-ul-Azha, when people have to depend on us as we made sharp and strong tools for their sacrificial animals.”
“As the time is running out fast, we are whetting the tools with an electric machine to make time”, he added.
Another blacksmith, Md Yunush Mia, 50, said “This is our business time. Crowds of customers start coming six to seven day before Eid-ul-Azha."
“A small size knife which is used for skinning sacrificial animals is being sold at TK 250 to 400, a medium size cleaver is being sold selling at Tk 600 to 1,000 and butcher knives at Tk 250 to Tk 400 each,” said the vendor.
Besides blacksmiths' shops, hawkers who sell knives by visiting door to door are also facing a busy schedule.
“The sharpening business will go on around the clock till Eid day. I have been earning Tk800-1000 a day by removing the rust from meat cutters,” said Abul Mia, a mobile blacksmith.
According to the data provided by livestock officials of Chittagong, around 5 lakh cattles are likely to be sacrificed during this Eid.