What is Jallikattu?
- A bull taming sport held during the time of the harvest festival of Pongal.
- The participant has to hold the hump of the bull till it crosses the ‘finish’ line which is usually it is about 50 feet.
- It is thousands of years old cultural tradition on Tamilnadu during Pongal. A 2,500-year-old cave painting discovered near Madurai, shows a man trying to control a bull. There are references to Jallikattu in Sangam literature too.
- Sense of Masculinity is related to bull taming as well.
- The bull is released in the arena and hundreds of men chase the animal.
- To ensure the aggression of the bull, it is provoked, angered, tail twisted, chillies rubbed in the eyes, kept hungry etc.
- In the process of taming, many times the bull is hurt, horns broken and men, both as players and participants, have also lost their lives.
- In 2014, the Supreme court banned the sport citing that it is the Cruelty to animals after NGOs like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) working for the animals welfare appealed before the Supreme court for the same.
- Jallikattu supporters say the sport is an incentive for people to rear these native breeds which are going extinct and courts cant take their culture from them.
- Chennai in January 2017 has come to a standstill as thousands have joined the protest against the ban.
- The union cabinet has now cleared an ordinance which states that the Act, Prevention of cruelty against Animals does not apply to Bulls.
- In future, if the Supreme court interferes again, through an ordinance, it may be declared that bull is not an animal altogether!
- So huge is the public pressure on both the state and the central government that even SC banned activity is also being bypassed through an ordinance.
- Seeing the public demand, it seems difficult for the government to turn a blind eye but the interest of the bull also can not be neglected. Proper regulations should be put in place to ensure that the bull in not exploited or harmed in any inhumane way.
- Other issues which may crop up is the imposition of Uniform civil code(UCC). Can the government take the traditional practices of minorities away? If Jallikattu can not be banned, then why and how UCC?