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24 years in Saudi Desert, Indian Origin Gana Prakasam to return to India

Gana Prakasam Rajamariyan is set to return to his home in India after spending 24 years illegally in Saudi Arabia desert

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Gana Prakasam
Saudi Desert. Wikimedia
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  • A 52-year-old Indian man is set to finally return home after 24 years
  • Gana Prakasam Rajamariyan, hailing from Tamil Nadu, illegally stayed in the Saudi desert for 24 years
  • He decided to abscond and live illegally after he did not receive his salary

June 15, 2017: After the Saudi government announced a 90 day amnesty period, an extreme case of Gana Prakasam has come into the highlight from Saudi Arabia.

Gana Prakasam Rajamariyan, 52 years old, arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1994. He began work as a farmer in a remote village in Hail province. He was paid a mere salary of 100 Saudi Riyal per month for six month, after which, he was transferred to another employer.

After a few months, Gana Prakasam was again transferred to a third employer. He was not receiving any salary for his labour and he had lost track of his sponsor. He decided to “abscond and live illegally out of compulsion.”

Gana Prakasam spend 24 years in a Saudi desert.

The last time he spoke to his wife was in 2015 before she was admitted to the hospital. She died a year later.

Prakasam has completed all the formalities and is set to return to his native place Kayakumari, where his children and grandchildren eagerly await him. He recalls that his four daughters were very young when he left home. Now on his return, he will be meeting his grandhchildren of the same age.

Many Indians have travelled to Saudi Arabia illegally and are now stranded in the kingdom.  Those who have overstayed their Visa are set to return after Crown Prince Muhammad bin Naif announced general amnesty as part of Interior Ministry’s campaign ‘A Nation Without Illegal Expats’.

By Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.