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Tamil Nadu takes steps to allow for bull-taming sport ‘Jallikattu’

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Saturday, 10 January 2015 – 2:45pm IST | Place: Chennai | Agency: PTI

With demands galore in the state for holding the bull-taming sport of ‘Jallikattu’ coinciding with ‘Pongal’ harvest festival,Tamil Nadu government today assured steps for conducting the popular event, including asking Centre to remove bulls from a specific list of animals to facilitate the same. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said steps have been taken to expedite hearing on a review petition filed by the state government against a Supreme Court order of banning ‘Jallikattu.’

In a detailed statement, Panneerselvam recalled the legal battle between Jallikattu enthusiasts and animal welfare activists over holding the sport in the past, which was allowed by the High Court with restrictions, before Supreme Court completely banned it in May last year. The government had filed a review petition which is pending before the apex court and it will now file a petition seeking speedy disposal of the same, he said.

Incidentally, the Animal Welfare division of the Union Environment Ministry under the UPA government in 2011 had issued a notification banning the use of bulls as performing animals under Section 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Chief Minister said.

Panneerselvam said on January seven this year, the state government officials had met their Union Environment Ministry counterparts in Delhi and sought for removal of bulls from the aforesaid Act. The government had also sought changes to the 1960 Act in order to hold Jallikattu without any hurdles, he said.

“The state government officials will visit Delhi once again on January 12 to seek removing bulls from the list. I hope the Central government will issue a notification (in this regard) immediately. If so, it will help the state government issue a notification for holding Jallikattu,” without affecting the Supreme Court verdict, he said.

This news article has been reproduced from “DNA” (Online edition) – dated  10 January 2015 .
The original article can be accessed at : http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-tamil-nadu-takes-steps-to-allow-for-bull-taming-sport-jallikattu-2051354

TN favours lifting of ban on jallikattu, to seek Centre’s help to remove bulls from notified list

,TNN | Jan 10, 2015, 05.08 PM IST

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday put the onus on the Centre to permit the conduct of jallikattu, a famous bull sport in the districts held during the Pongal (harvest) festival. The Supreme Court in May last year banned jallikattu after animal activists alleged cruelty to bulls. With the Pongal season round the corner, demands have been pouring in from several groups for permission to hold the event.

In a statement, chief minister O Panneerselvam said a team of state government officials would meet Union environment ministry officials in New Delhi on January 12 and insist that the Centre remove the ban on bulls being used for the sport. The Animal Welfare division of the Union Environment Ministry under the UPA government in 2011 had issued a notification banning the use of bulls as performing animals under section 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Chief Minister said.

“We hope the Centre will heed to our request and once that is done, we will take steps to conduct jallikattu without violating the Supreme Court order banning the sport,” said Panneerselvam. Animal activists point out that the move would go against the spirit of the SC order. “There have been demands from several sections seeking state government intervention for smooth conduct of the sport this Pongal and I assure them that the government will take all steps in this regard,” said the chief minister.

Recalling the history of cases against jallikattu in various courts, the chief minister said a review petition filed by Tamil Nadu government against the ban order is still pending with the apex court. “Apart from filing a review petition, the government is also taking steps to make the Union environment ministry lift the ban on use of bulls. Our officials in New Delhi are in touch with the advocates to list the case at the earliest in Supreme Court to speed up the hearing of the review petition,” said Panneerselvam.

“On January 7, a team of senior officials met their counterparts in the environment ministry and stressed for removal of the ban. Based on our demand, ministry officials have apprised Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and given us hope that an order would be issued in favour of jallikattu,” said the chief minister.

This news article has been reproduced from “The Times of india” (Online edition) – dated  10 Jan 2015.
The original article can be accessed at : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/TN-favours-lifting-of-ban-on-jallikattu-to-seek-Centres-help-to-remove-bulls-from-notified-list/articleshow/45834685.cms

Cultural Genocide !

 I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in the country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, 1835

The British followed the above words to the letter to enslave India – body, mind and soul! Even after 68 years since they officially left India, this practice has been kept alive by the so-called intellectuals. Educated in western philosophy of capitalism and consumerism, these self-professed intellectuals are furthering the causes of the westerners, MNCs and the rich using the same philosophy.

The Tamils living in India have been at the receiving end for quite some time now. It appears as if there has been a choreographed/planned decimation of the ancient Tamil culture and traditions. Under the garb of modernisation, literacy and cultural upliftment, forces with vested interests have been pushing capitalism, consumerism and westernisation. To captivate Tamilnadu’s huge middle-class with their burgeoning incomes and deep pockets, they are brainwashing them into self-destruction. On issues that they are not able to achieve satisfactory results, they target them with law-suits and other unfair means.

Tamil is the oldest living language and has a rich cultural heritage. One of the most tolerent races in the world, Tamil culture has withstood assault from almost all religions, languages and cultures. They have contributed so much to the world and also assimilated a lot from other languages and cultures. It is yet another harrowing era for Tamils all over the world today. They have been subjected to genocide perpetrated by the Srilankan Government in which hundreds of thousands were massacered, their lands grabbed, temples demolished, names of places renamed in Sinhala. Sadly a cultural genocide in Sri Lanka is continuing till date.

Things are not better off for Tamils living in India either. Their culture and traditions have been the target of ridicule for quite some time now. Being the mother of all languages and traditions of India, the traditions followed in Tamilnadu are quite similar to those followed in the North India. While the traditions of North India are revered, glorified and protected, the very same traditions are being ridiculed and phased out in Tamilnadu.

Holi is the festival of colours celebrated in the North. A similar, ‘Manjal Thanneer’ tradition was followed in Tamilnadu. People would mix turmeric in water and pour the yellow water on other people during the local Mariamman temple festivals. It was meant to be an ice-breaker in a society that kept men and women apart. So young men and women would come out to pour yellow water over their cousins and friends. This used to be a day of fun and frolic for the whole village, just like we have fun on Holi.

However, more and more restrictions were imposed on this simple tradition citing petty reasons. The neo-elite society has now virtually banned this tradition all over Tamilnadu over the last decade. At the same time, the same so-called elites have been glorifying Holi and they have been celebrating holi in all street corners !

An Indian Native Bull
A fine specimen of an Indian Native breed Stud bull. Only stud bulls are used for ‘Jallikattu’.

Every village and town of Tamilnadu has its Goddess Mariamman, the equivalent of Durga. Every temple has an annual celebration which would range from a few days to a month. This period used to be days of fun, excitement, adventure and cultural rejuvenation. There would be local fairs, games, circus would come to town etc. Each and every household would invite all their relatives and it would be a time for a family reunion as well. During this period we had the practice of ‘Vesham Katturathu’ wherein men would disguise themselves as some mythical, real or animal character and go around entertaining people. These performers were usually from the lower income bracket of the society and they would sing and dance. They would be rewarded for their performance and this was a considerable source of income for them. You can find people performing as all kinds of characters – Gypsys dance was very popular and so was ‘Puli Vesham’ (Tiger dance), ‘Mayil Aatam’ (Peacock dance) etc. Over centuries, these perfomances had developed into an art form that was unique to Tamilnadu. ‘Puli Vesham’, especially, had developed into an art that combined acrobatic skills and dancing skills performed with the antics of a Tiger that would leave the audience awestruck! There were days when we were kids the whole locality would converge to see an adhoc street performance of ‘Puli Vesham’. Then there were Ganeshas, Murugans, Shivas, Bears, etc etc. Just like with ‘Manjal Thanneer’, permits were made mandatory for this performance, more and more restrictions were put in place, till one fine day people just gave up !

Jallikattu Action
This simple, harmless rural sport has recently come under fire by urbanites who seldom leave the comfort of their couch, to go see the real game !

The tirade against Tamils never seems to end! Now the so-called ‘elite’ have leashed a new wave of attacks targetting rural sports. Steeped in thousands of years of cultural evolution, Tamils have several rural sports including contact sports, sports using domesticated animals and birds, human-animal contact sports etc. The most famous among these rural sports is ‘Jallikattu’, a human-animal contact sport wherein unarmed sportsman tries to embrace a bull for a maximum period of 10 seconds. This has been and still continues to be a rural sport. Ignorant of what this sport actually is, the neo-elite, fancying themselves as animal rights activists are now up in arms against this harmless sport.

Bull being embraced in a Jallikattu event
Bulls are embraced in this sport for a period of about 10 seconds or till the bull crosses the 50 feet marker !

Jallikattu’, which has over 4000 years of recorded history, is conducted in the Indian states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra pradesh, during local temple festivals, and also during Pongal. There are different versions and local variations of this simple sport, varying from region to region. This is aninnocuous human-animal contact sport that is conducted as a part of the local temple festivities. It was never a spectator sport and was not intended to be conducted as an individual sport for the purpose of entertainment. The bull is considered scared by Hindus and harming the bull in any manner is unacceptable to them. The bull is usually let loose on the temple grounds. The ‘prize’ is usually a towel tied between its horns. Unarmed sportsmen try to embrace the bull and untie the towel. The sportsman who gets hold of the towel will be declared victor. If not, the bull is considered the winner. The bulls are revered and honored by the villagers. One traveling around Tamilnadu can see several statues built for Temple bulls and bulls belonging to other families dotting the rural landscape. These temple bulls are worshiped as Gods and pujas are conducted for them round the year.

Temple bui;lt for a Bull
Temples, such as these, built to honour bulls dot the Tamilnadu rural landscape.

Ignorance is bliss”

Self-proclaimed ‘elitists’, under the garb of animal rights activists are now holding this tradition to ransom. Ignorant of the sport, its value, its cultural, economical contributions to the rural society, these urbanites who have never even bothered to visit a village to see a ‘Jallikattu’ event live are the ones in the forefront of vilifying this rich cultural tradition of Tamilnadu. They are also ignorant of the fact that Jallikattu bulls are the village stud bulls and these native breed cows offer much healthier A2 milk. The Tamil society has been fighting these imperialist groups for over a decade now. The damage is already visible. A native cattle breed of South India, Alambadi, a trotting variety known for endurance is now officially extinct! Two more native cattle breeds are facing extinction. A ban on ‘Jallikattu’ will ensure speedy extinction of several native cattle breeds of South India. The ban on Jallikattu has meant that these highly valuable stud bulls have nowhere to go other than slaughter houses!

Anything proferred by the West ‘should be the best solution’ and those following their age-old Indian customs, tradition and culture should be ‘liberated’, profess these so-called animal rights activists.

Having already lost so many of its rich cultural traditions, the Tamils are being pushed to the wall again. Each time this happened in the past, the tolerant Tamils just gave up! This time there is too much at stake to just give up and walk away. Will the Tamils rise up to face the challenge at last?

Article by Balakumar Somu. The author can be reached at balasomu@jallikattu.in

Ban on Jallikattu : PETA’s affront on Hinduism

righteous person follows ahimsa or non-violence to any living being by thought, word or deed and possesses tolerance towards others with an unperturbed mind even if they are antagonistic.” – Bhagavad Gita

Temple for bull
A temple built in honour of a temple bull in Pulankurichi, Sivagangai district, India.

 

Of late, It has become a fad to ridicule Hinduism. The oldest and most tolerant religion which never professes propagation is at the receiving end from every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to make a fashion statement.

It has reached such a state today that anything associated with Hinduism is branded as ‘backward’, ‘superstitious’, ‘illiterate’ or even ‘barbaric’. Similar traditions and customs followed by the religious minorities are encouraged under the garb of ‘minority rights’ (read secularism). The very same self-professed, know-all intellectuals are scared to open their mouth about the customs and traditions of the minorities for fear of incurring their wrath.

Ingrained with the virtue of tolerance, Hindus just tolerate any kind of abuse thrown at them. With no single God, no single scripture and no single path to follow, Hinduism gives its followers maximum freedom to follow their chosen path. This benign aspect, considered a boon to its followers, is now their bane. They have been conditioned to tolerate anything thrown at them. If at all they make any noise, the intellectuals paint the issue as ‘caste’ based. ‘Caste’ being taboo, Hindus become reluctant to associate themselves with the issue.

One of the major assaults on Hinduism in recent times, is PETA’s affront on Hindus’ relationship with the Cow. Unlike the Western world which views its cows as walking hamburgers, the cow is considered sacred to Hindus. Cow is worshipped as ‘Kamadhenu’, the God that grants all wishes. ‘Nandi’, a bull, is Lord Shiva’s companion and stands in penance overlooking Lord Shiva in all his temples. Most Hindus are vegetarian and those who are not do not eat beef. Being predominantly farmers, their major relationship with the animal world has been with cattle. Cows have been reared for milk and bulls/ oxen, their work companions.

Woman and Bull
An Indian woman with her bull. A cow/bull is considered as a member of the family. The whole family showers its love and affection on it as if it were their own child.

Hindus celebrate several festivals throughout the year to honour their cattle. The most prominent among them being ‘Makar Sankranti’ celebrated all over India. It is celebrated as ‘Pongal’, the harvest festival, in Tamilnadu, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Maldives and by Tamils all over the world.

Honouring the Cow, including bulls, oxen and calves, is a part of all Hindu religious festivals. They are decked with colourful garlands, horns painted and brought to temples for puja. A puja is also done to the cow. During a house-warming ceremony, a Cow and a calf are the first ones that enter into the house, as Hindus believe that Cow is the mother of all Gods. Temples in South India have statues of their temple bulls. There are even temples built for bulls. Hindus also honour the cow by having some innocuous activities associated with the temple festivals like ‘Jallikattu’, ‘Eruthottam’, bullock cart racing, bull racing, cattle shows etc.

One such sport, ‘Jallikattu’, is conducted in the Indian states Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra pradesh, during local temple festivals, and also during Pongal. This is a harmless humal-animal contact sport that is conducted as a part of the temple festivities and not an individual sport conducted for entertainment. It has over 4000 years of recorded history. The bull is usually let loose on the temple grounds. The ‘prize’, if it can be called that, is usually a towel tied between its horns. Unarmed sportsmen who get hold of the towel will be declared victor. If the bulls returns home – the bull usually finds its way back home by itself – with the towel intact, the bull is considered the winner. Almost every temple in the 13 districts, constituting the ‘Jallikattu belt’, of Tamilnadu have permanent structures called ‘Vadi’ or the ‘starting gates’ for the bulls, standing evidence to the fact that this was indeed a part and parcel of Hindu tradition.

This historic sport is now the target of a sinister campaign by PETA which seems to have some hidden agenda in getting the sport banned. PETA has succeeded in getting this traditional sport banned by taking the legal route. PETA has been throwing all kinds of wild allegations against the innocuous temple tradition. PETA has been vilifying the harmless sport as ‘barbaric’ and has been further misleading the public, majority of whom have never visited or seen a Jallikattu, by equating this to spanish bull fights. Unlike bull fights taking place in other parts of the world, where the bull is tortured and killed, in Jallikattu the bull is not harmed at all. The tamil name ‘Aeru Thazhuvudal’ translates to ‘Embracing the Bull’! That is the true spirit of the game. The sportsman tries to embrace the bull by its hump – trying to hold the bull by its horns, neck, leg or tail will lead to disqualification – for a maximum of about 5 to 10 seconds.

Statue of Temple Bull
A statue built in a temple at Trichy for a temple bull. People worship a temple bull when alive and even after it passes away.

When travelling across the rural countryside of Tamilnadu, one would come across numerous statues of temple bulls built inside the temple premises. These statues are usually built about a year after the death of the temple bull. They usually sport the real horns of the bull, exhumed in an elaborate ceremony conducted after about a year. The Hindus worship these bulls as God – when alive and even after they die. Death of a temple bull is considered as a loss of a family member of the whole village. All the villagers gather and perform the last rites for the temple bull as they would do when their bretheren passes away. Religious and non-religious festivals like marriages are not celebrated for the next 16 days as the village goes into mourning.

Temple Vadi
A temple ‘Vadi’ or starting gate lying in a state of disuse and decay due to PETA’s assault of this Hindu temple tradition.

To achieve its goal of getting this Hindu religious activity banned, PETA has resorted to character assasination of not just the sport, but also Hindus and Tamils. One of the major allegation by PETA is that this tradition is not associated with Hinduism at all! PETA says it is not associated with religious activities. If this was true, then why do all these temples have permanent ‘Vadis’ (bull starting gates)? If it is not a Hindu religious practice, then why do all temple festivals include ‘Jallikattu’ as a part of the festivities? Why do all the temple festivals include honouring the bull? Why are there ‘Temple Bulls’ in the first place? Why are the ‘Temple Bulls’ given the honour of starting the ‘Jallikattu’?

PETA which is an American organisation, according to their own admission, kills over 4 million innocent puppies and kitten every year. What right does such a mass murderer like PETA have to preach Hindus on what traditions they should follow and what they should not?

Article by Balakumar Somu. The author can be reached at balasomu@jallikattu.in

Jallikattu bulls go for a pittance

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MADURAI, May 21, 2014                      Updated: May 21, 2014 03:05 IST

cattlebeingsold copy

A jallikattu bull being loaded onto a lorry at the Vadipatti shandi on Tuesday after it was sold for a meagre sum. Photo: S. James

They used to fetch their owners over Rs. 1 lakh before the sport was banned

The ferocious bulls of Madurai district, who stalked jallikattu arenas like champions, are now boarding goods vehicles on their way to slaughterhouses.

K. Karupasamy’s family of Ilamanur has been rearing jallikattu bulls for several generations. On Tuesday, Mr. Karupasamy sold his bull at the Vadipatti weekly shandy for a paltry Rs. 22,000.

The sale of these bulls normally fetched more than Rs. 1 lakh until the Supreme Court banned the traditional sport. Since then, the Vadipatti shandi has witnessed a surge in the number of jallikattu bulls, also called Naattu Maddu, being sold to agents, who take them to slaughterhouses. “My bull had won nearly 15 prizes in jallikattu held in Madurai and Tiruchi districts. When the future of the sport itself is bleak, what is the point of rearing bulls?” Mr. Karupasamy said, parting with his proud possession.

V. Veluchamy, a bull tamer from Sakkimangalam, sold the bull that he had been rearing for eight years for Rs. 25,000 on Tuesday.

“I had three bulls, and I have sold all of them after the Supreme Court’s order. It is distressing to sell them, given that they have done me proud, winning several prizes in manjuvirattu, (another form of bull taming). The only reason for selling the bulls is high rearing cost,” he said.

According to bull rearers, they have to spend between Rs. 300 and Rs. 500 on each bull every day for fodder and maintenance.

With jallikattu’s future uncertain, the rearers were reluctant to expend anything on the animals they dearly brought up, said R. Sundarapandian, a van driver, who has been transporting bulls to the shandi of late.

Agents like S. Annakodi bought bulls from rearers in villages of Madurai and brought them to the shandi for sale.

“The maximum amount that could be got from the sale of a jallikattu bull for slaughter is Rs. 35,000. No one has ever sold the bulls for slaughter when there was no ban,” he said.

The fierce bulls were seen being manhandled by agents and transporters at the shandy to get them to board the lorries. “Most of them would be taken to Kerala for slaughter. If there is no jallikattu, they will be of no use,” said C. Thirumalai Nambi Rajan, another agent.

This news article has been reproduced from “The Hindu” (Online edition) – dated  May 21, 2014.