A sport that finds its roots in ancient India is a topic of widespread outrage and protests right now, especially in the state of Tamil Nadu. Jallikattu, a sport where participants embrace the bull’s hump for 30 seconds or more in order to obtain the prize on its horns. A part of Pongal celebrations,the sport has been banned by the Supreme Court on grounds of inhuman treatment given to the bulls. If you’re not known to the issue, here’s everything you need to know about Jallikattu.
Animal welfare organizations like the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) and PETA India have been protesting against Jallikattu since 2004. The Animal Welfare Board of India filed a case in the Supreme Court for an outright ban of Jallikattu because of the cruelty to animals and the threat to public safety.
Before jumping to conclusions, it is necessary to hear both the sides out. Had Jallikattu not been an important aspect of the Tamil culture, there wouldn’t have been an outrage in their minds. As Indians, we’re proud to be representing our regions and get protective about our cultures and traditions. Ever since the ban has been imposed, people have been gathering in protest as it imposes a threat on their rich culture and heritage.
Jallikattu supporters claim that the allegations put forth by the animal welfare associations are entirely false as they consider bulls as their family. Cruel treatment of the bulls is entirely out of question as the main aim of the sport is to promote the specific species of bulls who would otherwise perish. People not only buy bulls because of Jallikattu, but also take care of these bulls. Farmers provide extra care for the animal as the bulls represent pride of the family and the entire community. Supporters believe that the issue is being exaggerated by the welfare associations as the bulls are treated properly by the people.
It has been brought to notice by the animal welfare associations that there have been many incidents where the bulls die due to the injuries they incur during Jallikattu. Apart from this, it is claimed that the people hurt the bulls in order to disorient them. In attempts to subdue the bulls, people punch and drag the bulls to the ground. In some variations of Jallikattu where the bulls are not restrained, they may run into traffic or other dangerous places that may lead to broken bones and death. However, all these allegations are called baseless by the Jallikattu supporters. According to them, there have been human fatalities in the event but not a single bull has died due to the practice.
On one side, there’s a 5000 year old tradition that is an important part of the Tamilian culture, a way to save the bull species. On the other side are allegations of inhuman treatment of animals. The outrage among people for protecting their traditions is justified, so is the point put forth by the animal welfare associations if there is indeed poor treatment given to the bulls. While there’s still debates going on as to which side is right, the unrest should subdue soon with both the parties satisfied.
Save Jallikattu, and animals.