Category Archives: PETA

Why India bull-taming protest may not be just about bulls

  • 20 January 2017
  • From the sectionIndia
A bull about to attack a young contestant at a Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu (file photo)Image copyrightJ SURESH

Image captionThe sport is a 2,000-year-old tradition and a way of life with people

India, wrote author VS Naipaul, is a country of a million little mutinies, reeling with rage and revolt.

One such is now brewing in southern Tamil Nadu state, where people have been protesting against a ban on a traditional bull-taming contest, known as jallikattu. They say the ban is an attack on their culture and identity. Thousands of largely peaceful men and women – mostly students and workers – have been holding an unprecedented beachside protest in the capital, Chennai, since Tuesday. They have been sharing food and water, sleeping in the open, and cleaning up the beach in the morning. Until now, it has been a remarkable exhibition of responsible public dissent, largely free of invective and incendiary rhetoric, which usually mark protests like these.

Outside the capital, people have demonstrated at more than 150 places. There’s no let up in the momentum as the local government struggles to resolve the crisis: more than a million people are estimated to have protested across Tamil Nadu on Friday. Public transport has been affected; schools, colleges and businesses are shut. Oscar-winning music composer and Tamil Nadu’s most well-known celebrity, AR Rahman, has tweeted that he’s fasting in support. Cricket and movie stars have backed the movement. An overexcited newspaper report has even called it India’s Arab Spring. That may well be an exaggeration. But there is little doubt, as a journalist who is covering the protest says, that what began as small protests against the arrest of 200 young men opposing the ban last week has now snowballed into a “mass movement, leaderless and largely peaceful”.

Indian students shout slogans and hold placards during a demonstration against the ban on the Jallikattu bull taming ritual, and calling for a ban on animal rights organisation PETA, at Marina Beach at Chennai on January 19, 2017.Image copyrightAFP

Image captionThe protests have been spontaneous and without a leader

Thousands of sturdy, young men chase bulls – mostly owned by the temples – for prizes during jallikattu held during the harvest festival of Pongal in January. The animals are released from pens, with men supposed to hold on to the animal’s hump for about 15-20 metres or three jumps of the bull to win the prize. Animal rights activists, who support the ban, say the sport is cruel to animals. Nonsense, say the bull owners and supporters: the sport is a 2,000-year-old tradition and a way of life with people in large swathes of Tamil Nadu. They say the animals are, by and large, well looked after. Opinions diverge greatly on the subject. Federal minister Maneka Gandhi has called the festival a day of “violence and killing” where “boys jump on each one (bulls) and try to tear its horns off”. She wrote: “Everyone in India looks down upon it – as civilised people should.” Her comments have attracted a lot of flak. Shyam Krishnakumar, a research associate with Vision India Foundation, says: “This statement typifies a cosmopolitan elitism that considers itself to be modern and progressive and rural India to be backward and barbaric, in need of being saved. There is little effort taken to understand and sincerely engage with their lives and worldviews, there is merely the civilising mission to be force-fed to everyone, for their own good of course.”

‘Bull by the horns’

Activists and bull owners have fought in the courts over the fate of the sport for more than a decade. In 2014, the Supreme Court banned it – and last year upheld the ban after a fresh challenge. But the January protests – “taking the bull by the horns”, as my favourite headline says – is unrivalled in recent memory. They have been spontaneous and not led by any political party. They have cut across Tamil Nadu’s often fractious caste and class lines. Participants include students, info-tech professionals, factory workers, farmers, anti-nuclear activists, and many other ordinary folk. And the protests are no longer just about bulls. There are people angry with the recent currency ban and the shortage of cash and the controversial judicial ordermaking it compulsory to play the national anthem in theatres and for audiences to stand when it is being played. There are people who have protested against a nuclear plant in the state and against GM crops. There are irate drought-hit farmers who feel they are being deprived of their share of water from a river that their state shares with neighbouring Karnataka.

Indian students shout slogans and hold placards during a demonstration against the ban on the Jallikattu bull taming ritual, and calling for a ban on animal rights organisation PETA, at Marina Beach at Chennai on January 19, 2017.Image copyrightAFP

Image captionProtesters say the ban is an attack on Tamil tradition
A bull charges through a crow of Indian participants and bystanders during Jallikattu, an annual bull fighting ritual, on the outskirts of Madurai on January 15, 2017Image copyrightAFP

Image captionBull owners say that the animals are cared for

They share, say many, deeper anxieties about what they feel are assaults on local traditions and cultures by the federal government, judiciary and elites in Delhi. Many of them say they are resisting attempts at “homogenising” India by federal fiats. The protests, many say, represent an inchoate movement, almost like a harbinger of things to come. “Jallikattu is just a trigger. This huge protest is a manifestation of the trust deficit between Tamil people and the federal government and the judiciary,” says historian AR Venkatachalapathy. “They even distrust the media in Delhi which portrays Tamils as some exotic people with weird customs. Many don’t trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP government’s muscular nationalism and recent moves like the currency ban.” Like most uprisings, this is also likely to fizzle out as the authorities try to placate the protesters by bringing in temporary laws to allow the festival this year. But the protests mirror modern-day fears about globalisation and anxieties about loss of identity, living, and culture – and authorities who don’t care. ” says historian AR Venkatachalapathy. “They even distrust the media in Delhi which portrays Tamils as some exotic people with weird customs. Many don’t trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP govern, 000-year-old tradition and a way of life with people in large swathes of Tamil Nadu. They say the animals are, 000-year-old tradition and a way of life with people India, 2017.Image copyrightAFP Image caption Protesters say the ban is an attack on Tamil tradition A bull charges through a crow of Indian participants and bystanders during Jallikattu, 2017.Image copyrightAFP Image caption The protests have been spontaneous and without a leader Thousands of sturdy, 2017Image copyrightAFP Image caption Bull owners say that the animals are cared for They share, a research associate with Vision India Foundation, almost like a harbinger of things to come. “Jallikattu is just a trigger. This huge protest is a manifestation of the trust deficit between Tamil people and the federal government and the judiciary, an annual bull fighting ritual, and calling for a ban on animal rights organisation PETA, and cleaning up the beach in the morning. Until now, and culture – and authorities who don’t care., and many other ordinary folk. And the protests are no longer just about bulls. There are people angry with the recent currency ban and the shortage of cash and the controversial judicial order making, anti-nuclear activists, AR Rahman, as a journalist who is covering the protest says, as my favourite headline says – is unrivalled in recent memory. They have been spontaneous and not led by any political party. They have cut across Tamil Nadu’s often fractious caste and class lines., at Marina Beach at Chennai on January 19, by and large, Chennai, colleges and businesses are shut. Oscar-winning music composer and Tamil Nadu’s most well-known celebrity, deeper anxieties about what they feel are assaults on local traditions and cultures by the federal government, factory workers, farmers, for their own good of course.” ‘Bull by the horns’ Activists and bull owners have fought in the courts over the fate of the sport for more than a decade. In 2014, has tweeted that he’s fasting in support. Cricket and movie stars have backed the movement. An overexcited newspaper report has even called it India’s Arab Spring. That may well be an exaggeration. Bu, in need of being saved. There is little effort taken to understand and sincerely engage with their lives and worldviews, info-tech professionals, is a country of a million little mutinies, it has been a remarkable exhibition of responsible public dissent, judiciary and elites in Delhi. Many of them say they are resisting attempts at “homogenising” India by federal fiats. The protests, known as jallikattu. They say the ban is an attack on their culture and identity. Thousands of largely peaceful men and women – mostly students and workers – have been holding an unprecedented beachsi, largely free of invective and incendiary rhetoric, leaderless and largely peaceful”. Indian students shout slogans and hold placards during a demonstration against the ban on the Jallikattu bull taming ritual, living, many say, on the outskirts of Madurai on January 15, people have demonstrated at more than 150 places. There’s no let up in the momentum as the local government struggles to resolve the crisis: more than a million people are estimated to have protested, reeling with rage and revolt. One such is now brewing in southern Tamil Nadu state, represent an inchoate movement, say many, say the bull owners and supporters: the sport is a 2, say the sport is cruel to animals. Nonsense, says: “This statement typifies a cosmopolitan elitism that considers itself to be modern and progressive and rural India to be backward and barbaric, since Tuesday. They have been sharing food and water, sleeping in the open, Soutik Biswas India correspondent 20 January 2017 From the section India Share A bull about to attack a young contestant at a Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu (file photo)Image copyrightJ SURESH Image caption The sport is a 2, that what began as small protests against the arrest of 200 young men opposing the ban last week has now snowballed into a “mass movement, the Supreme Court banned it – and last year upheld the ban after a fresh challenge. But the January protests – “taking the bull by the horns”, there is merely the civilising mission to be force-fed to everyone, this is also likely to fizzle out as the authorities try to placate the protesters by bringing in temporary laws to allow the festival this year. But the protests mirror modern-day fears about globali, well looked after. Opinions diverge greatly on the subject. Federal minister Maneka Gandhi has called the festival a day of “violence and killing” where “boys jump on each one (bulls) and try to tear, where people have been protesting against a ban on a traditional bull-taming contest, which usually mark protests like these. The state that loves bullfighting but isn’t Spain Jallikattu: Why India bullfighting ban ‘threatens native breeds’ India court bans jallikattu bull fighting fes, who support the ban, with men supposed to hold on to the animal’s hump for about 15-20 metres or three jumps of the bull to win the prize. Animal rights activists, wrote author VS Naipaul, young men chase bulls – mostly owned by the temples – for prizes during jallikattu held during the harvest festival of Pongal in January. 

Social media comes in handy in coordinating Jallikattu stir

Chennai, Jan 19, 2017, (PTI)

For instance, a social media user Manikandan uploaded pictures of protest between Madurai and Theni in 'Jallikattu veeravilayattu' Facebook page. pti file photo
Social media appeared to have played a key role in bringing together thousands of pro-Jallikattu protesters to the sprawling Marina Beach here and other parts of Tamil Nadu, with updates on the ongoing students’ spontaneous stir and messages flooding the platform.

Sites including Facebook were awash with “Let us be united”, “We want Jallikattu,” and “I support Jallikattu” pages, which together account for lakhs of followers, who kept commenting on the evolving situation and pressing their cause.

Facebook pages like “Jallikattu veeravilayattu,” specially designed to spread messages on the bull-taming sport and protest across the state were active with live updates.

Special folk songs were uploaded and real time pictures, videos of protests were posted regularly which helped the information reach more and more people, prompting several of them to join hands.

For instance, a social media user Manikandan uploaded pictures of protest between Madurai and Theni in ‘Jallikattu veeravilayattu’ Facebook page.

A college student here, R Sukumar, said he joined the protests on the Marina Beach responding to a campaign in Facebook by several other students.

Balakumar Somu, in his Facebook post said, “I see protests in so many places, from the metros to small towns & villages. So happy to be a part of the enlightened Tamil youth @Tirupur (Collector’s office).”

Also, posts like “No Jallikattu, no vote” and “save native cattle” dominated social media sites.

Each Jallikattu protest and information related to it got thousands of “likes” on Facebook.
A blogger said, “Jallikattu is not bullfight…PeTA should stop equating the sport with bull fighting.”

In Twitter, hashtags like “justice for jallikattu,” “save our culture jallikattu” continued to trend through the day with countless messages.

Also, messages like “I can arrange dinner, lunch for protestors,” “I can provide drinking water please contact…” were also abound, indicating how the students were organising and managing the protests.

Jallikattu row: Social media comes in handy in co-ordinating stir

PTI 

Chennai: Social media appeared to have played a key role in bringing together thousands of pro-Jallikattu protesters to the sprawling Marina Beach in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, with updates on the ongoing students’ spontaneous stir and messages flooding the platform.

Students gather in Coimbatore to protest against Union Government and against the ban on Jallikattu. PTI

Sites including Facebook were awash with “Let us be united”, “We want Jallikattu,” and “I support Jallikattu” pages, which together account for lakhs of followers, who kept commenting on the evolving situation and pressing their cause.

Facebook pages like “Jallikattu veeravilayattu,” specially designed to spread messages on the bull-taming sport and protest across the state were active with live updates.

Special folk songs were uploaded and real time pictures, videos of protests were posted regularly which helped the information reach more and more people, prompting several of them to join hands.

For instance, a social media user Manikandan uploaded pictures of protest between Madurai and Theni in ‘Jallikattu veeravilayattu’ Facebook page.

A college student here, R Sukumar, said he joined the protests on the Marina Beach responding to a campaign in Facebook by several other students.

Balakumar Somu, in his Facebook post said, “I see protests in so many places, from the metros to small towns & villages. So happy to be a part of the enlightened Tamil youth @Tirupur (Collector’s office).”

Also, posts like “No Jallikattu, no vote” and “save native cattle” dominated social media sites.

Each Jallikattu protest and information related to it got thousands of “likes” on Facebook.

A blogger said, “Jallikattu is not bullfight…PeTA should stop equating the sport with bull fighting.”

In Twitter, hashtags like “justice for jallikattu,” “save our culture jallikattu” continued to trend through the day with countless messages.

Also, messages like “I can arrange dinner, lunch for protestors,” “I can provide drinking water please contact…” were also abound, indicating how the students were organising and managing the protests.

Meet the campaigners behind the Jallikattu uprising

Logo

INDIA Updated: Jan 19, 2017 07:20 IST

Hindustan Times, Chennai
Highlight Story(From left top clockwise) BalakumarSomu, Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, P Rajasekaran and Himakiran Anugula are the key faces behind the hi-tech Jallikattu campaign in Chennai.(HT Photo)The spontaneous Jallikattu uprising in Tamil Nadu is in fact the result of four years of sustained hard work by a group of men who used modern communication tools to garner support for the protest.

It all began with a modest protest on Marina beach with 15 participants in 2013 that has now become a mass movement in Tamil Nadu. These warriors roped in youths, cutting across caste, class and region barriers, and encourage them to join the mass agitation.

Himakiran Alagula is a professional from Chennai with rural roots and is an owner of a bull. In 2013, he got interested in Jallikattu and got in touch with Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Federation president P Rajasekharan, who has been fighting for the sport for over 10 years.

Alagula also teamed up with Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, who heads the Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation near Tirupur. Slowly others began to join the fight.

Another professional and businessman from Coimbatore, Balakumar Somu, too, joined the team that prepared the blueprint for the battle.

“We organised seminars, workshops, cattle fairs, meetings, and distributed pamphlets and reading material among college and school students, educating them about the native breeds, agricultural practices. And when they realized the true reason for holding Jallikattu, more support started pouring in,” said Alagula.

Over the years, support for the three organisations — Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Federation, Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation and Biodiversity Conservation Council of India (formed by professionals in India and abroad) — grew and what you see on the Marina beach or in different parts of the state is a result of a sustained effort since 2013, Alagula said.

“It is the failure of the central government to facilitate the native sport and the abusive campaign carried out by PETA against the Tamils that exploded into an outburst of emotional protest,” said Alagula.

“We created awareness through Twitter and Facebook, seminars in colleges and lectures at institutions. The real spark that ignited the anger of the people was the abusive negative campaign by PETA and central government’s indifference,” said another Jallikattu warrior.

WhatsApp, too, came handy for the campaigners.

It was a television programme in January last year that the warriors dominated. It was followed by Hiphop Tamizha, who did a Tamil video song that went viral. It garnered more support from within India and abroad.

Sri Ganesh, the Chennai-coordinator for the Chennai Memes, one of the sites that was extensively used by Jallikattu warriors to spread their message said, “Jallikattu is our cultural heritage. It’s not just one generation at Marina beach, but Tamils from all ages and backgrounds.

Sunday story: Locked Horns

Written in The Indian Express by Arun Janardhanan Updated: Jan 17, 2016, 7:40

With the SC refusing to vacate the stay on Jallikattu, Arun Janardhanan visits a cattle shelter in Coimbatore, home to over 200 stud bulls. The goshala and its inmates tell the story of a rural tradition that is fast ceding space to new realities.

Jallikattu ban, Supreme Court jallikattu, Jallikattu tamil nadu, tamil nadu jallikattu, jallikattu supreme court, supreme court news, india news, sunday story

The velliangiri goshala in coimbatore has some 1,400cattle, including 204 Jallikattu bulls. (Photos by Arun Janardhanan)

Karappu Ram has done it all — jumped over eight-foot-high double barricades and spun his hapless opponents around as they tried to hang on to his huge, dark hump. Almost always, Ram left the vaadivasal, the entrance to the Jallikattu bull-fight arena, with a shake of his head — sign that he had won.

Ram, his shiny black coat earning him the ‘karappu (black)’ in his name, was the designated temple bull of Rangarajapuram village near Alaganallur in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. As stud bull, he was much in demand for servicing the cows of the village and those of neighbouring villages. Since, traditionally, temple bulls are changed once in three years to prevent inbreeding, Ram was relieved of his duties as temple bull in 2014. K Suresh, his owner who is also a farmer and bull tamer, had sold Ram to his friend N Karthick, who later sold him to the Velliangiri goshala on the foothills of Siruvani hills, about 40 km from Coimbatore and many more kilometres from his home in Madurai.

At the Velliangiri shelter, Ram is now one of 204 bulls, all native breeds who spend their day tethered to two ropes, munching on hay and fodder. In a little over a year, life had changed drastically for Ram.

In May 2014, after the Supreme Court banned Jallikattu, distress sales of bulls followed in Madurai and other districts. Farmers sold their bulls for as little as
Rs 20,000 each against the asking price of Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. That’s when P Siva Ganesh, who owns a textile shop in the city, decided to “rescue them from ending up in the slaughter houses of Kerala” and bring them to his Velliangiri goshala.

Most of the Jallikattu bulls in Tamil Nadu belong to the Kangayam breed, one of the five existing pure breeds of the state. They are stud bulls like Ram, considered the most virile and now used only for mating and during Jallikattu. These native breeds were once sturdy farm hands, used for ploughing the land before the machines replaced them.

Tamil Nadu’s five native breeds are all work animals. While the bulls served as temple animals and the oxen ploughed the farms, the cows were reared for household use and for breeding. The cows, though, yield less milk, barely a litre or two, unlike north Indian and central Indian breeds that yield up to 15 litres of milk a day. For some years now, with modernisation and farm mechanisation, the native breeds have been under threat. The ban on Jallikattu, say activists who are working to restore the sport and those working to save native breeds, will complete the rout.

“Despite being a water-starved state, if farmer suicides did not shake up Tamil Nadu, it’s because we were livestock keepers. It was this livestock that sustained us. But when the tractors came in, most of the native breeds were gradually phased out. Though people had little other reason to keep them, Jallikattu was what inspired them. With the ban, that purpose too has been lost,” says Balakumar Somu, a Coimbatore-based animal rights activist and member of a Jallikattu organising committee in Madurai.

Somu says goshalas such as the one in Coimbatore is just not the place for stud bulls. “Goshalas have been taking away hundreds of bulls for a pittance from poor farmers, all in the name of conservation. Keeping them in sheds without letting them graze or mate itself is cruelty. No breed will sustain through such conservation methods,” he says.

Suresh, the first owner of Karappu Ram, says that for villagers like him, the Jallikattu bulls are “more than just animals, they are divine”.

“After we sold Ram to my friend and he sold it to the goshala, our village has been facing many setbacks. The village elders recently met and decided Ram should be brought back. We are still trying to get him back to our village temple,” he says.

After Ram was sold to the goshala, an unfortunate set of events followed in Rangarajapuram village — two bulls that succeeded Ram as temple bulls died in quick succession. The villagers saw this as some kind of divine warning so they decided to get Ram back. A group of villagers then travelled to the Coimbatore goshala, pleading for Ram to be returned. “The entire village has been asking for Ram to be brought back. I told the goshala owner that I can pay any amount for Ram. We also offered to give them two Jallikattu bulls in exchange for Ram. But they refused,” says Suresh, who even sought the police’s help to get his bull back.

“Look at the way Ram is being kept now. Tied so close to other bulls. They are not allowed to graze or mate. Wasn’t it better to send them to the slaughter houses?,” he asks.

Raja Manickam, a farm worker and bull tamer from a village near Palamedu in Madurai, says that owners often thought of their bulls as family.
“I sold my bull in 2014. Until then, he used to share the living quarters with us. The last few years were tough but some owners kept their bulls and fed them, hoping the ban will be lifted and their bulls will fight. Jallikattu bulls are a symbol of pride not just for their owners but for the villages they represent. If there’s no Jallikattu, I don’t know why people will keep these bulls,” he says.

It was this emotional support for Jallikattu that got the BJP to sense a political opportunity ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections this year. On January 8, a week before Pongal, the Centre issued a notification to allow the bull-taming sport. The Jallikattu belt of Tamil Nadu is dominated by OBC groups such as the politically powerful Thevars and the Maravars, who form a crucial vote bank.

Back at the Velliangiri goshala, Jayamani, 35, is among six workers from Madurai who came here about a year ago with his five bulls. “I sold all my bulls to the goshala and got a job too,” he says.

Jayamani knows the bulls by their names, their breeds and their villages. He walks up to ‘Virumaandi’ Ramu, the goshala’s ageing superstar. In the 2004 hit Virumaandi, Kamal Hasaan had hung onto Ramu’s hump in one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, shot live among charging bulls and bull-fighters. A decade later, Ramu, now 20, seems frail. “He is old now. A 20-year-old bull is as young or old as a 40-year-old man,” says Jayamani.

Then, there’s the “killer”. Jayamani doesn’t reveal his name. “He has killed at least seven people. He used to throw people up in the air. Nobody could hang on to his hump for even a second. And from the minute he started running through the vaadivasal, he wouldn’t pause even for a moment,” says Jayamani.

That was then. ‘Killer’ now stands beside Jayamani, calmly chewing on his cud. That’s all he does these days, sharing his row with with nine other stud bulls.
K Paramasivam, 60, who looks after the sprawling farm that houses over a thousand cattle, says the bulls are not allowed to graze or mate. “If we allow them to mate, they will turn violent. But it’s not as if we are denying them their freedom. Everyday, we take 20 of them in batches for swimming and walking,” he says.
Paramasivam’s nephew Siva Ganesh, the owner of the goshala, says that it was his “pure love for animals” that made him “rescue” Jallikattu bulls. “I have some 1,400 cattle in my goshala, including 204 Jallikattu bulls. I spend around Rs 27,300 a day on the Jallikattu bulls alone and spend Rs 1.5 lakh a day on running this farm. I don’t accept any donations. I run this goshala with money from my textile shop. I don’t know how I have been managing… It’s a miracle,” he says.
However, in August last year, Siva Ganesh was in the news when the Kerala Cattle Merchants’ Association announced a strike, alleging that his men were seizing animals from their trucks in the name of animal rights and taking them to private farms in Coimbatore.

They alleged that 14 loads (each load worth around Rs 4 lakh) of cows were “stolen” by his men from Tamil Nadu’s highways. Siva Ganesh dismisses those allegations, saying, “Most of the 1,400 cattle in my goshala have been rescued from markets and trucks. We have the support of the Animal Welfare Board of India,” he says.

He also dismisses allegations that he exports the semen of these native breeds. “I am a rich man. I don’t need money from such methods. I am only protecting them from the slaughter houses,” he says.

Conservationists and those seeking to revive Jallikattu, however, disagree with the Velliangiri model of ‘conservation’.

Himakiran Anugula, an organic farmer, entrepreneur and trustee of Senaapathy Kanngayam Cattle Research Foundation, says keeping stud bulls tied day and night is the “highest form of cruelty”. “They are stud bulls and they need their space and shouldn’t be tied so close to each other. They need to mate at least once a week, sometimes more. When the Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2014, several bulls were sold by farmers and bought by traders from Kerala. If the ban continues for one or two years, we are in great danger of losing native breeds such as Pulikulam forever,” he says.

Somu, the animal rights activist who is “striving to restore Jallikattu”, says, “When the Velliangiri goshala purchased these bulls from farmers in distress, their claim was conservation. They promised that they would return these bulls whenever the owners asked for them. But I have been trying to help these villagers get back their bulls for several weeks now, but strangely, the goshala has been refusing,” he says.

Goshala staff say that after the January 8 Central notification lifting the ban on Jallikattu, many people approached them for the bulls. “The villagers were ready to pay anything to take back their bulls. But we decided not to give them away as they could be again tortured,” says Nizamuddin, one of the caretakers of the goshala.

G Tamilvendan from Alaganallur village, 18 km from Madurai town, is glad he didn’t give away his bulls, Maruthu and Ramu. But he isn’t sure what the future holds for him and his bulls. “The tractor came and replaced our bulls from our farms. Now the court has banned Jallikattu. But we cannot replace our traditional festivals and beliefs with machines, can we? What do we do now?” he asks.

The Jallikattu Belt
Mainly the districts of Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul.

The game, gain 
Besides the pride involved in being the owner of the best bull, the bull owner who wins the duel gets a dhoti, towel, betel leaves, bananas and token cash — rarely more than Rs 101 — on a silver plate. Mixer-grinders, refrigerators and furniture have been added to the list of prizes over the years. Jallikattu events had come down from around 6,000 a decade ago to just two dozen in 2014, when the last Jallikattu happened.

The case so far
In 1991, the Environment Ministry had banned the training and exhibition of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and dogs. In 2011, the ministry issued a fresh notification, which specifically included “bulls”. In May 2014, a petition by animal rights organisation PETA and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) led the the Supreme Court to rule that “bulls cannot be allowed as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the state of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.” By doing so, the SC upheld the Centre’s 2011 notification. In January 2016, the Centre, seeking to overturn the SC ban on Jallikattu, modified its 2011 order and issued a notification saying Jallikattu, a sport traditionally played in Tamil Nadu during Pongal, can be held this year. After animal rights groups and AWBI challenged the move in the SC, the court gave an interim stay, preventing Jallikattu.

The arguments
AGAINST: In their petition to court, AWBI and PETA had submitted photographs and video footage of animals being tortured and injured during Jallikattu events. They argued that bull taming events have no religious or cultural or historical significance in Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra.
FOR: Jallikattu supporters say that the sport encourages the conservation of native breeds. Jallikattu, they say, is part of rural tradition and that animals are rarely tortured.

This news article has been reproduced from The Indian Express (Online edition) – Written by Arun Janardhanan  dated: Jan 17, 2016

The original article can be accessed at : http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/sunday-story-locked-horns/#sthash.ms4IjzSd.dpuf