Category Archives: PETA

Jallikattu ban could lead to mass slaughter of bulls

by Senthil on 11 Jan 2015

With just days to go for the Pongal celebrations, there has been heavy uncertainty prevailing in Tamil Nadu on the fate of Jallikattu, Manjuvirattu and other temple festivals of the State.  The people of Tamil Nadu, particularly the southern region, have been anxiously waiting for the Central Government to take steps to overcome the oppressive and unjust ban order issued by the Supreme Court of India. They had high hopes that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a nationalist party would understand the sensitivities of our age-old culture, and facilitate Jallikattu for the oncoming Pongal.

 

The situation is very critical because both PETA and the Jallikattu supporters believe that this year is the lifeline for their respective camp. If Jallikattu happens, it will be a major victory for Jallikattu supporters and rural people of Tamil Nadu, and would ensure revival of Jallikattu in subsequent years; so far it has been suppressed heavily. If it does not happen, it will be a major victory for PETA and associated animal rights groups who expect that the protest by rural people will lose momentum and gradually wither away.

 

BJP misguided to political suicide

 

The BJP seems to be doing political calculation on the Jallikattu issue. They feel that if Jallikattu does not happen, the people’s anger will turn towards ADMK and BJP can cash in on this later. This is utter stupidity. The people have a soft corner for Ms Jayalalithaa as she was arrested and dethroned, and they are well aware that she is not in a position to do anything with regard to Jallikattu. So anger will be directed towards the BJP which is currently in power at the Center.  The Dravidian parties will amplify this anger by pointing to the central government.

 

It will be political suicide for BJP in the south Tamil Nadu if Jallikattu does not happen. However, if BJP takes step to remove the ban and promotes Jallikattu in big way, it can establish a foothold in the southern Tamil Nadu, which is currently controlled by the Dravidian parties. It is pertinent that H. Raja of Tamil Nadu had issued statements that BJP will bring back Jallikattu. So people have high expectations of the BJP, and have been making arrangements to conduct Jallikattu at many places.

Keeping aside these political games, few seem aware of the severe consequences of this unjust ban on Jallikattu. If the Jallikattu is not conducted during the coming Pongal festival, it will trigger the mass sale of Jallikattu bulls by farmers as they start believing that this ban is forever. It need not be said that all bulls will end up in slaughter houses, but a large number of bulls were sold when the Supreme Court ban order came in May 2014. According to rough estimates, around 20 per cent of the bulls were sold after this ban; this is more than 1000 bulls across Tamil Nadu.

Jallikattu bulls are maintained at high cost by farmers, exclusively for the Jallikattu. There are no returns for the amount (and effort) spent in maintaining Jallikattu bulls. They are maintained because traditional society considers it a matter of pride to send bulls to the race. Jallikattu is conducted only once in a year in each place, and each farmer gets only few minutes for the bulls to participate in this event. Banning Jallikattu will destroy the incentive that traditional society has created for the up-keep of the bulls.

The beef mafia is salivating at this opportunity, as there is a premium price for the beef of Indian breeds (bos indicus) in the international market. Since Jallikattu bulls are maintained well with nutritious food, the quantity and quality of its flesh is superior to hybrid cows.

Jallikattu bulls are the last of the desi cattle breeds (bos indicus or zebu) in Tamil Nadu. In the past, there would be at least two to three commercial breeding bulls maintained by farmers in each village for reproduction. Artificial Insemination at cheaper rates by the government had destroyed the economic viability of these breeding bulls and led to drastic reduction in the population of uncastrated bulls across Tamil Nadu.

Earlier, whenever Jallikattu was sold, it would be bought for breeding purposes due to its superior quality. But the demand for breeding bulls fell due to artificial insemination and there is no other market for these male species which can match the rates offered by beef traders. Hence, any mass sale of these bulls, due to Jallikattu ban, by default will benefit the beef industry and lead to extinction of our desi cattle breeds, and the genetic diversity of our native cattle species will be lost forever. We would be forced to depend solely on the few hundred stud bulls maintained by government, which will lead to common fatherhood of all cattle across Tamil Nadu, degrading the genetic diversity.

Any loss of out native species is irreversible, and will severely affect future efforts to revive these desi cattle breeds. Already, many desi cattle breeds like ongole, hallikar, vechur are at the verge of extinction.

The government should recognise the utility of Jallikattu event as a self-sustaining model evolved by society for preservation and improvement of our desi cattle varieties and take steps to facilitate the exercise of Jallikattu, by removing the ban imposed on it.

Pongal Celebration will lose its charm without Jallikattu

Jallikattu, Manjuvirattu and related events are the lifeline of Pongal, without which it will lose its charm and liveliness. The soul of any society lies in its festivals and killing Jallikattu will kill traditional Tamil society itself. Can we imagine Europe without the FICA world cup or Halloween festival? Can we imagine Olympic Games without the grand celebrations with fireworks and dances?

Jallikattu is a Hindu Festival

Jallikattu is a Hindu religious festival, because all Jallikattu events are conducted as part of the temple event. In each event, all the temple bulls (called Koil Kalai) of surrounding temples are released in the arena after poojas are performed on them. These are bulls dedicated to the deities of respective temple (called divine bulls) and hence qualify for Nandi Pooja. The players in the arena worship these divine bulls and do not attempt to touch them. Even for private bulls, the owner takes it to the temple for pooja, before releasing it into the arena. So in every aspect, Jallikattu qualifies as a Hindu religious festival.

There is Puranic evidence in Bhagvata Puranam and Vishnu Puranam. Sathya Naganajiti was the daughter of Kosala king Nagnajit, who declared he would marry his daughter only to the brave prince who tamed his seven ferocious bulls. Sri Krishna accepted the challenge, tamed the seven bulls, and married Naganajiti; she is the sixth of the eight principal queen consorts of Sri Krishna. The government should recognise these facts and take steps to declare Jallikattu and other events conducted in temple premises as Hindu religious festival.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, enacted by the Nehruvian regime, gives rights to one community to kill cows and bulls as part of their religious rights. Yet now Hindus are being denied the right to use their own bulls for Jallikattu and other religious festivals. This is discriminatory and should be amended.

Cowardice and Fraud by PETA and animal rights mafia

The animal rights mafia had been persecuting Jallikattu for a decade. Unable to win legally, they resorted to lobbying and got lobbied Jairam Ramesh to amend the PCA act to include bulls in the list of Performing Animals in 2011. On this basis, the Supreme Court gave their harsh judgement. This is fraudulent because the definition of performing animals does not fit Jallikattu bulls. Jallikattu is not conducted for entertainment or commercial purpose. People spend their own money to organise these events as part of their temple festival. The definition of performing animals applies only to animals used in circus for entertainment purpose.

When laws can be modified to the whims and fancies of elite lobbies, what kind of justice is served?

After the Supreme Court ban order on Jallikattu in May 2014, this author asked one animal rights activist who was instrumental in the ban as to what steps she had taken to protect the bulls that would be sold because of the ban.  She replied that it is not her responsibility to save those bulls, and the onus lay on the rural people! This is outright hypocrisy which needs to be exposed.

Bogus allegations

Animal rights activists are blindly parroting the argument of “bulls tortured in Jallikattu”, even after the accusations have been proved false. The fact that Jallikattu bulls are taken care of extravagantly all year round is deliberately ignored. When asked how come “mere five minutes of these bulls running through the arena” constitutes cruelty, they resort to stupid arguments like, “Even if it is for few minutes, it is cruelty”. When further cornered, “Are you going to send these bulls to slaughter just to avoid these few minutes of supposed cruelty?”, they become hysterical and claim, “the bulls will rest in peace forever, rather than undergoing torture in Jallikattu”.

The animal rights mafia could not answer many questions raised by Jallikattu supporters. When Jallikattu supporters demanded the registration number of the bulls that were allegedly tortured, they had no reply. Another fraud by the animal rights mafia is that they used old photographs (prior to 2008 events) while making their charges, and were caught red-handed when it was pointed out that after 2008 regulations all players were given uniforms, whereas the photos submitted by them had players without uniform! There are many such fraudulent practices by these mafias.

Jallikattu Bulls are NOT tortured

 A normal bull has the capacity of pulling 2 to 4 tons of weight, depending on the breed and stature. After regulation of Jallikattu since 2008, just one person hangs on the hump of these bulls for few seconds. Since the weight of a person does not exceed 80 kg, hanging on to the hump for a few seconds cannot be construed as cruelty. All other accusations were removed by the regulation of the event by high court guidelines and the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act. The fact that Jallikattu organisers accepted and welcomed these regulations (even though strict), prove that they intend no harm to the bulls.

Centre’s role

The people of Tamil Nadu had been under the sway of Dravidian parties for the past 60 years.  Because of them, Jallikattu has been projected as distinct Tamil culture, and not as a Hindu religious festival, comparable with similar animal sports in other parts of the country. With the rise of the BJP at the center and both Dravidian parties weakened in the State, the Tamil people have realised that Jallikattu is a Hindu festival and are ready to accept this in public.

The central government can help to overcome the ban on Jallikattu by removing bulls from the list of performing animals, as bulls in Jallikattu are used only as part of temple festivals and not for commercial or entertainment purpose.

It can also declare Jallikattu, Manjuvirattu and all other events conducted in temples as a religious festival.

Moreover, PETA is a foreign funded organisation which has no locus standi on local festivals. Their supporters in India are urban elites who associate with PETA for varied reasons; neither has any experience in maintaining bull or cows.

But Jallikattu supporters are rooted in our tradition and fighting for their religious and cultural rights inherited from ancestors. They have unquestionable legitimate interests in the fight for preserving and promoting Jallikattu.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should consider these facts and take appropriate steps to remove the ban on Jallikattu and save the native breeds and Tamil culture from becoming extinct.

This news article has been reproduced from “Vijayvaani.com” (Online edition) – dated  11 January 2015 .
The original article can be accessed at : http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=3456

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