Why Jallikattu protest is drawing mass crowds

 

Jallikattu
Jallikattu.Image Courtesy-Commons.Wikimedia

 

Jallikattu has now becoming a rallying point for Tamil youth.Jallikattu,like other sports of ancient India,is steeped in tradition and folklore.To take it away from its people,is to take away a part of culture and history.

Leaderless mass protests erupting across Tamilnadu- right from Marina Beach in Chennai to Alanganallur in Madurai,is a testimony to the anger and hurt the people are feeling.Many Tamils see the jallikattu ban as a conspiracy to subdue their culture.PETA,the organization seeking the ban,having roots on foreign shores is strengthening this argument.It is seen as a conspiracy to weed out indigenous cow breeds and break the backbone of Indian-Tamil agricultural practices.

Jallikattu has been a part and parcel of our society and is looked upon as the symbol of valour.The bulls are reared with love and affection and are prized possessions for the families owning them.The day after Pongal being celebrated as Mattu Pongal (Cow Pongal),when cows and bulls are worshiped,is proof enough of the love the farmers have for their bulls.The bulls are adored for their fighting prowess and strength.

What has angered the people more is that the political class,be it at the State level or the National level,seem to be unconcerned about their sentiments.The mass protests are a reflection of the brewing resentment among the public.A government which prides itself on safeguarding Indian culture,would do well to safeguard jallikattu also.

Those supporting the ban elaborate on the cruelty the bulls are subjected to.Another reason given is that lot of people are injured during the bull-taming game.Any sport has its advantages and disadvantages.So does Jallikattu.To ban it,citing cruelty to animals is nothing short of cruelty to our culture.

Jallikattu in its original form,does not propagate any cruelty to the bulls.Jallikattu is not about killing the bull,it is about taming the bull.It is not like the Spanish bull-taming race.Bulls are not killed in jallikattu.Only overpowered.Sufficient medical facilities and precautionary measures at the site of jallikattu will go a long way in ensuring safety for all.These are steps which can be easily implemented.To ban jallikattu citing these reasons,is like throwing the child out along with the bath water.

Nobody is buying the argument that jallikattu must be banned because it results in cruelty to animals.Corrupt practices adopted in course of time might have diluted the essence of the sport a bit.If cricket can still be played in spite of match-fixing scams,why not use the same logic for jallikattu?

The ones protesting on the Marina Beach are not animal-haters nor are they cruel souls.They are protesting there because they believe they should not let a part of their culture die.It is not blind sentiment which has brought them there.Law-enforcing agencies and the political brass hesitate to curtail blind and cruel practices in other cultures for fear of backlash and for fear of losing vote banks.When nothing is being done towards such practices-the ones which should ideally be banned,why bother about jallikatttu.Jallikattu is not evil,per se.

Animal rights activists have to do lots to protect stray dogs,prevent illegal poaching,ban cow-slaughter and cruel killing of animals and birds for meat.Let them do all this and then talk about jallikattu-a sport which celebrates the bulls.People killing black bucks and getting away for their celebrity status is not new here.Such people are still adored and loved.What are animal right activists doing about them?

What has created this unrest is that without addressing pressing issues related to animal-welfare and those relating to cruel practices in other places,the authorities in power are hell-bent on banning jallikattu alone.That too,when it has its own merits and is seen as an identity for Tamil pride and valour.This move is seen as an I-don’t-care attitude from the powers-to-be towards our culture and this resentment has fueled the mass protests for jallikattu.

We thrive when our culture thrives.We have a history of thousand years backing us.Our culture,our agricultural practices,our sports- all these arise from age-old and time-tested practices.To try to abolish them on some flimsy grounds is not going to help.We will be digging our own grave if we do so.

Proud of our culture!Proud of jallikattu!


Read more about Jallikattu history here- Jallikattu, Untold Stories behind this Tamil Tradition

Read more about why Jallikattu ban is harmful-Scary Secrets Behind Ban On Jallikattu and Deterioting Indian Health

Series of posts by different bloggers in support of Jallikattu. #bloggers4jallikattu

 

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4 thoughts

  1. I loved the passion with which you wrote this, even though, quite frankly, i disagree with all the reasons.

    Cruelty to animals cannot be justified in the name of culture and tradition. PETA is one of the most famous and adored organizations in the world who, for the most part, always fight for the unpopular and losing cause. It’s only passion that keeps them going. Culture is a political and communal buzzword. Because Eid happens, so Jallikattu should also happen, is the thought process of the “activists” behind this. I have stayed in TN for 4 years and have heard stories and seen numerous photos of animal cruelty during this festival.

    The comparison to cricket or calling it just another negative like anything else is unfair. That’s unwillful corruption, and while this is deliberate. If there was a campaign against wearing helmets despite of people dying on the pitch, in the name of OLD TRADITION, then it would be an accurate analogy.

    I hope you don’t mind a comment disagreeing with your view. The critique is not of the blogger or the blog, both of which are fantastic, but of the reasoning behind this piece.

    1. Dear Prateek, as Subha has told you are free to express your views however, the cruelty which you have mentioned were streamlined and there have been a number of strict regulations brought about while conducting Jallikattu.
      Here are a few for your Perusal – Both the bull and player have to undergo medical test before and after sport, by certified government medical practitioner.
      Alcohol test is being taken for the player.
      unique numbers are given to the Bulls which would be taking part in the sport and thus there is no foul play here, players are given numbers and T-shirts.
      Then – there are some rules for the games – only one player should hug the hump, if more than one hug – it is foul, so no points, in turn the Bull gains points.
      The player has to hug the hump and move with the bull for a certain length.
      If not the Bull gets a points, like this it is hugging the Bull, the bull may hurt the players, but that is not the worry of PETA.

  2. You are free to disagree Prateek.If there have been any instances of cruelty to animals,there should be measures to eradicate those practices alone.Please note that such practices,if any,are the result of corruption seeping into the game and not part of the original jallikattu format.A few instances should not result in banning the sport altogether.

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