Let us break it down to its pieces. People has restlessness. When restlessness gets progressive direction, we may call it enthusiasm. That is what youthfulness is all about. Young people is full of enthusiasm. And there must be an external activity to match the enthusiasm. Lot of people do athletics, jogging, sport, football and other outdoor games. They need to sweat it out. Urban places lack big playgrounds and many villages lack formal outdoor games. The town planners did not take note. The town planners and architects did not incorporate the sentiments of youthfulness into urban spaces. People will simply create activities to settle their restlessness of the mind. Young people has energy. Energy and enthusiasm needs direction. Physical activity can exhaust the stagnating energy. Nothing less than a bull has the stamina to engage these young Tamil people. Have you looked at small towns and villages of Tamil Nadu. Take the example of Madurai. These are farmlands. These farmlands needs tilling and manure. The families here are very connected to livestock. Cattle is an emotional need for many farmers. The local breed of cattle are indigenous. Therefore these bulls provide the most suitable semen for the progeny of cattle for paddy fields. This bond is not only traditional but is also interspersed with a severity of farm culture. Enthusiasm, energy, culture, tradition and the youthfulness will all build up into a lethal combination of the Tamil pride. Welcome to the birth of Jallikattu as the pride of the Tamilian bond.
It’s only natural that the young people may make some mistakes. Some element of misdemeanor and bad conduct can only be expected from people near 20 years of age. And so, they may have looked to bring some pain to the bulls. This streak of inflicting pain must be condemned. But be reminded of the adage – do not throw the baby out with the bath water – we need to ensure that Jallikattu games are on the side of non-violence on animals.
Jallikattu is linked to the harvest season. It is a time of bountifulness. The farming community invokes much vigor and vitality in this season. Therefore Jallikattu. Jallikattu translated into English means ‘to embrace the bull’. The name ‘embrace the bull’ suggests of keeping the bull as healthy and fit, keeping your bull as nourished and nurtured. In modern times you may refer to it as symbiotic relationship. Jallikattu may also contribute to keep the bulls safe from slaughterhouses.
The organization called PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) must ban all sorts of cruelty to animals. They must investigate if the fish is happy when taken out of water. Why not interrogate the owners of slaughterhouses. The chicken, cow, sheep, goat, pigs and many other animals are not happy to be killed. Why PETA is blind to such brutality to animals. Does the greed of people justify the cold blooded killing of these animals? How can you consider the domestication of horses and training them to race? Horse racing is feeding the need to gamble. It is certainly an adrenaline rush for hundreds and thousands of people to enforce the burden of completion and contests among horses. Sniffer dogs in police are also disciplined and then trained. Is it natural for animals to be trained to behave as humans envisage them to do? Lab rats and experimental rabbits are all victims of human scientific curiosity. The animal rights activists, the national board for animal welfare and people for ethical treatment of animals must do an introspection. Their behavior is not free from a doubt of bias and prejudice. Are these vigilante bodies disruption to Indian culture? If they are allowed for a free run in India, the next victim could be the temple festival called Poorams. Most temple festivals in Kerala have decorated elephants. The Keralite culture is mostly revolving around temple routines. And elephants are an integral part of temple festivities. Traditional Indian people cared for their animals.
The young people of Tamil Nadu is expressing vitality and vigor. They are certainly dynamic. When these three sentiments come together, then springs forth activities of the young. They need challenges. Their activity needs a sense of capture and like a human instinct, the young people need to sense some sort of dominance. Therefore a bull race and then the victory by its capture. Identify the areas of pain on the bull because of Jallikattu. Sanitize the race from wound and injury to the animal. In its clean form Jallikattu can be a healthy indulgence.
The Marina Beach in Chennai witnessed the ability for large no of people to come together. Most were near 25 years of age, right out of college. They proved their ability to assemble. It almost looked like a spontaneous reaction. These youth sensed the intrusion of PETA into what is an intricate local culture of Tamil Nadu. PETA can have rights to interfere when hurt on the animal is evident. But then when the people in a democracy has chosen to exercise a sport of Jallikattu in its peaceful state, then what is the role of PETA? A total ban on Jallikattu is uncalled for. The violator can get a rap on the knuckles.
Tamils in Malaysia and Singapore and Tamilians in France, Spain has all protested in solidarity with their brethren in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil people in USA and many other countries also has supported the Jallikattu protests that is happening on the Marina Beach in Chennai.
This has happened during the rule of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. Some political leaders supported the views of the animal rights activists. These politicians were not free from their need to meddle into Jallikattu. Probably these politicians thought of raking up a new controversy so as to appear relevant. The matter was deliberated and discussed in the court. Yes, the Supreme Court is privy to the debates and judicious arguments. The Supreme Court has kept the final verdict as pending. But Jallikattu was stopped for a specific time period. Though it did not amount to a full ban, yet, permission was not granted to hold Jallikattu. The villagers in Tamil Nadu seem to be revolting against a Supreme Court judgment. That would have been a severe embarrassment. At all times, the dignity of our constitution must be maintained. Emotion and tradition cannot have a dominance over and above the verdict from Supreme Court. Therefore the sub judicious matter had to be trodded upon with much sensibility. The matter was brought to the Attorney General of India. This legal eagle gave his opinions. Tamil Nadu Government can make an ordinance in assembly. This is because Jallikattu can be considered as a local sport. The Central Government does not have total jurisdiction over local sports. But such an ordinance cannot be in contrast with the verdict of the Supreme Court. The Attorney General then suggests that such ordinance must be vetted in the Parliament in Delhi. The lawmakers in the legislature must earnestly visit this matter of Jallikattu ordinance. Then, this resolution from Parliament, must be sent to the President Pranab Mukharjee. The President of India, then has authority to sanction the ordinance that is generated from Tamil Nadu assembly. But such an approval can take many days. Already the people in Marina Beach in Chennai has camped there for over three nights. Many NGO has participated to bring food, water and other refreshments to protestors who are camping on Marina Beach. The Prime Minister of India was compelled to make his opinion as favorable to Jallikattu. He tweets are evidence to this effect. Many union minsters has reiterated the verdict of Supreme Court. But the same ministers has softened their approach and stance when answering the cultural angle of Jallikattu.
Most of the cinema stars and spiritual leaders of South India are supporting Jallikattu. In all, Jallikattu is here to stay. It has got immense popularity because of the controversy in this week. Most of the airtime of TV channels and print media has been reporting activities of Jallikattu almost endlessly. Which side are you on? Make your informed decision. Whatever be your position, it’s interesting to note none of the bulls really know what the people are fighting for. This innocent animal is just a bystander. As always the animals are the bystanders who watches all the fight among the people. Sometimes it’s important to note that animals have become extinct because of the foolish and inappropriate intervention of human. People may one day will have to agree that about the lives of animals, it is the animals that know better. May Jallikattu be an eye opener to all animal enthusiasts.
About the Author:
Mr. Vinod Kumar is popular columnist from India who provides amazing insights and perspectives on diverse topics. He is a writer, motivator, trainer, consultant and a mentor to many. His interests span media, politics, sports, food, travel, leisure, and study of the mind. His articles are provided exclusively on finomenon.org