Jallikattu- the juggernaut that must be stopped!

  • By: Dog
  • Aug 10, 2010

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.


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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