Jallikattu – A pride and responsibility!


As I was cross-referencing with my mind, asking her what I could probably write about and *Jallikattu* , she spilt spontaneously. The history relating to the existence of this traditional Tamil(Indian) sport dates all the way to 400 BC. “Yeru thazhuvuthal” was how the practice was called as , by the ancient Tamils (also Indians) , which literally translates to “Bull Embracing”. Another word used to describe this sport is “Manju virattu” , which literally translates to “Bull Chasing”. The modern term “Jallikattu” is derived from salli (coins) and kattu (package) which is in reference to the pack of coins tied to the horns of the animal and the retrieval of this pack is what declares the winner. The animals specifically bred for this game are the Kangayam breed of bulls , scientifically known as Bos indicus. These bulls are also the ones that are left to mate with the females cows to produce high quality milk for the calves.

The issue of concern during the past few years is the appraisal on the ban of this traditional sport and its consequences. There have been many instances where banning of traditional practices were only beneficial to all Indians (practices like Sati, untouchability, dowry demands etc…). But this has been dragged on as it seems to be absolutely non-beneficial for the Tamilians(Indians) and certainly no gain for the rest of the country either. But as we dig deeper into this issue, we have come to expose that this ban had links to corporate sectors desperately trying to bring in exotic bulls into the country. Why ban a sport then? The answer is quite obviously the ease in directly stopping the breeding of such bulls as they are originally bred for the sport itself. This clever planning of the centre and the entry of PETA(People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was a crucial leak for the Tamils (Indians) to take the lead and show the world that they do not need a government to represent them.

The reason why I kept specifying Tamils as Indians is because it is strong enough to believe that they belong to India and therefore, the sport is an Indian culture too. We the Tamils celebrate Independence day and Republic day on the same day as the rest of India does (coincidently). And to our surprise, we share the same physical boundary and public holidays as well. This clearly states that the centre should have put us first and technically rejected the request of the corporate companies. But THEY DID NOT! This is probably the second issue in line , in which we seem to feel slightly cheated upon, only by our own country.

When Vishwanath Anand wins Grandmaster or when Ashwin Ravichandran take over 5 wickets in a single innings or when C.V.Raman became the first Asian Nobel Laureate or even when three tamilians became the Presidents of India, they are the Pride of the nation. But when fishermen from the state get killed in Sri Lanka or when the people fight for a basic right (water) or when a ban like this could give a huge blow to the natives, we unfortunately become Just Tamilians and are left alone to deal with it. Many may argue differently, but I feel that this is definitely unfair.

This urges me to give a mention of those cruel games and treatments against bulls from other countries which supposedly seem fine but a game like ours, in a land like ours where cows are given at most respect, seems to be ill-treating animals. And do not expect us not to react to this. We definitely startled those who chose to believe that we will accept any kind of abuse. Nobody even thought of such a massive response initiated by the youngsters and those from the IT field. “They thought they had banned the bulls, but instead unleashed a pride of lions into the streets…”

This was just another flow of thoughts and feelings of a Tamilian who wishes all injustice done to her kind, gets undone! Fortunate for us that even if we were to be called emotional idiots , we’d rather accept it than to stay submissive.

– Shreyy, a proud Tamilian (Indian)…


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