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Deccani sheep meat is off the menu

Deccani sheep meat is off the menu
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The Deccani breed sheep, nalla gorre in local parlance, that once abundantly available in central peninsula, especially in the region of Deccan...

Khammam: The Deccani breed sheep, nalla gorre in local parlance, that once abundantly available in central peninsula, especially in the region of Deccan Plateau, is on the brink of extinction. The breed is not just famous for its delicious meat, but also a means of livelihood for sheep rearing communities.

The Deccani sheep that started to disappear slowly since mid-90s with the then united Andhra Pradesh government promoting hairy, non-wool Nellore breed also known as erra gore (red sheep) is now almost a nonentity in the region.

Although the Deccani sheep is highly resilient of withstanding the drastic climatic conditions, the Nellore breed sheep became more popular as it grows fast and gains more in weight compared to the former.

The disappearance of the Deccani sheep has its implications. Firstly, the discontinuity of the tradition of Golla-Kuruma community and the livelihood of those depended on Gongadi weavers. Secondly, there is an imminent danger of extinction of Deccani sheep breed.

Thirdly, the deliciousness of the breed that sets the taste buds on fire. It may be noted here that Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s love for Deccani sheep is well known. It’s learnt that the star fetches this breed sheep all the way from Bengaluru to Mumbai as part of his Bakrid fiesta every year. But for the erstwhile district of Medak, it’s hard to find the breed in rest of the Telangana State.

Thanks to the die-hard traditionalists of Golla-Kuruma community who are trying tooth and nail to protect the nalla gorre breed and Gongadi, poor man’s blanket.

Speaking to The Hans India, Deccani Gorrela Mekala Pempakadarla Sangham president Gunda Yadagiri said: “It’s difficult times for our community. We are struggling to protect our own sheep (nalla gorre) and Gongadi tradition. Even though we have represented the State government to distribute at least a few units under the sheep scheme, there was no response.”

According to him, there are just 20-odd families in the State, all in Narayankhed and Saipet in erstwhile Medak district, who are still attached to their traditional occupation - weaving Gongadis. He maintained that the Deccani breed sheep is no less compared to the popular opinion of red sheep gaining weight in quick time.

Yadagiri said that his organisation has plans to popularise the deliciousness of the Deccani sheep meat by making it available in Hyderabad. Telangana State Gorrela Mekala Pempakadarla Sangham general secretary Udutha Ravinder said: “The onus is on the government to protect the State’s symbolic Gongadi and to do that there is an imperative need to promote the Deccani breed again in the State.”

The maintenance of the nalla gorre has additional work compared to the red sheep as it needs cutting of wool at regular intervals. But for the survival of Gongadi, our native wool is the only solution, he said.

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