Jallikattu- the juggernaut that must be stopped!

jallikattu bull fight

Treading back the alley of my scribbled sentiments, drawing on the thin fine line of the opium of the masses (read: religion), I wander in the wild & wilderness.

Every year a sleepy village in Tamil Nadu comes to mainstream media spotlight. Decorations and delight all around, the celebration is impregnated in the air and as hoards of spectators huddle together, the human perimeter around the field sinks in the fanfare. The frenzy of both locals and foreign tourists reaches an avalanche- a rural celebration of epic proportions? Wait!

Jallikattu bull fight India

Into this grand setting that may remind you of a tight budgeted amphitheater, an infuriated bull is unleashed — adorned with tawdry accessories, rubbed with bright colors and with money tied around its horns. The bull is chased by villagers. Their objective is to hold on to the animal for as long as possible in an effort to tame the animal and seize the money. Welcome to the 4,000 year old “sport” of Jallikattu, a local version of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Jallikattu

The term Jallikattu comes from the term “Salli” kassu (coins) and “Kattu” (meaning a package) tied to the horns of the bulls as the prize money.

Now read this-

Not a single year has passed by without blood shed. Human lives are lost too.

D. Rajasekar, secretary of the Animal Welfare Board of India in Chennai says, “The bulls are abused by rubbing chilli powder in their eyes. That’s not all. They are forced to drink alcohol to drive them into frenzy.” Some bulls are raised exclusively for this purpose. Their testicles are pinched to make them more aggressive. Their tails are twisted and bitten.

Jallikattu india bull fight

But then, had it been about animal agony alone, who would have cared? In a world which has sensory detections for only one pain, that of a human. The ears were long turned deaf to the wails of the wild.

jallikattu tamilnadu festival

“The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.”

– Georgia Harkness

“Jallikattu has become an industry and people are making money. This is normally done during Pongal. How can you stretch it for five months up to May?” asked The Supreme Court of India.

Every religion must go through a continuous self-cleansing process to get rid of its orthodox malpractices, and when I say it, I mean it for ‘every’ religion. Modernity is a myth if it doesn’t abolish orthodoxies which don’t find sync in the moral views of the new world.

See also: The story of Yudhisthira’s dog (Mahabharat)

If it is for being in the name of religion and pleasing the lord then why ban ‘Sati’? Wouldn’t it have got gods enraged? The Hinduism lawmakers Yajnavalkya & Manu Inc. had constituted many blasphemous rites in the name of religion, many of which leave my incisors dying to make mark in the back of the legislative ‘holier than thou’ flesh! 

If it is in the name of tradition and cultural heritage then it must be noted that the historical evidences reveal that the sport was never what it is today. 

For those hoisting the flag in favour of it being a veera velayattu (guts and glory sport), the difference between valour and stupidity is a thin fine line. Taming a strong animal and playing a pseudo hero? Why don’t serve in the fight against terrorism?

And then there is a section esp. Tamilnadu Tourism Department which wants Jallikattu to continue as it attracts foreigners- well if blood served as an effective tourist magnet than Afghanistan (or closer home Kashmir) would have had the maximum tourists flocking in?

Update: In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of India in April 2014 has stated: “The legislature decided to undermine them (buffaloes) since they cannot vote. A smokescreen is tried to be created by a legislative framework. But it is the court’s duty to discard this smokescreen in the interest of the animals, which cannot protect themselves…and we will protect them”.

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15 Comments

  1. Even supreme court revoked the ban on Jallikattu some years back on the plea that it is part of the pongal festivities.But the court has issued guidelines to Tamilnadu government to ensure saftey of participants and also onlookers. One hopes at least these safety measures are adhered to seriously.

  2. tHANKS SO MUCH for blogging about this, Kalicharan. It is just too cruel for words. We animals need help from humans because we cannot voice our complains but sadly not many can feel for us. It is high time people understand that we animals are not for human entertaintment but have equal rights to a happy, safe, content life.
    we will definitely get mummy to mail those letters. Hope those people at the helm will do something.
    we are so glad u like our blog. and of course very very glad to have met you. you guys look so handsome in your stills. Are your fur colours the reason for your names? It’s KOOL!
    we have added ur blog to our reading list. we think you guys are very wise and write beautifully. hope we can be grrrt furiends 🙂
    wags,
    Buddy n Ginger

    1. Thanks Buddy & Ginger 🙂

      How I wish humans realized that the fangs of pain are felt by fauna too(In a world where human rights have gone for a toss.) Yet, as long as there is breath — there is hope. Human beings befriending fauna & flora, now that would be Utopia on earth.

      I love your blog and I’m not saying this merely to return the compliment. Strangely,dogs are still honest despite being in the company of men for ages 🙂
      I have blogrolled you and wish to develop a great bond.

      Let’s play frisbee!

  3. This is appalling! It is mediaeval and not something any modern civilisation should be supporting. I hope it will soon be finished. Interestingly, it seems that bull fighting in Spain is to be outlawed in some areas – and not before time!

  4. Although my heart goes out to the kid who died in 2006, the bulls who have their balls pinched, the people who get injured, i couldn’t help but notice the main hanging on to his dear life on that bull! Have you been to one of these sometime?

    1. Thanks for the comment Vinni.

      I haven’t been to one of these fights in person but have read, heard and seen enough of this violent ‘game’ on various mediums. The kid for sure didn’t deserved the ill fate but then can the mutilated bull be hold guilty? No.

  5. In a country where people prey on many an animal, playing with an animal shouldn’t be a projected a big thing. There had been days where indian youths were strong and healthy and they were testing their abilities with such great valiant sports.

    These days people grow sharp in mind but don’t survive even to touch their early 50s and 60s. 🙁

    India is the youngest country with majority of “ill-health” youth … Shame on Us 🙁
    Just the Youth count in India doesn’t help anyway. Only “Healthy” youths contribute to country’s growth and values.

    “Westernization” had replaced ragi and maize (for that matter, any healthy food) totally from our plates and the indians are turning brittle at bones and bald at heads 🙁

    Youth should prefer such games atleast in future and using bulls for sports just for a day in a year wouldn’t endanger its living through out. When countries like Spain still encourage
    “Bull Festival”, India too should preserve its home-born games and sports …

    With stupid aged ministers in the cabinet, bringing up a healthy India is still a Day Dream 🙁

    Exercise India …. Exercise !!!!

    Jai Hind !

    1. There is a reason why India has moved onto civil games and curbed down on violence in the name of upholding traditions. Cleansing rituals of society have got rid of malpractices like Sati, child marriage, female infanticide True that an occasional case would surge up every now and then but that doesn’t showcases that crimes should be committed in the name of traditions. Why does India cry hoarse when there are cases of honor killing? Why not keep up the ‘heritage’, ‘traditions’ and ‘culture’. Why not keep up the old practice of appeasing the saint and the satan with human offerings?

      It’s funny, the crimes we commit in the name of religion,customs and traditions.

      Talking of healthy games, if violence is the answer for a strong built, why not go the good old way and let astray the young men in a coliseum with swords in their hands. May the best man win. Slay and survive.

  6. Why does it take so many ppl to sign a petiton to STOP CRUELTY ???? Ppl in power just ban it ..violence / cruelty of any kind is not a sport for pleasure…. STOP this!

    1. In an ideal world that should have been the case but then the system itself a quagmire, a labyrinth of legal preview, wherein political pests are more concerned about their vote banks and don’t want to hurt people’s sentiments by putting an end to a ‘cultural festival’. They need a loud cry that deafens them before they put their pen to paper.

      If only they had the eyes and more importantly the conscience to have acted against the cruelty.

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