Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
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.
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.
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.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City
Super model and actress Hailey Bieber said she is lucky to have a husband like Justin Bieber, refuting rumours of the ace singer not treating her properly. Hailey was speaking at singer Demi Lovato's podcast '4D With Demi Lovato', dailymail.co.uk reported.
Talking about her popstar husband and rumours around their marriage, Hailey said: "I think one of the biggest things is you have to know what the truth is behind everything. You know, there's so many narratives that float around about me, about him, about us together." She addressed the rumours point blank as she said: "There's one big fat narrative that goes around that's like, 'Justin is not nice to her, and that he mistreats her', and I'm just like, it's so far from the truth, and it's the complete and utter opposite."
Hailey went on to set the record straight about Justin, who she married in 2018. She said: "I really am lucky to say I'm with someone who is extremely respectful of me, who makes me feel special every single day. So when I see the opposite of that, I'm just like, 'Huh?' And everybody around who knows us personally would say the same thing." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Hailey Bieber, Justin Bieber, husband, respectful, truth, married
Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.
The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.
A complete work of Tamil epic written by hand on leaves Image source: wikimedia commons
The Sillapadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Illango Adigal, and Sattanar, uses the sequel to question Jainism. It is almost a political battle between two new religions competing for a place in a predominantly Hindu society. Parts of Manimegalai even go to the extent of opening ridiculing Jain practices and beliefs.
Critics of Tamil literature have stated that while the Tamil epics have great poetic significance, they are inferior to other world epics when it comes to clearly portraying religious affiliations. In fact, they refer to the newer religions with an infant's perspective. Some scholars have found that Sillapadikaram has more ethical substance than its sequel, but in and of itself, despite being written by a Jain monk, reads like Hindu poetry (Subhramanya Aiyar, 1906).
Keywords: Manimegalai, Sillapadikaram, Tamil Epic, Sattanar, Ilango Adigal, Chola kingdom, Sangam Age, Buddhism