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

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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.

Jallikattu protest leader Balakumar Somu calls ban an insult to Tamil sentiments

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Exclusive: Jallikattu protest leader Balakumar Somu calls ban an insult to Tamil sentiments

 Take a look at this exclusive interview to understand the mass Tamil protest against the Jallikattu ban

Rural livelihoods ride on Jallikattu

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai January 14, 2016 Last Updated at 00:21 IST, Business Standard

Photo: Amshudhagar/Wikipedia

Photo: Amshudhagar/Wikipedia

Organisers have said the Supreme Court’s refusal to revoke the ban on Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu’s bull taming sport, will affect thousands of farmers dependent on this breed of cattle for their livelihood. A winning bull can fetch a farmer as much as Rs 2 lakh.

The apex court has dismissed petitions supporting the sport, among the oldest in the world, for this week’s Pongal season. celebrated last week on news that the had been permitted. As preparations were on for Pongal, animal rights activists approached the seeking the ban be upheld. The court subsequently refused to stay its decision on a plea by the Tamil Nadu government.

is organised in 24 places between January 14 and January 17 in Tamil Nadu. An event can raise up to Rs 15 lakh in a village, says Balakumar Somu, a member of a Jallikattu organising committee. A technology professional, Somu quit a job in Singapore, relocated to Coimbatore and started a website supporting Jallikattu.

According to him, a farmer invests Rs 5,000-10,000 to buy a calf and his family nurtures it for 18 months into a healthy bull. Jallikattu is a platform to find buyers. Bulls that win can fetch their owners Rs 1.5-2 lakh. The buyers are rich people who employ 5-6 hands to maintain the bulls. These hands, mostly women, are paid Rs 800-900 a week.The other set of people affected are artisans. In many villages a major source of income comes from creating decorative items, including special ropes, for the bulls and for the race. Jallikattu may be a three-day festival, but it is a source of income for farmers throughout the year, Somu points out.

Organisers spend anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 20 lakh to organise a Jallikattu. The money is spent on preparing the ground, deposit money and gifts that include motorcycles, gold coins, bicycles, steel almirahs, sheep and goats. Local brands advertise at these events and the merchandise includes coffee mugs, posters, coasters and bedsheets.

A state government official says it is a myth that Jallikattu brings in tourism revenue. All shops and hotels are shut during the festival and most people at a Jallikattu event are from surrounding villages.

The ban will also affect special cattle breeds used in Jallikattu, including the Kangeyam bulls. “The banning of Jallikattu will ultimately result in the vanishing of native species and the country becoming import dependent for bovine animals,” says Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, managing trustee, Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation.

The foundation works on preservation of native cattle breeds. Sivasenapathy says the population of Kangayam cattle has come down from 1.1 million in 1990 to around 100,000 now.

This news article has been reproduced from Business Standard, Chennai (Online edition) . The original article can be accessed at : http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/rural-livelihoods-ride-on-jallikattu-116011400060_1.html

Ban horse racing, dog shows too, demand Jallikattu supporters

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times, Chennai | Updated: Jan 13, 2016 13:00 IST

File photo showing participants trying to tame a bull during Jallikattu festival, organised as part of the Pongal festival, at Alanganallur near Madurai on Thursday (PTI)

After animal rights activists successfully torpedoed Jallikattu for this year, by obtaining a stay on holding of the bull taming sport in Tamil Nadu, its supporters have begun to question the elitist stance of the urban educated and affluent sections of the society that remains silent on horse racing.

Seeking a similar ban on horse racing on similar grounds of cruelty, Karithikeya Sivasenapathy, chief of the Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation (SKCRF) based in Tiruppur said that race horse breeders shoot and kill eight of the ten horse calves that do not make the grade of race steeds.

The same animal rights activists, Peta, People for Animals or even Animal Welfare Board of India do not speak one word against horse racing because of the huge sponsorships, big money and high profile people involved with the sport, he alleged and charged them with an elitist bias in targeting the farmers and villagers who are often poor and unorganized and inarticulate.

But the Jallikattu organisers are getting around this problem and have got themselves articulate English speaking faces. Software engineer Balakumar Somu is a member of the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Peravai, Madurai, that organizes the bull taming sport in the region and runs a twitter campaign , we want Jallikattu. He lives and works at Coimbatore, though.

Other youngsters like him are also coming around to articulate the feelings, sentiments, pains and problems of the farming community for whom Jallikattu is much more than a mere sport.

Balakumar is blunt in questioning the very elitist bias in ‘targetting of the Jallikattu”. He calls for a ban on all sports that involve animals – whether it is horse racing or dog shows. “Ban everything or do not ban anything,” is his punchline as he holds forth on the attack against the rural, agrarian society from the MNCs through animal rights bodies such as Peta and Animal Welfare Board of India.

Balakumar also has a problem with the media that dubs Jallikattu as barbaric and bloody. Has anyone seen the sport? They are just giving it a bad name and killing it, Balakumar said echoing the sentiments of several Jallikattu supporters.

The animal rights activists never question horse racing or dog shows, where corporate bigwigs participate, Balakumar said. The same PETA never talks about temple elephants, some of which go mad and kill people, because of the inhuman treatment meted out to them.

Balakumar or for that matter, Himakuran Anugula, author, researcher and cattle breeder based in Chennai, charge these elitist activists with targeting poor farmers and taking away their livelihood.

They are not corporate farmers, they are landless laborers grazing cattle, by hitting at Jallikattu.

This ancient sport is much more than a sport, he said, adding this is how the bulls are chosen for stud services. In villages, often the temple bull, chosen after Jallikattu, is used to service the village cows.

The Jallikattu ban thus attacks the rural life in many ways, which must not be allowed, he said.

Raja Marthandan, an XLRI management graduate and previously owning a transport business, has now completely moved into organic farming. Now 35, he has been into Jallikattu ever since he got a prized bull as a gift for getting 93 per cent in Plus Two examination, some 18 years ago.

He does not see conspiracy theories like others, who see a sinister design of MNCs through animal rights activists in destroying Jallikattu, Marthandan certainly agrees that it has become fashionable to declare self as an animal rights activist. “Oh I saved a puppy today,” kind of activists never understand the many faceted Jallikattu and what it means to the people, he said adding Jallikattu is an event held to identify best of the breed of bull – all breeds are bred across the world on selective breeding – and later used to service the cows. It is the progeny of the Jallikattu bull that are used for work.

Now the campaign for Jallikattu will become slicker, smarter and bigger, said another activist.

This news article has been reproduced from Hindustan Times, Chennai (Online edition) . The original article can be accessed at : http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/ban-horse-racing-dog-shows-too-demand-jallikattu-supporters/story-bVpbHnaHxsXxSfMNQXmWXL.html 

 

 

 

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