Voice Of The People

What Jallikattu is all about?

With the recent clashes in Tamilnadu regarding the Supreme Court ban on the State’s sport Jallikattu, a lot of sparks have been generated around the debate. A concerned citizen, Major K Santhil Kumar, attempts to explain the relevance of Jallikattu in and for the Tamil culture. Dismissing the popular notion of Jallikattu merely being a wild sport, Major Kumar tries to lay a scientific basis behind the game: there are essentially 2 types of milk, A1 and A2. The former kind is produced with the help of human intervention, with injections and medicines. The other type of milk is rare because its naturally produced. The difference between the two kinds is the presence of amino acids in A2 milk which is deemed the healthiest milk across the globe. The Major then locates Jallikattu in this scenario; A2 milk is produced with the help of the bull that wins the Jallikattu game: “the winning bull is used to service numerous cows.” A ban on Jallikattu would adversely impact the farmers who breed and nurture the stud-bull. Rules can be implemented and enhanced to ensure safety for both the bull and the humans but banning the traditional sport doesn’t do any good to either the farmers or the festive mood of the residents of the State.

Jallikattu, a bull-taming sport, has been under attack by several animal rights activists who disprove of the sport because of the manner in which it exploits animals, bulls specifically, for human entertainment. This warped idea of spectacle has always been a subject of concern for animal rights groups, who finally took the matter to the Supreme Court. Upon looking the statistical evidence, the SC banned the sport in 2014 under the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act. This ban was seen as a threat to cultural identity and festivals, resulting in mass protests across the city.

The preservation of cultural heritage and traditional practices has been an important aspect of Indian conscience. The tension that arises when cultures continue archaic practices is something that the Jallikattu debate encapsulates. The matter is currently under review.


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