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Traditional bullfight 'Jallikattu', a major attraction in Tamil Nadu

Aalanganallur (TN), Sat, 16 Jan 2010 ANI

Aalanganallur (Tamil Nadu), Jan.16 (ANI): Thousands flocked Alanganallur town in Tamil Nadu's Madurai district to watch the popular 'Jallikattu', a traditional sport in which individuals try to hold the hunch and cross a certain distance, on Saturday (January 16). Though it doesn't involve killing of the bull but it is still viewed as causing cruelty to the animals due to traditional practices.


Tens of thousands of people including foreigners visited the Alanganallur and witnessed the traditional combat between man and the beast.


Many big personalities and politicians including Central Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Azhagiri also arrived at the venue to witness this daredevil spot.


This year the even was held as per the new guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. The apex court has banned the 'Jallikattu' citing cruelty to animals as the main reason. But later the court granted a conditional permission for the event. It stated a set of compulsory guidelines, which the organisers have to follow strictly during 'Jallikattu' as certain objectionable practices have been in fashion in the recent past to enrage the bull.


During this traditional 'sport', the horns of the adorned bulls are made wet before the event and the animal is rubbed down with oil, making it more difficult to hold onto. To add to it the bulls are drugged with steroids and are sometimes made to drink alcohol in order to enrage them.


Organisers, however, looked careful, as they formed a special 30-member team this time to keep a stringent check on the animals and only allow those bulls, which have not been drugged or smeared with oil.


Around 500 men participated in the event this year who tried to catch bulls during the event.


The event, which saw locals and foreigners in full strength, was appreciated by one and all for the thrills and adventure it provided to the spectators.


"Jallikattu is the heart of Tamil culture, it is the heart of the Tamil Dravidian culture. If you cut it (Jallikattu) off then you really cut the culture of the people," noted Francis, a Belgium tourist.


For the locals it is their annual cultural event.


"For the past 15 years we have been rearing the bull for this cultural event. Every year we take part in this event and every year our bull wins the gold prize," said Murugan, a local resident.


'Jallikattu'-Indian bull fighting or taming the bull, which dates back hundreds of years, is a major event in villages of south India and is held as a thanksgiving ceremony for the animals that have helped in farm activities all year round.


Jallikattu is about wresting the bounty, which is held in a cloth bag tied between the horns of the bulls. By Arun Kannan (ANI)


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