Friday, January 11, 2008

The Bull fighting - Jallikkattu

Jallikkattu is a cultural event and sport of the Tamils, the people of the southern state, Tamil Nadu of India. The sport dates back to 300 BC. It is celebrated on the third day of the Pongal festival - the festival of harvest.

The Jallikkattu is a celebration of life; of taming the bull, the important constituent of the agrarian life of the rural society. The society in its primitive stage depended mainly on the tilling of the soil for its survival. And at a time when the modern tilling tools and tackles were unaware to them, it's the animals that came to the rescue of the life's hardships.

The bull needs to be tamed for that purpose. And to be done in a grand style!.

Taming the Bull!


It had been done in a pomp of flaming colors!!! Yes, the bulls were attired with colorful flowers on their painted horns. Tolling bells tied aroung the neck and the horns. Turmeric water sprinkled to add colors to the proceedings. The winner's booty hung on the horns. Hold the bull by its horns and there emerges the winner - the ultimate star of the society! Maybe he would also wear the color by his own blood spilling on to him from his bleeding wounds.

It's not that simple considering the betting ongoing away from the narrow streets where the bull was being chased to get hold of the booty. The betting varied from settling disputes between the villagers or perhaps between the villages themselves to beautiful damsels - sometimes the daughter of the bulls' owner. The girl might be waiting with a bated breath to know her hero. And how fortunate to be a hero's bride!

The romanticism attached to the event has not been reduced even an inch these days as it is still a way of life. The bulls are still a part of the men's friend on the field where the modern tools and tackles could not be practiced in the fields fragmented by the family divisions. Betting the girls are not heard of anymore though it still forms the storyline for certain romantic vernacular movies.

And what happened to Jallikkattu suddenly?

It was termed barbaric!!! A cultural event practiced for millenniums together had suddenly opened the blinded eyes of the highest body of the judiciary in India! Some great human souls who care more for the animals than the men had applied to the Supreme Court in Delhi to ban this cultural event - the celebration of bravery; the celebration of life itself! How unfortunate this tradition to be termed as a barbaric! An interim injunction had been issued to ban this festivity of the poor Tamilians. The local government had supported this event till last year through its tourism department but now it has been helpless except to carryout the instructions of the Supreme deliverer of the justice which care a damn about the cultural tradition. Yielding to pet intellecutals of hypocritical origins!!!

Yes, this cultural event needs reforms, to be developed into a safe event on the lines of the bull fighting sport of Spain. There's no harassment to the bulls or atleast vary rare in its incidence. Rather, the men would be hurt much severe than the animal. Many lives were lost by the bull's hit - not the other way round! The action results in many more injuries to men - sometimes fatal to them but the bulls are not harmed in any way! How the animal lovers had assumed that the animals were harassed - God only knows! The sport might be requiring better medical attendance to take of those harassed men.

It's not just the injuries either to the men or the beast. There were other factors too operating on the cultural platform. The one being the pride of the owner to hold the bull as his alter ego and loosing a fight means 'SHAME' of unspoken limits. Hence they resort to administer arrack to the bull before the event to make sure that his bull would be wilder than what they were supposed to be at normal times. His bull should never to be tamed in the public like the folks accepting his over lordship in the public. The wild bull should hit every thing that approached them and be untamed.

Still men believe that they could tame it and its nothing but a daredevil adventure. By winning they might look forward to the acceptance of their existence which otherwise would be of non-existential to the society. And the sport evolved from this daredevil action and the justification of the youth's existence among the nagging elders!

It's this individual's ego-trip that needs to be tamed. It could be possible only by organizing the sport by a proper body and not by men who considers their bull as their other self.

The judiciary's concern should only be limited to 'reform' the sport - not to ban altogether the tradition of the people! As every Indians know that the Tamils hold their traditions closer to their heart than anything else and it was revealed by the many interviews aired today by the various news channels.

And if it was barbaric as called by the Courts, then no sport could escape the scale when applied properly. Remember that Raman Lampa died on the cricket field by the hit from a cricket ball! And not to mention the sports of boxing, wrestling (wwf) and the motor sports! And what about the uncivilized incidents of the Sydney test in Australia? The hooliganism exhibited by the football fans around the world is not barbaric?

On the way to the ban, this tradition had been compared with certain other traditions of the bygone era - of Sati. If people could not differentiate between a tradition and a superstition then whatelse could be spoken of their justice? Justice is for the people and let them decide whats their tradition upto them! Not by those people who do not understand whats the tradition and whats the superstition!

1 comment:

Jallikattu said...

Jallikattu – The fight is now outside the ring

Pongal, the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu is also the time for Jallikattu - the traditional bull fight that takes place in Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjore. Of these the spectacle at Alanganallur, near Madurai, is the most talked about simply because it is the most ferocious.

Somehow, there's so much raw energy in the air at the time of Jallikattu. Even a casual visitor can feel the vibes and horror. Whole villages come to a stand-still at the time of this traditional bull fight. It is considered 'veera velayattu', the game of the brave and indeed the game does take immense bravery - to tame a wild bull called the 'Jallikatu Kalai'.

The game involves taming the bull, by locking its horns and getting it to stand still for a short while. The person, who does so, gets the purse or whatever gift the brave one is destined to receive.

Today, there is a huge hue and cry to ban this traditional sport that animal rights activists have branded a vile blood sport. True, not only do the bulls that enter the Jallikattu ring suffer a blood bath, some of the participants, often little children do end up in hospital and often in the morgue. So they say there’s no reason why the sport should be banned forthwith.

What is your opinion? Vote here to RUN or BAN – http://www.jallikatu.com

Watch the video clipping of Jallikkattu here