Tuesday February 20, 2018
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Justifying transfers, Culture Minister claims no attempt of ‘saffronisation’

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Addressing the change at the National Museum and the Lalit Kala Akademi, the Minister of State for Culture, Mahesh Sharma claimed that this move is to bring new talent with no attempts of ‘saffronisation’.

“We took the decision to change the heads of institutions in the interest of the organisations, not individuals,” Sharma said. He further added that the ministry works in the interest of the organisations and not individuals.

Sharma claimed that the ‘so-called intellectuals’ who lacked faith in the democratic are behind these baseless rumours. “The intellectuals who have gone to court against the government have no faith in the democratic system. Where is the question of saffronisation? In the Akademi, we have given charge to an additional secretary. If he is saffronised, every bureaucrat in the government is saffronised,” he added.

The ministry has been in the eye over the abrupt transfers of National Museum head Venu Vasudevan and Lalit Kala Akademi chief Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty. Defending the government taking over the Lalit Kala Akademi, an autonomous body under the culture ministry, he said this was based on complaints about its mismanagement.

“There is a process of upgrading and addressing issues of the Akademi. We have received many complaints of mismanagement, embezzlement of funds and misappropriation from a section of artists and we acted upon it,” he said.

A group of artists have moved to the Delhi High Court accusing the government of “trying to change the character” of the Akademi. Sharma said that he would not give importance to the complaint.

“I am not going to give importance to people like Ashok Vajpeyi who officially called Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Godhra murderer,” said Sharma. Vajpeyi, a noted Hindi poet, was the Akademi’s chairman from 2008 to 2011.

Vasudevan’s overnight transfer also invited scathing attacks from various quarters. Vasudevan, who revived the National Museum with many innovative and ambitious plans, was transferred to the sports ministry in April. Sharma maintained that the transfer was a routine administrative process.

“We have nothing against Venu Vasudevan. He was appointed as an administrator and was doing good work. However, we were always on the lookout for better people who have more technical experience related to museums,” said Sharma.

Vasudevan, whose tenure was supposed to expire in December 2016, was shunted without being given any specific reason. While the advertisement for Vasudevan’s replacement was issued only after his transfer, Sharma said the “right person” had already been identified.

However, the future of many ambitious projects that were in the pipeline are in a limbo after Vasudevan’s exit. Protesting his transfer, Ashok Vajpeyi, historian Romila Thapar and art critic Ranjit Hoskote have initiated an online petition that is likely to be submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee.

Eyebrows were raised when Dipali Khanna did not get a second term as the Member Secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA). Earlier this year, Leela Sampson had quit as the censor board chief after its decision against a film was overturned by an appellate tribunal. The censor board comes under the information and broadcasting ministry.

(Inputs from IANS)

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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 lots of controversies

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 hyped 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 from 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 the open ground. And third, when the 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 the time period.

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

Also Read: Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sport, 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 protested by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lot 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 struck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.