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SC’s Cattle Slaughter Embargo: ‘Dravidian’ Tropes and Jallikattu

A weekly cattle market in Vadipatti, a few miles off Madurai. (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)A weekly cattle market in Vadipatti, a few miles off Madurai. (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)Vikram Venkateswaran  June 4, 2017, 12:06 am

Tamil Nadu is headed for yet another protest. The Supreme Court’s measures to ensure an organised system of sale, purchase and slaughter of cattle has been stayed for four weeks by the Madurai high court. Tamil Nadu’s politicians, meanwhile aren’t playing up the ‘protection of culture’ rhetoric, or even the ‘freedom of choice’ spiel. They’ve got something better up their sleeve; Dravidian Identity.

How can Central government impose restrictions on our food habits? We must eat only what Modi likes? Our individual rights are being snatched away by central government.

-MK Stalin, working president, DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)

MK Stalin belongs to a long line of politicians who have milked the Dravidian rhetoric popularised by Periyar in the early 40s. (Photo: Altered by The Quint)

MK Stalin belongs to a long line of politicians who have milked the Dravidian rhetoric popularised by Periyar in the early 40s. (Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Textbook Vote-Bank Politics

This is a textbook example of identity politics that has won votes in Tamil Nadu for over four decades now.

MK Stalin’s statement, and stance, follow his anti-Hindi vitriol of last month, when a few milestones along the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border suddenly bore Hindi script.

The Centre’s involvement in cattle trade (which is clearly a state issue) is questionable. But there is no ambiguity in the fact that the new PCA rules do not ban slaughter, nor do they eschew consumption of beef.

While both factions of the AIDMK are silent on the issue, it is only a matter of time before they declare their undying love and solidarity for the ‘Dravidian’ way of life.

A truck that transports animals for slaughter, padded with straw. Typically, over fifteen head of cattle are packed into a single large truck. This has been illegal since even before the SC’s new rules. (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)

A truck that transports animals for slaughter, padded with straw. Typically, over fifteen head of cattle are packed into a single large truck. This has been illegal since even before the SC’s new rules. (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)

n the year 2015-16, India exported beef worth over 65,000 crore rupees.

Yes, the New Rules are Problematic

The government and the judiciary seem quite intent on protecting India’s bovines. But bearing down on the local markets instead of banning beef exports sends conflicting signals.

Also, some of the new regulations are either too vague, or too impractical to benefit either the farmer, or the cow.

1. Cattle must not be brought in using ropes that pass through the nostrils.

2. Markets must provide housing, sufficient food and water, feed storage areas, water troughs, ramps, enclosures for sick animals, veterinary care, lighting, bedding, toilets, proper drainage and other facilities.

3. Cattle must not be bought or sold at a cattle market for the purpose of slaughter.

The Impractical and the Joke

Boring a hole through the nostrils of a cow or a buffalo is considered torture by animal rights activists. But to farmers and traditional livestock owners, this is basic procedure, and a form of conditioning of the cattle.

Cattle markets in general are so crowded that it is often impossible to walk through the heads of cattle from one end of the market to the other. The SC’s directive to ensure separate shelters, water troughs, bedding, etc. are far removed from this chaotic, bustling reality.

Cattle markets are part of the ecosystem of the agrarian way of life. It is here that even a desperate farmer who seeks to sell off a healthy cow or bull due to drought, will find a reasonable buyer.

While farmers worry themselves sick over these and more issues with the new law, Kamal Hasan’s statements at a public gathering on his birthday in 2015 are being bandied about on social media as the last word on the ‘beef ban’ issue.

If you don’t like beef, don’t eat it… don’t prescribe a menu for what people should eat. Feed them instead! Soon, we will look to insects to fulfil our dietary requirements. You just wait and watch. But then some other ‘Insect Swami’ will come and say don’t eat insects.Kamal Hasan
‘Azhagu’ (beauty), sells ‘beedis’ and rope at the cattle market. The Vadipatti cattle market is generations old. (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)

‘Azhagu’ (beauty), sells ‘beedis’ and rope at the cattle market. The Vadipatti cattle market is generations old. (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)

Communal Colour

At IIT-Madras, regardless of which ideology you support, you can be sure as sunrise there’ll be a ‘study group’ of like-minded individuals.

It is between students of such study groups that violence erupted, in which Sooraj, a PhD research scholar (Ambedkar-Periyar study group) was severely injured.

Both sides misunderstood the new directives from the SC to mean a ban on beef. And instantly, a communal stance was taken.

According to a series of RTIs filed by Arun (animal rights activist, Chennai) against illegal transportation of cattle, only 15 of over 40 traffickers were Muslim. The rest were Hindu.

The issue here is illegal trafficking of cattle, upon which the beef industry in India currently depends for 90% of its needs. Torture of cattle by stuffing green chillies in the eyes, biting and breaking the tail; all these are so the cattle don’t sit down during 14 hour journeys, where they’re neither given food, nor water nor care of any kind.

The new regulations in the PCAA may eliminate illegal slaughter, but they will also snuff out local breeds in the process.

Cattle is bought and sold in the cattle market.

This has been so from before the invention of money. There are references in Sangam literature (1st – 5th BCE) of markets where cattle were traded for millet and other commodities.

To suddenly ask farmers to change their way of life is neither fair nor practical.

A Jallikattu ‘temple’ bull. Prize bulls fetch over Rs 50,000. But with the Jallikattu ban, it will be sold for Rs 15,000 or less, for slaughter.  (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)

A Jallikattu ‘temple’ bull. Prize bulls fetch over Rs 50,000. But with the Jallikattu ban, it will be sold for Rs 15,000 or less, for slaughter. (Photo: Vikram Venkateswaran)

Death Knell for Jallikattu?

To the uninitiated, this might seem far-fetched. But what the new regulations imply is a rapid decline in a farmer’s ability to buy or sell cattle. This will in turn result in import of milk and animal protein, as well as an industrialised system of animal husbandry, which corporates will own, not farmers.

Pro-Jallikattu activists like Karthikeya Sivasenapathy (founder, Senapathy Kangeyam Cattle Research Foundation), who started off the Jallikattu protests, see the SC’s notice as a death knell for local breeds.

Prime Minister Modi has started a war against the downtrodden…the government cannot decide what we should do. It is we who must decide… this is the RSS government at play…S M Bakker, President, Indian Thowheeth Jamaath (a major Muslim political party in TN)

When the four-week stay on the SC’s directive comes to an end, Dravidian politics and communal rhetoric will fly high once again in Tamil Nadu.

A proper reading of the SC’s guidelines, followed by informed debates across the board, is the need of the hour.

But, when even students from IIT-M – supposedly the creme de la creme of the state – resort to reactionary, misinformed feuds, it just might be too much to ask for.

This article, dated June 04 2017, has been reproduced from the http://website the quint.com. The original article can be aacessed at :https://www.thequint.com/opinion/2017/06/02/tamil-nadu-sc-cattle-market-for-slaughter

TAMIL NADU Now, a full-fledged feature film on jallikattu protests

Survival of the ttest: It will be a simple aair in contrast to opulent lms, says director Santhosh. File picture   | Photo Credit: G. Karthikeyan

The first look of quasi-documentary to be unveiled in New York today

Call it a mere coincidence or destiny. Filmmaker Santhosh watched the Egyptian film, Clash, centred around the Arab Spring, the democratic uprising against Hosni Mubarak, just before the historic jallikattu protests erupted in Tamil Nadu.

“After seeing Clash, I was fascinated how they could do a movie set inside a big black van. This was in January just before the jallikattu protests began here. So, I took the camera, called my crew and went to the protest to shoot it. I was intrigued by what drove millions of people to protest against the ban,” said Mr. Santhosh, sitting in a coffee shop.

The first look of the film will be unveiled in Wall Street, New York City, on Sunday. “We will do it right by the Charging Bull to be symbolic. We also wanted to do it in New York City, because the Occupy Wall Street movement, which was also a leaderless, faceless protest albeit for a different cause, started here. The similarities between the two was also one of the reasons why I wanted to make this film,” he says. After spending seven days among the protesters and shooting over 200 hours of footage, he knew he had a film in his hands. “I just took my camera and went to shoot the protests because it was just fascinating to see millions congregating for a cause. Then, I thought why not make a film around what I had? Jallikattu (8-23) is a feature film, which has been made in a quasi-documentary fashion,” says Mr. Santhosh, who is also a movie consultant.

Working in tandem with his wife Nirupama Santhosh who is producing the film, Mr. Santhosh managed to get his actors and crew into the crowd and improvised. “I didn’t know what the characters were or their lines. We just improvised. After the protest concluded, and after soaking in the politics and the events around the protest, I wrote the back stories of the characters in the film. The film actually starts on January 8 and culminates in the protests,” he said. Mr. Santhosh claims that the film is the opposite of a big-budget film like Baahubali. “In a sense, we were lucky to be a part of history in which millions of people congregated voluntarily and we were able to shoot it,” he says.

This article, dated June 04 2017, has been reproduced from the http://websiteReturn to frontpage .com. The original article can be aacessed at :http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/now-a-full-fledged-feature-film-on-jallikattu-protests/article18715473.ece

Jallikattu bulls get back their mojo

Palamedu_Jallikattu_EPS_(1)By S Deepak Karthik  |  Express News Service  |   Published: 27th May 2017 05:21 AM  |  Last Updated: 27th May 2017 05:21 AM

TIRUCHY: Jallikattu bulls are in great demand now than ever before. They used to cost Rs 50,000 per head last year, but nowadays come with a price tag anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7 lakh.
However, the bull owners are not keen on selling them, even though it means letting go a huge amount. The reason being the status symbol that  Jallikattu bulls offer.

It is not only the victory in bull-taming events that have pushed the price up,  but also the campaigns that have of late been undertaken to conserve indigenous breeds of cattle, not to mention the sea of protests held earlier to conduct Jallikattu in defiance of the Supreme Court that has clamped a ban on the traditional bull-taming event across the State and elsewhere in the country.

Last year, the bulls were selling at Rs 50,000 per head, without the conduct of the traditional event. But post-Jallikattu, the prices have soared to Rs 5 to Rs 7 lakh per head.

A bull from Urumanathapuram in
Pudukkottai that died after a head-on
collision with another bull during a
Jallikkattu event at Thiruvarankulam
on Friday | Express

With Jallikattu becoming a frequent event across Tiruchy and Pudukkottai districts, most of the bull owners are unwilling to sell their bulls. That is just one reason. Status symbol, pride, and bulls being considered part of their family are all the right reasons to say ‘no’.

Ever since the Jallikattu was held in Karungulam near Manapparai on January 29, close to two dozen Jallikattu events were held across the district and in Pudukkottai and Ariyalur districts. Last year during the corresponding period, as Jallikattu was not held consecutively in 2015 and 2016, prices of the bulls lingered around Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000.

“We have a Sevalakkalai (bull’s name) in our village, which has won about 12 jallikattus in Tiruchy, Pudukkottai and Madurai districts. Even as buyers were willing to offer Rs 7 lakh for the country-bred bull, the owners said a big ‘no’. Sevalakkalai had won even in the famous arena in Alanganallur,”  M Mookan, a Jallikattu bull owner from Olaiyur near Tiruchy told Express.

This article, dated may 27  2017, has been reproduced from the http://website .com. The original article can be aacessed at :http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/may/27/jallikattu-bulls-get-back-their-mojo-1609562–1.html

Namakkal village hosts jallikattu for first time

Jallikattu.TNN | Updated: May 21, 2017, 06.09 AM IST
 NAMAKKAL: For the first time, the bull taming sport was held at Komarapalayam here on Saturday. The event was jointly organised by ‘Namma Kumarapalayam’ and the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Peravai to pay tribute to the students and youths who participated in the pro-jallikattu protests across the state.
A total of 260 bulls from various parts of the state, including Madurai, Dindigul, Trichy, Salem, Pollachi, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Theni, and more than 300 tamers from Kumarapalayam and its surrounding villages participated in the event.
State minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise P Thangamani inaugurated the event. Social welfare and nutritious noon meal programme minister V Saroja, and Jallikattu Peravai president P Rajasekar, among others, spoke at the occasion.

The district administration had apparently initially refused to give permission to conduct the event at Kumarapalayam following which the organisers moved the Madras High Court and got a favourable order.
“Since the event was to be held for the first time at our place, we had moved the high court to include Komarapalayam in the gazette,” the organisers said.
A large number of students and the people who led the jallikattu protests witnessed the event.
This article, dated may 21  2017,  has been reproduced from the http://website Tha Times of India.com. The original article can be aacessed at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/salem/namakkal-village-hosts-jallikattu-for-first-time/articleshow/58770534.cms

A Tamil Feature Film on Jallikattu Protests- Full Details are here


IndiaGlitz [Saturday, June 17, 2017]

Chennai based filmmaker Santhosh has made feature film about the mass uprising of Tamil youngsters and students at Marina for Jallikattu in January this year. The film is currently in post production stage and the makers plan to bring it to the screens in two or three months.

This innovative experiment has been produced by Nirupama of Ahimsa Productions with Guru Saravanan , from Singapore Jayapal N from Washington joining as co-producers. Acclaimed Bollywood filmmaker, producer and actor Anurag Kashyap is the Executive Producer of this project.

The technical crew of this film comprises of Cinematographer S Ka Boopathy,Music director Ramesh Vinayakam, Editor Kasi Vishwanathan, Audiographer Udhaykumar and several others.

Why a film on Jallikattu protest?

Santhosh explains what drove him to make a film on Marina uprising for Jallikattu.

“As film makers we felt there are several stories that need to be told around this and we decided to make a film on this uprising. During the time of the marina protest, we commenced filming the real crowd and started increasing the quantum of coverage with each day. There are several aspects of the society that can be seen through this movement. We did not have to go to a restaurant for food. We were constantly getting them. People were distributing food items. Suddenly an old lady came and started distributing Tea.In train journeys we will hesitate to eat the food items given by co-passengers but here no one had such hesitation. There was no pickpocket, chain snatching, sexual harassment or any other untoward incident.”

Reality and Fiction combined to make a film

Titled as ‘Jalllikattu, 5 – 23 Jan​uary​ 2017’ this Tamil feature film will have original footage of the historical protest at Marina as well as the fictionalised account of how some of the youngsters joined the protest.

“We have several hours of real footage from the marina site and also shot extensively with several pioneers of this moment. It’s with a sense of great pride that we say that we have made this into a tamil feature film for everyone to experience and cherish.” Santhosh informs.

Explaining further about the components of real footage and fiction in this film, the director explains,

“Everyone who took part in the protest will have a family, an office etc. I have shot these things as fiction. I have made the people who took part in the protest to act in these portions. I followed 20-30 protesters. Few of them refused to take part in the film due to various reasons. So while watching the film it will be a linear account of what lead them to take part in the protest. I have got footage of this protest from 50 countries. I have followed all important icons associated with this protest. Justice Markandeya Katju, Karthikeya Senathipathi, P.Rajasekhar of Jallikattu Peravai will be a part of this film.”

A grand visual marvel! 12 Lakh People in one shot

In Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’, the climax scene was shot with three lakh original people. That was the shot with largest number of people without any CG work. In the Marina protest there was 12 lakh people at one particular point of time. This has been captured by Santhosh in a drone shot and people will get to see this visual marvel on the big screen through this this film.

Teaser launch at the UN

The first look of the film was unveiled on June 4th 2017 in Wall Street, New York, the epicentre of the historical Occupy Wall Street Movement.

The teaser is going to be released at a much biWe are launching the teaser on Tuesday (June 20, 2017) at United Nations Head Quarters, Nairobi. Many International icons such as Malala Yousafzai, pioneers of Black Umbrella movement, Hongkong, participants of Arab Spring. are participating in the event. In that we have got a 20 minutes slot for us from India. They (UN) gives this much importance to us since they don’t see this as a film. They see this as a large peoples movement. They see this as process where the people’s unity has changed the law. They see this as the biggest gathering that has taken place in Asian region. We are releasing a 90 second teaser and also show some footage to them. ”

Note about the director

Born in Trichy and now residing in Chennai, Santhosh started his career as an assistant to cinematographer P C Sreeram. Later he moved to Hollywood to work as an operative cameraman assisting Academy award winning cinematographer Vilmos Zigmond. This is his maiden debut feature film.

IndiaGlitz wishes the Best for the team behind the film ‘Jallikattu’ and we hope this will be a memorable film for every Tamil person who supported the historical Jallikattu protest which ended as the victory for people’s unity for a good cause.

This article, dated June 17  2017, has been reproduced from the http://www.indiaglitz.com/l The original article can be accessed at : http://www.indiaglitz.com/tamil-feature-film-on-marina-jallikattu-protest-with-real-footage-and-fictionalised-sequences-tamil-news-187909.html