Tag Archives: Karthikeya

Women Pivotal in Jallikattu Struggle

After nearly six decades, the Great #Jallikattu Revolution saw hundreds of thousands of Women pour out on the streets of all parts of Tamilnadu – Cities, Towns and Villages alike.

Women brought their families along. Mothers confidently brought their children; Wives brought their husbands; Girls brought their friends.They occupied the public places of #Tamilnadu and did not return till we achieved success.

Great women like Mrs. Gouhar Azeez, Mrs. Nandini Madam (Chennai) were our mentors, Mrs. Kavitha (Japan), Mrs. Kayal Vizhi Arunkumar and hundreds of other friends fought to #SaveJallikattu.

I salute these brave women were the real reason behind the success of the Jallikattu struggle.

Jallikattu Photo Exhibition


A Jallikattu Photo Exhibition was held at Kaumara Susheela International Residential School, Coimbatore on January 7, 2018. It was held as a part of the ‘Pongal Vizha’ celebrations at KSirs School. Photos taken by Mr. Balakumar Somu, Founder, ARHAM Trust, were displayed in the exhibition.

Mr. Kumaragurubara Swamigal of Kaumara Madam, Mr. Karthikeya Sivasenapathi of SKCRF, Kangeyam, Mrs. Vanitha Mohan of ‘Siruthuli’ and several others participated in the function. The students of KSirs along with their family, participated in the ‘Pongal Vizha’.

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: Tug of war over bull-taming festival in Tamil Nadu continues

Trained bulls are lead through a restricted path; locals jump onto hump of bulls and try conquer it

Gireesh Babu  |  Chennai January 10, 2017 Last Updated at 17:38 IST

jallikattu, bull, bull fight
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

With Pongal, the biggest agriculture-related festival of being round the corner, the controversy on Jallikattu, a bull-taming sport celebrated in Pongal, has once again come to the fore.


What has been a tug of war between the traditional Tamil culture and a group of animal lovers, has also been intertwined with court cases and political discussions in the state and the centre.


The 2000-year-old traditional practice of taming a bull, which is linked with the cultural tradition of as a popular sport among warriors since the “Sangam era” finds a mention in the ancient Tamil text “Silapathigaram”.


The specially trained bulls are lead through a small gate to a restricted path, where the local lads try to conquer it by jumping and holding onto the hump of the bulls. Accidents, both minor and major, often occur as the panicked throngs its way through the gate into the crowd.


The State Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, describes the game as: “It is inextricably linked to rural, agrarian customs and has religious significance, with families donating bulls to temples in fulfilment of vows. also addresses the cause of conservation of native germplasm since bulls with excellent physical attributes are reared. Further, bulls are not harmed or physically tortured during Jallikattu”.


The government has now sought the central government to consider issuing an ordinance to enable people in the state to conduct Jallikattu.


This is at a time when animal lovers link the game with the fight in Spain, where the is brutally killed for the pleasure of the viewers. In a judgement on May 7, 2014, the Supreme Court of India, banned the conduct of in the State of and also held that bulls cannot be used as performing either for events or for bullock cart races in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.


“The ban on has caused widespread resentment and general disappointment among the people of Tamil Nadu, particularly in rural areas, since is intertwined with religious and social cultural ethos of Tamil society,” says Panneerselvam.


The centre is against since allowing the game could be a political gain for the ruling party in the centre. In January 2015, the government of had requested Modi’s personal intervention to enable the conduct of events in by denotifying bulls from the list of performing in a notification dated July 11, 2011, issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.


The centre has also issued a notification on January 7, 2016, which was expected to enable the groups to conduct during Pongal, which falls in the middle of January.


However, it was stayed by the Supreme Court and the game was not conducted legally during these years, though in some places, people tried to conduct it without the approval of the administration.


A review petition was filed by the government of on May 19, 2015, and the Supreme Court refused to review its earlier judgement, dismissed the review petition on December 16, 2016.


The state government has now demanded that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, should clearly denotify bulls “as performing animals” from the notification issued on July 11, 2011, and suitably amend Section 11(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Act, 1960 by introducing a new clause in sub-section (3) of Section 11 specifically exempting in addition to other exemptions already provided in the Act.


The traditional game of has its own business nurtured over a period of time, Organisers and locals say the ban will have a direct impact on thousands of and his family, who depend on this breed cattle for livelihood. According to organisers, a can fetch as high as Rs 2 lakh to a farmer and it would cost about Rs 20 lakh in one major village.


had been organised in 24 places between January 14 and January 17 in Tamil Nadu. An event can raise upto Rs 15 lakh in a village apart from the prizes, said Balakumar Somu, one of the ardent follower of earlier. Somu, an IT professional quit a job in Singapore, relocated to Coimbatore and started a website supporting this sport.


According to him, a farmer invests around Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 to buy a calf and the entire family spends money and energy for 1.5 years to grow the calf into a healthy bull. They use as a platform to find a buyer and the bulls which wins can stretch around Rs 1.5-2 lakh to the owners.


The buyers, who are mainly rich people buy these bulls as a matter of pride, employee around 5-6 people to maintain it. The people who are employed, mostly women, get about Rs 800-900 per week as salary.


Thousands of artisans also get affected as in many villages, a major source of income has been creating decorative items, including specialised ropes for the bulls and for the race.


may be a three-day sports festival, but it has been the source of income for throughout the year, said Somu.


The organisers spend anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 20 lakh to organise it depends on the village.


The money will be spent on preparing the ground for Jallikattu, deposit money, gifts including, motorcycles, gold coins, bicycles, steels almirahs and sheep and goats. The money is mobilised through sponsors and advertisers, most of them being local brands. These take space in t-shirts, which players wear on the ground and also merchandise including, coffee mugs, posters, coasters, pens, bedsheets.


This will also affect the special breeds used in Jallikattu, including the Kangeyam breed of bulls. Already, the number of Kangeyam bulls has come down from lakhs to tens of thousands.


“The banning of and the demand for banning of other rural sports like rekhla race will ultimately result in the vanishing of native species and ultimately result in the country turning into import dependent on bovine animals,” says Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, managing trustee, Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation (SKCRF).


The foundation breeds Kangayam bulls and cows and also works on the preservation of native breeds. According to him while the Kangayam cow costs around Rs 25,000-35,000 the is available for Rs 10,000 only.


Sivasenapathy said the population of Kangayam variety has come down to one lakh from 11 lakh in 1990. People with total disconnect with livestock, rural life or villages are ones who claim that do not love animals, whereas, farm are part of the rural household. He said cattle farming in India is part of the household activity and not a corporate activity.

Appreciating Nuance


 Team MP |  14 Jan 2017 3:08 AM

On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected a plea, seeking a judgment on the bull-taming/embracing (depending on which side of the debate one belongs to) sport of Jallikattu before Saturday. In other words, the practice will continue to be banned this Pongal if the Centre does not intervene and pass an ordinance. Jallikatu is a traditional rural event organised as part of the five-day Pongal celebrations, which begins on January 14 this year. Unlike in the bull-fighting event in Spain, the bull is not killed, and the object is to pluck bundles of money or gold tied to the animal’s sharpened horns. In 2014, the sport was banned by the Supreme Court following objections from animal rights activists, citing animal cruelty and a threat to public safety. Ever since the judgment, the court has been hearing petitions supporting this traditional event. Last July, the court had said Jallikattu might be 5,000 years old, but it was for the judiciary to decide whether the practice could continue. “We have to show compassion to the animals. It is our constitutional obligation,” it said. Reports indicate that the court’s position has angered many in the state of Tamil Nadu, who believe that a ban on tramples on not only their traditions but also effectively destroys entire native livestock breeds that depend on the event. On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pass an ordinance to allow Jallikattu during the Pongal festival.
Animal welfare activists have long demanded a ban on the event/sport for the significant levels of cruelty and torture, the bull undergoes. In a column, Poorva Joshipura, the CEO of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, wrote: “During Jallikattu, bulls are deliberately terrified and forced into menacing crowds through various cruel means. They are purposefully disoriented through substances like alcohol; have their tails twisted and bitten; are stabbed and jabbed by sickles, spears, knives or sticks; have their nose ropes painfully yanked; are punched, jumped on and dragged to the ground.” In Jallikatu-like events across India, many humans also suffer severe injuries or even die from participating or watching the sport. In this decade, until the ban came into force, there were reportedly more than 1100 injuries and approximately 17 deaths, including that of a child. The apex court’s position on the subject is if culture or tradition is ‘not in sync with the law’, then the latter takes precedence.
Unlike the apex court, the Centre has taken a favourable position, arguing that Jallikattu is a centuries-old traditional practise.  The Centre respects these practices, although it has asked organisers to ensure that there is no cruelty. Animal welfare activists have mocked this position, but local activists against the ban have argued that the event is not about taming bulls, as much as embracing them. In a recent post on social media, Balakumar Somu, an animal’s rights activist from Coimbatore, who has started a website to fight the ban, wrote on the subject. “To honour those who bring up the stud bulls and to demonstrate the strength of the bulls annual sports of sorts are organised: one of these sports is Jallikattu. This is not taming the bull as is often misunderstood. It is actually embracing the bulls. The men should embrace the speeding bull and hold on to it as long as he can. In Spanish bullfights, the participating bulls are killed. But here in India, the bulls become much-celebrated beings of the village and the families,” he writes. Arguments citing animal cruelty are either over exaggerated or wholly fabricated, say supporters of the event. Himakiran Anugula, an organic farmer and entrepreneur, based in Chennai, presents ecological and economic reasons against the ban. In a recent post on a news website, he writes: “If Jallikattu is prohibited, livestock keepers will be forced to abandon the raising of native livestock, which already stands threatened due to the extensive use of motor pumps, tractors and mechanised agriculture. If the sport is banned, it would be the death knell of native cattle species in Tamil Nadu. We will lose not only our breeds but also our self-sufficiency in milk production as well as the promotion of organic farming. If we lose our breeds and import foreign breeds, multinational commercial companies will dominate the dairy industry in India. The livelihood of millions in rural India is at stake here. People who want a ban on Jallikattu are far removed from village life and do not know how this chain works.” Going by the arguments presented above, it would seem as if a complete ban on Jallikattu seems a tad unreasonable. If there are instances of animal cruelty, tighter regulations should be introduced and enforced to ensure their safety, as well for those people attending these events. Any attempt to ban such traditional practices often suffers from plenty of pushback from those directly affected. How does one enforce a ban, when the people and the entire state machinery stand opposed to the court’s diktat? Moreover, if animal cruelty is going to be cited to prohibit certain events or products, then our courts will have to go way beyond Jallikattu, starting with leather goods and fast food franchises. Will the court ban leather goods or McDonald burgers, as well?