WHY JALLIKATTU? The movement, explained.

Jallikattu, the popular Tamil Sport of Bull taming is traditionally held to mark the festival of Pongal. This event is not only practised as a part of the festival, but it also reflects the tradition, culture and heritage of the people of Tamil Nadu(belonging to the Dravidian race). Jallikattu symbolizes bravery. The bull’s and contestants physical strength is checked and examined through this. It’s a life-threatening game and lots of bravery and practice is required to participate in it.

This event is practised every year on the 3rd day of Pongal called Mattu Pongal. In this event, bulls of a very brave breed-the Kangayam breed, is released into a crowd of people. After this, the contestants tries to catch-hold of the bull’s hump and hold on to it until the bull comes to a stop while the bull attempts to escape. In some cases, the participants even have to ride long enough in order to remove the flags from the bull’s horns. At last, the winner achieves his prize money and proves his bravery over the other.

There are several procedures to conduct the game which in no way causes any harm to either the bull or the contestants. However, there have been several protests which took place against Jallikattu. For instance- in May 2014, Supreme court banned it which got concluded last weekend and also PETA stood against it saying that Jallikattu is inimical to bulls.

The Supreme Court was against Animal Cruelty in the national level but regionally, the people were against the decision of Supreme Court as they knew that doing so, their ancient culture and traditions will get lost and moreover hardly any harm is caused to the bulls. Hence, they organized protests against the ban on Jallikattu, camping overnight on Chennai’s Marina Beach and several other parts of Tamil Nadu and this protests by the Tamilians depicts their common love and respect towards their traditions.

If the Supreme Court is really concerned about Animals’ Cruelty, then why can’t they ban killing of animals everywhere else? Why can’t killing of goats and cows be ceased on the day of Eid? Of course, because it has become a tradition. Even in our day-to-day lives, a large no. of cattle is killed for commercial purposes which is legally practised in many states of our country. So if measures are not taken to prevent killing of animals in the name of tradition or for commercial reasons then why is it taken when it is merely a cultural sports event without causing any harm to the bulls? Suddenly imposing an Act to stop Jallikattu is against the peoples’ values. If there will be such movements against their culture, then gradually the regional people might turn into an anti-government association in near future.

Jallikattu is not just a sports or culture or a form of entertainment but is also a way to remember and follow the old traditions of Tamil Nadu. Even some of the popular Tamil movies has also portrayed Jallikattu as a symbol of Masculinity and Gallantry. If this tradition will be banned, regional culture will gradually disappear and there will be nothing left to remember as A GLORY OF PAST.

Hence, Jallikattu should be held to uphold the traditions of Tamil culture. There should be rules made to regulate the sports in order to prevent injuries but instead of this, will it be considered right to negate a culture?

– Tanisha Gupta

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