A version of bull fighting in Tamil Nadu played on the occasion of Pongal, the annual harvest festival faced an obligatory ban by the Apex Court in response to a petition filed by Animal Welfare Board.
Bull fighting a.k.a Jallikattu is an annual festival celebrated in two villages near the temple town of Madurai. It is held on the last day (Mattu Pongal) of the four-day Pongal festival. The game is somewhat like Spain’s bull fighting, but differing in the way of contestants, here does not try to kill the animals. Hundreds of bulls are simultaneously released into a large open space for the fray in this traditional sport consequential into injury of dozens of people. Many people are even killed in this cruel game.
Contestants have to get close to animals as much as possible to grab prizes and other valuables tied to their horns. Since the game does not take place in enclosed stadium, the contestants and spectators are often injured as the animals dashed into the crowd. The game is dangerous not only for people but also for animal too, but it looks ridiculous when some absurd minded person justify the game as a sacrosanct Indian tradition. In their views tradition is just, no matter how painful it is for animals. Agreed that animals are not killed in the game, but what about those injuries that both animals and people get during the game. Human being is endorsed with the god-gifted voice to express its feelings, sorrow, pain or other desires. But animal can’t even do that. However animals too have all such sentiment, but the cruel inhumane people who don’t worth people’s sentiments, what would care about animal’s emotions. If you have heart, look at their painstaking eyes, you would find there nothing else than pain and hatred against “two-footed” animals.
The Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan rightly pointed out in its verdict, “Any event which involved cruelty to animals would not be permitted.” The Apex Court has given its verdict on the petition filed by Animal Welfare Board, who alleged that bulls were treated nastily by giving arrack and chili powder smeared in their eyes just before the commencing of the dangerous game to make them ferocious. Besides the Board also charged that horns of the bull are restricted to grow. Following protests the game was banned in 2004, but two years later Madras High Court lifted the ban with certain conditions like double barricading, putting bulls through drug and alcohol tests and stationing ambulances and mobile medical teams at the venues. Jallikattu has its recognition in literature since the ancient times but with the changed name of “Yeru Thaluvudal” means hugging the bull. The present name Jallikattu is comprised of two words- ‘Salli’ or ‘Kasu’ meaning coins and ‘Kattu’ meaning bundle or pouch. This pouch is filled with coins and valuable ornaments and tied to bull’s horns. The tamer gets the pouch of money. The game has also other significance for the villagers, who took it as a ceremony to select the bridegroom. Winners are allowed to get marry the maiden. One has the right to follow its traditional cultures, but the tradition, which harms other, should not be allowed to go at any cost. People have no right to treat animals cruelly for their pleasure. Most ridiculous is the people still trapped with superstitions, who thinks that if Jallikattu is not held, the village will have difficult times, disease and so on.
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