Tuesday December 12, 2017

Why Jallikattu is not same as Spanish Bullfighting?

Photo: barandbench.com

By Nithin Sridhar

Tamil Nadu’s traditional sport of bull embracing- ‘Jallikattu’ is again making headlines everywhere. The Supreme Court on Tuesday put an interim stay on the central government notification that had effectively reversed the 2014 SC ban on the sport.

While the decision of the SC is being celebrated by the animal activists, people from Tamil Nadu have expressed extreme disappointment. Many people who have closely studied the issue have also criticized the ban on Jallikattu and have pointed out how the ban is based on ignorance and insensitivity towards traditional Indian practices.

Animal rights activists had for long branded the sports as being ‘violent’ and cruel towards the animals. The SC had banned the sport in 2014 citing similar reasons. Many activists have gone so far to equate Jallikattu with the Spanish Bull fighting which is infamous for its cruelty.

But, this equation of Jallikattu with Bullfighting is anything but true. A little research into the practice of Jallikattu will reveal how Jallikattu is neither cruel (except a few isolated incidents of injury) towards the bulls, nor is remotely similar to the Spanish Bullfighting.

Jallikattu– the game of bull-hugging

Jallikattu is one of the oldest sports in the world, with some dating it back to at least 2000 BC. It is an inseparable part of Tamil Nadu’s rural culture and tradition. Though, it is often called as ‘Bull-taming’ sport, it is in reality, at least as it is practiced today, a bull hugging or bull-embracing sport.

The rules of the game are simple, a trained bull is let into an arena where the participating persons will try to catch the bull and hold on it. No ropes or other tools are allowed. Also, the participants are allowed to hold the bull only by its humps. Holding necks or horns are not allowed. If the participants manage to hold the humps till the finish line is reached, then they are declared winners. Otherwise, the bull is declared as the winner. Additionally, only one participant is usually allowed to hold onto the hump at a time.

Thus, it is a game of whether a person will become successful in holding onto the bull without any external support, or whether the bull will be successful in getting rid of him. These stud bulls are raised and trained to participate in these sports. One can easily compare the sport with sports like horse racing for example.

The participant is seen holding onto the hump of the Bull. Photo: www.in.com
The participant is seen holding onto the hump of the Bull while the bull runs. Photo: www.in.com

More importantly, Jallikattu does not involve any use of sticks, ropes, or other tools that would cause real harm to the bulls. The Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009 has stipulated very strict guidelines that ensure that bulls are not exploited. Apart from creating an elaborate procedure with checks and balances for granting permission to Jallikattu event, various other measures include: providing double barricades and fixing up of the gallery for the spectators; holding proper examination of the bulls before the sport, by Government experts, to ensure that the bulls are free from diseases and that no drugs have been administered to them; arrange for proper police protection, and medical and veterinary services at the event.

Therefore, the sport of Jallikattu as such cannot be construed as cruelty against animals. The format of the game has been designed such that there is no cruelty towards the bulls. This is not to suggest that there are absolutely zero injuries in this sport. Some incidents of injuries are bound to happen, but such minor incidents are present in almost all sports including cricket. But, such occasional cases of injuries cannot be construed as acts of cruelty towards Bulls or the participants.

The violent game of Spanish Bullfighting

On the other hand, the notorious Spanish Bullfighting is by its very nature very violent and cruel towards the Bulls. Here there is no competition between human participants and the bull regarding who will win the race. Instead, the bull is goaded into attacking the participants, so that they can strike it and finally kill it. By the end of the sport, the bull is almost always killed.

Violent Spanish Bullfighting. Photo: Youtube
Violent Spanish Bullfighting. Photo: Youtube

The Bullfighting happens in 3 stages and it is not a man v/s bull contest. Instead, the ‘matador’, the main slayer of the bull, will have six assistants and they together maim, injure, and finally kill the bulls in stages. First, the matador observes and assesses the bull, next the two ‘picadors’ (the lancers) pierce the neck muscles of the bull, thus causing the first loss of blood and weakening of neck muscles. Following this, the three ‘banderilleros’ (flagmen) plant sharp barbed sticks, which further weakens the bull. In the final stage, the matador reenters the area and stabs the bull through the heart.

Jallikattu is no Bullfight

A simple comparison of the formats of Spanish Bullfights and the Indian Jallikattu is enough to reveal that Jallikattu has no resemblance to the Bullfight.

First, the Bullfight by its very design contains the slaying of bulls, but Jallikatti has no such element of slaying or injuring in its format.

Second, the bull is severely maimed and injured at each stage of the Bullfight using swords, lances, barbed sticks, etc. But, Jallikattu is a simple sport of participants trying to hold the humps of the bulls and there is absolutely no use of any equipment that may cause injury.

Third, the Bullfight has been designed on the concept of violence and war. The people are pitched against the Bull in a fight to death (at least to the bull, people get injured as well). On the other hand, Jalikattu has been designed as a healthy competition between people and the bulls where there is no real harm to anyone except occasional cases of injury.

Fourth, there is no benefit for the stud bull or their breeds in the Bullfighting. But, Jallikattu helps in sustaining native livestock breeds and these bulls are treated with great honor and care in the community.

More importantly, the Stud bulls that participate in Jallikattu are usually raised as Temple bulls, which are fed and taken care by the entire village. Thus, people treat the bull as a village pet and show love and affection towards the animal. Such a relationship is also present between the Individual owners and their Stud bulls as well.

This emotional and affectionate relationship that exists between the Bull breeders, village folks, and the bulls is the driving spirit behind Jallikattu. This bond makes it a cultural event that further strengthens the bond between man and animal. Perceived from this standpoint, it is clear that Jallikattu is not even remotely connected with the idea of violence or cruelty towards bulls.

The fact that the animal rights activists are blatantly refusing to even acknowledge this cultural bond (between people and the bulls), which is so central to Jallikattu, speaks volumes about their willful ignorance, and also raises serious questions about their credibility and dedication to the cause of animals. Their past silence over illegal cow-slaughter and beef parties that celebrated slaying of cows or over the slaughter of goats during festivals like Bakrid, further exposes their hypocrisy and points towards a possibility of some hidden agenda dictating their actions.

It is indeed very disturbing and alarming that even the courts are increasingly being influenced by the left-liberal agenda which has left no stones unturned to attack Indian traditional practices. The stand taken by the courts on various issues in the recent past, be it the issue of prohibition of women’s entry into Sabarimala temple, or the issue of Jain Sallekhana, clearly point towards growing ‘secularization’ of the courts and the demonization of the traditional Indian practices.

SLOBs (Secular Liberal Outrage Brigade) have repeatedly used women’s rights, animal rights, human rights, and every other ‘rights’ in their kitty to dismantle Indian (especially Hindu) religious and cultural practices and traditions. If the ban on Jallikattu continues and the practice dies out, then the SLOB would add another victory at killing an Indian traditional practice to their kitty.

  • Nagaraja

    Well researched, well written article.

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Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu by Tamil Nadu government in SC

Jallikattu, Wikimedia

Tamil Nadu, Jan 25, 2017: Animal Welfare Board of India and other animal rights organisations have challenged the new law passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly to allow bull taming sport Jallikattu in the state.

The Justice Dipak Misra headed bench agreed to hear the pleas which were listed urgently before the bench. Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Anand Grover were asked to file their applications. These applications will be taken up for hearing on 30th January when the Centre’s plea for withdrawing the January 6, 2016, notification will be taken up.

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The animal rights organisations have mentioned in their pleas that the new law passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly to allow Jallikattu has over reached the earlier verdict of apex court. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi gave a statement saying that the Centre has decided to withdraw the January 6, 2016 notification allowing Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The apex court, which had reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the notification, had said that the concerned bench would take a decision on when the application of the Centre would come up for its consideration.

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The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 piloted by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, was adopted unopposed on January 23 by a voice vote in the assembly after a brief debate.

To seek prior hearing if pleas challenging the new legislation allowing Jallikattu in the state come up for consideration, nearly 70 caveats have been filed in the Supreme Court . The caveats were filed a day after the AIADMK government moved the apex court seeking a prior hearing before any order is proposed to be passed in the matter.

prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks


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Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu, the popular Bull taming Sport with a New Law

Jallikattu, Wikimedia

Chennai, Jan 23, 2017: Tamil Nadu on Monday passed a law legalising the conduct of Jallikattu – the popular bull taming sport – in the state which was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014.

The law now replaces the ordinance that was promulgated amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act on January 21.

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An ordinance has a life of six months and it would lapse unless a law is passed to replace that.

The bill was moved by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselavam in the state assembly, and was passed quickly.

The law seeks to protect Jallikattu from legal challenges.

Earlier in the day, Governor C.H. Vidyasagar Rao told the assembly that the bill to replace the ordinance issued to enable holding of Jallikattu will be placed in the assembly immediately.

The passage of bill was welcomed by the Jallikattu activists.

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Speaking to reporters, P. Rajasekhar, President of the Jallikattu Peravai, welcomed the law.

While the assembly took up the bill for discussion, former judge Hari Parandhaman explained the aspects in detail to the protesters for Jallikattu at Marina.

He assured the protesters that the law is a permanent solution protecting Jallikattu.

The law while legalising the sport also laid out various safety measures in favour of the bulls and the manner in which the sport should be held.

Meanwhile, the protesters have demanded a permanent solution — amendment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act by the central government removing bull from the list of performing animals. (IANS)



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Jayalalitha requests center to bring ordinance to allow Jallikattu, after SC orders Stay

The participant is seen holding onto the hump of the Bull. Photo: www.in.com

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday urged the central government to immediately issue an ordinance to permit Jallikattu, hours after the Supreme Court stayed the bull taming sport citing cruelty to the animal.

As news of the ruling stunned Tamil Nadu where the event is held during Pongal celebrations starting on January 14, Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “I strongly reiterate my earlier request to promulgate an ordinance forthwith to enable the conduct of Jallikattu.”

Jallikattu, reputedly one of the oldest living sports, was part of the traditional festivities ingrained in the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu, the chief minister said.

“It is very important that the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, who have a deep attachment to the conduct of the traditional event of Jallikattu, are respected,” she added. “On behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu, I urge you to take immediate action in this regard.”

Jayalalithaa’s communication followed a Supreme Court stay on the operation of a central government notification issued on Friday that gave the green signal to Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.

Observing that Jallikattu amounted to heaping cruelty to animals, an apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra said the sport cannot be permitted in the 21st century.

The Supreme Court had in May 2014 banned the sport. On Friday, the central government issued a notification, in response to appeals from the Tamil Nadu government, effectively reversing the 2014 ban.

Petitioner Gauri Maulekhi said they had wanted the central government notification quashed. “The court has stayed it.” The apex court issued notices to New Delhi and other respondents.

Bulls are specifically bred for Jallikattu, which involves young men trying to tame the powerful animals. Many youths get killed or are injured in the process, but the event’s popularity has only grown.

Animal rights activists, who welcomed the Supreme Court order, say there can be no justification for anything where animals are treated harshly.

“I am delighted,” S. Chinny Krishna, vice chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), said in Chennai.

“This is a huge victory for animals. We hope the government of Tamil Nadu will follow this order and not allow Jallikattu to take place,” added N.G. Jayasimha of AWBI.

But T. Velmurugan, founder of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi and a former legislator, said: “As per the law of the land, the Supreme Court has decided. The fault (is with) the central government. It could have amended the law properly by deleting bull from the banned list.”

According to him, the Tamil Nadu government can allow Jallikattu as a sport since sports fall under the concurrent list of the constitution.

PMK founder S Ramadoss said the central and the Tamil Nadu governments were both to blame for the bar on Jallikattu.

In a related development, an expert on cattle warned that a blanket ban on Jallikattu would greatly harm Indian breeds of bulls in the long run and lead to the import of foreign animals.

“The banning of Jallikattu and the demand for ban on other rural sports will ultimately result in the vanishing of native species,” K. Sivasenapathy of the Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation stated in Tamil Nadu.

He said there was no chance of cruelty to the Jallikattu bulls as they were checked by doctors before and after the event.

The bull runs for a short distance in an open ground, during which time youths have to hold on to its hump for a minimum period of time, he said.

“The government should jail the owners if their bull is found to be tortured. Punish the guilty and not the sport,” Sivasenapathy said. (IANS)(Photo: www.in.com)