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Jallikattu: An Important Part Of The Socio Economic Fabric Of Tamil Nadu

Last but not the least my dear animal rights activist friends do you remember a bird called sparrow? They are already extinct. What have you done from your side to save them?

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I have been planning to write this article for some time now. Let me first begin by saying that I am a supporter of Jallikattu and am very disappointed that animal rights activists are trying to ban it even without doing any research from their side. The good news for all the people of Tamil Nadu is that the Central government has given the nod to the state government to promulgate an ordinance that will allow Jallikattu to be held. But isn’t it too late and too little from the state machinery?

Now all the activists will again spring to action to somehow seek a legal ban on this too, best of luck to them. But even before I go into the main subject of Jallikattu, I have a very small question for these so called animal rights activists. Everyday countless eggs are eaten all around the world. We are killing a life even before it gets a chance to come to this world. Isn’t that cruelty towards animals? This is just a food for thought for those so called animal activists who are showing so much of concern for the bulls used in Jallikattu. I can go on and on and it can become an unending story. But that is not my motive for this article.

My main motive for this article is to try from my side to help them understand the importance of Jallikattu and even if one animal activist reads my article and has a change of mind I will feel that my article has served its purpose.

So let us begin with the basic question of what Jallikattu actually is.

There is a lot more to it than what meets the eyes. How did this sport actually start? There is a very interesting history behind it. The modern society might not know it but India and Indians have been heavily relying on farming and cattle breeding for ages. Long before the so called corporate culture seeped into our society our ancestors used to make a living out of farming and cattle breeding. For cattle breeding, there were young herdsmen who were designated the work of herding the cattle. While taking the herd to the open land the instance of a bull suddenly becoming unruly and running away from the herd was a common phenomenon.

The herders had no other options but to chase the bull and hold on to its hump in order to get it under control and return back to the herd. This act of chasing an unruly bull and taming it down was called ‘Eru Thazhuvuthal' which means 'embracing the bull'. The sport called Jalli Kattu is an inspired version of this act which started in the Nayaks Rule. At that time gold coins were wrapped in a piece of cloth and tied to the bull’s horn. The young and strong men of the village had to try their hand on getting the gold coins wrapped on the horns of the bull. One who could manage to hold the bull’s hump for a considerable amount of time and untie the cloth from the bull’s horn was declared the winner and could take the gold coins as a reward. This sport was named Salli Kattu. (Salli – Coins+ Kattu - Tied). What we see now is the inspired version of the sport which is now popularly known as Jallikattu.

The rules of the game have changed since the inception of this unique sport. The bull is allowed to come out of a narrow passage called “Vadi Vaasal” and the players who are interested in playing this sport are supposed to hold on to the hump of the bull for around 10 meters or so. No player is allowed to catch any other part of the bull’s body and if they do so they are disqualified and if more than one player tries to catch the hump then all of them are disqualified.

It is a very interesting sport and the players need to make very calculative split second decision and move ahead. One wrong move with this demon and you could end up getting your intestines ripped off by those razor sharp horns.

Now how is this adventurous sport an important part of the socio economic fiber of Tamilnadu?

Let us touch the social part first. This is a traditional activity which is held once every year and all the young men are invited to take part in this sport. In order to take part in this sport one needs to be very active and should have a healthy body. People in the village nurture their body the whole year in order to be healthy at the time of this sport. So they restrain from activities like smoking and usage of liquor. This helps in having a clean and addiction free society.

Let us now look at the most important part that is the economic part.

Apart from taking part in this activity (which happens only once a year) these bulls are not used for any other purpose apart from breeding. The strongest bull which wins the contest is considered for mating. This helps in getting a healthy calf and helps in taking the generation forward in a healthy way.

Now the so called activists will state that artificial insemination can be used but are we not going against the law of nature by using this route?

If Jallikattu is banned, the farmers will have no other options but send these bulls to slaughterhouses since the farmers will not be able to afford the cost of maintaining these bulls. It is said that these bulls are slaughtered in Kerala and exported to Gulf and Western Countries by beef traders as there is a huge demand for indigenous breeds.

And slowly but surely a time will come when these special bulls will get eradicated from the face of earth.

So is it ok to send these bulls to slaughter house for producing beef and is that not cruelty towards these animals?

So by banning this sport we are actually hurting the farmers directly in multiple ways. Each and every animal in this world has a purpose and is an important part of the food chain. The only animal which is not is the two legged social animal called human being and has been disrupting the eco system according to its whims and fancies in the name of progress. Our ancestors had a scientific reason for each and every activity. They were well thought of and were in accordance to nature. We have already gone out of our way to spoil this wonderful place called earth. Let us not be a reason for a full species of unique bull being wiped out of the face of earth in the name of saving the rights of these animals. My humble request to you is please for the sake of these precious bulls, leave this sport alone. You have many other things to do if you really want to do with earnest.

Last but not the least my dear animal rights activist friends do you remember a bird called sparrow? They are already extinct. There was a time when there used to be thousands of them and now we can hardly see them. What have you done from your side to save them? Is saving sparrows a part of your list of animals that are endangered or tortured? Do you even know the reasons for them being extinct? I can give a list of so many animals who have become extinct and are on the verge of getting extinct if you really want and I hope you are already aware of it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Jallikattu Socio Economic Fabric tamil nadu opinion

Chandrashekhar Siva

Chandrashekhar is a avid reader and an enthusiastic writer and blogger who loves to write about various topics which have a bearing on the lives of the people. He has a master's degree in computer science and is working as a manager in an IT firm in Chennai.

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