13 January 2008

Jallikattu Banned

All animal lovers will be happy to learn that the Indian Supreme Court has just banned Jallikattu, the annual bull taming held across Tamil Nadu, as a part of Pongal (the harvest festival) celebrations. The Court on rejecting the Petition of bull owners, stated that the bull taming is too barbaric to continue.

“We cannot continue with such an event if it is barbaric . . . We cannot allow any event involving cruelty towards the animals,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said rejecting a plea by the Tamil Nadu Government.”

“Jallikattu is wild bull taming which takes place in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal festivities. Albeit sounding similar to the Spanish bull fights, in Jallikattu, the bull is not killed and the matadors do not use any weapons as in the case of the former. But in recent years, the owners are reported to have resorted to punching their bulls, rubbing lemon juice in the bulls’ eyes and injecting them with chilli powder in an effort to rile them up. This has come under a lot of flak from the animal rights activists who had sought a ban on the sport.

The term Jallikattu comes from the term ‘Salli’ kassu (coins) and Kattu (meaning a package) tied to the horns of the bulls as the prize money. Eventually, this term got changed to Jallikattu during the colonial period. Jallikattu, essentially held on the eve of Mattu Pongal, one of the four days of Pongal celebrations, is also known as Manju Virattu, meaning chasing the bull. According to legend, in olden days women chose the successful matadors as their husbands.

In Jallikattu, an agitated bull is set to run in an open space, where several people, empty handed, try to tame it by controlling its horns. The winner gets a prize, which is generally tied to the horns of the bull. But now, the rules have slightly changed so that all that the contestants do is to try to hang onto to the bull past a 30-foot marker. Prizes are awarded to the contestants who can hold onto the bull from the entrance of the pen to the marker. If the bull shakes them off, the prize goes to the bull’s owner.

The largest and bloodiest Jallikattu competitions are held in the villages of Palamedu and Alanganallur in Madurai, where as many as 600 bulls, 600 participants and 10,000 spectators collide in a day-long festival of machismo, blood and mayhem. The other locations that are famous for the sport are Tiruvapur in Pudukottai, Thammammpatti in Salem and Sravayal near Karaikudi.

In 2007, for the first time, both the bulls and the matadors of the famed Alanganallur Jallikattu were subjected to breathalyser test to ensure that they had not consumed alcohol. For, it had become a general custom for the contestants (along with a few bulls) to become inebriated on arrack before entering the ring. This had resulted in serious injuries and even death, including that of a 14-year-old boy, which drew much flak from the media, lawmakers and activists. This had prompted the animal rights activists to seek a ban on the sport, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court.”

[from Sify.com]


Divya said...

Yeh! I'm glad it is banned, that's great news. Now let us hope that the ban will be ENFORCED.

Arunachala Living said...

100% behind you on this.