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The Indian flavour of Bull fighting



Is it banned in India or not?

This has been the story storming the front pages and headlines of the newspapers and television channels in the country.

The blood sport, famous worldwide, mainly in Spain, Greece, and Latin America, has its roots ploughed deep through Tamil Nadu.

“Jallikattu” is the name given to the bullfighting event in Tamilnadu, and it was banned four years ago by the Supreme court stating that the sport was tormenting the bulls that were used for the sport. The People’s Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA) used campaigns to end this ruthless onslaught on those poor animals.

This campaign was carried out throughout the country and was supported by many notable persons in the ranks of Virat Kohli, John Abraham, Hema Malini, to name a few. Many people in the state had also voiced their support against the conduct of the sport as each year, and people die in the event. Following this, the sport was banned in India in 2012, which triggered massive outrage in the southern regions of Tamil Nadu.

According to the local people there, “Jallikattu” wasn’t just a sport to them. It was a culture passed on for centuries since the ancient Tamil classical period. The sport soon acted upon as a platform to showcase the bravery of the tamers, and the victorious ones were awarded cash prizes along with the bull owner’s daughter. It was a faith that every father had in the sport as they were confident that an able-bodied man would secure their daughters’ future. This credence had been rolling on in the space of Tamil culture for years.

On 8th January 2016, the Narendra Modi government eased the ban on the sport, stating that bulls can be exhibited or trained at events like Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and bullock cart races Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat. When the centre released the news regarding the bulls, all the regions housing the audacious sport soon erupted in joy following the decision. In a blink of an eye, some people even started training their bulls for the event.

A bull training for the event

Every political party in Tamil Nadu, including the ruling Anna Dravida Munnetra Kalagam (ADMK) party and the opposition involving the Dravida Munnetra Kalagam (DMK) party, were supporting the famous bullfighting event, as they were not ready to give away their years-old tradition. Even BJP, which is not a very popular party in the state, also supported the sport. With elections in the state around the corner, all the parties in the state were eager to take a piece of the political pie to lure voters with Jallikattu on the radar.

Five days after the centre had cleared the conduct of Jallikattu, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), along with the PETA, had approached the Supreme court to appeal against it, and now they have successfully won the appeal. Jallikattu was banned in Tamil Nadu, just 3 days before the Harvest festival of “Pongal”, when the sport is conducted every year. This infuriated the people in the region, and they protested against the decision to scrape the sport. Black flags were hurled along the streets and households in the district of Madurai, where the sport found its origin. The people took to the streets to protest and are now threatening to boycott the upcoming polls. Tweets with the hashtag #WeSupportJallikattu were trending for the past few days in support of the sport.

Despite this massive support for the sport, the AWBI is strong on its stand against the cruelty against the bulls in the country. The ruling ADMK had already stated that it would enact an Ordinance in support of the sport, and so far, nothing has been done on the ground to revive the age-old sport.

With the scar left by the wrath of the Chennai floods healing slowly, the famous “Jallikattu” is now adding to the woes of the ruling ADMK party.

Will this have an impact on the regime of “AMMA” ??

Well, let us wait for the showdown.

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