Dipankar means ‘bringer of the lamp’ figuratively meaning one who throws light on something. Unfortunately the article is a compendium of false assertions, bigoted opinions and divorced from the cultural sensibilities of the Thamizh Culture.
Being a Sociologist, he should have been aware of the fact that each state of the Union has a distinct culture blurring on the edges with a smattering of a combination of the cultures with which there is social, economic and physical intercourse! Thamizh has its own culinary, sartorial, musical, linguistic & literary besides the ‘attitude’ and ‘aspiration’ which it unappolegitically glorifies. He has failed to understand that distinctness inherent to Thamizh culture. Just because he would never be considered a part of the Thamizh culture, even if he were to be a part of a Thamizh based institution, to entertain resentment and deny the validity of the cultural expressions of the Thamizh culture on the grounds of ‘ torture & cruelty’ to animals, which is an omnibus amorphous definition under Chapter III of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, appears cussed. It is just like a Thamizhan who hates Bhangra of a Punjabi or the Rabindra Sangeet of a Bengali or the Dandia of a Gujarati or the Onam of a Keralite!
I have to first recognise that my culture is DIFFERENT from those cultural expressions and see if it were to cause any damage to my sensibilities. I don’t play Holi, because I feel it violates the integrity of a person. The last bastion of my self is my body, when some unknown person in his exuberance of celebrating a festival which I cannot be a part of and don’t want to be a part of, inflicts himself and discolours me with his colours, I am unable to see it as an essential part of his celebratory process! That is because as Dr. Johnson is supposed to have said: Your Liberty ends, where my nose begins! The unknown person should either take my consent or refrain from making me a part of his process of celebration, as the Constitutional Right not only grants me to live unmolested without any colours but also casts a Duty on my neighbour to refrain from inflicting his cultural trappings on my body and thus violate my integrity. Period. There is no cultural avalanche for Holi, having a greater right as most Indians celebrate this festival THEREFORE all human beings in India SHALL SUBJECT WITHOUT DEMUR to such violation! It is to be respected and I as a Thamizhan SHOULD avoid a place where such practices are full blown on a Holi day, but to make a neat paradigm of prescriptive cultural behaviour and preach the rest of the country the dangers of throwing unwholesome powders and smearing oneself or others with paints and consequently enacting laws would be nothing but an expression of using the legislative might than what is sensible and right.
In fact when I see a Bihari like Dipankar Gupta having an opinion on Jallikattu and equating it with fox-hunting and Bullfights of Spain, is similar to an uninvited person giving an opinion on the taste of Biryani which he never tasted!
Lay off, dear friends, Lay off!
The law is in an Occupied Field (enacted by the Parliament) from the Concurrent List. The State’s opinion stands diluted in a Union Legislation, however of the legislation relates to List II of the 7th Schedule, exceptions could be carved out.
In fact at Section 28 of the PCA ACT, there is an exception to the cruelty to animals on Religious grounds.
Therefore, exception to be carved out on Cultural grounds would be available to the State legislature, as the Union Legislation is from the Concurrent List, which is what Tamil Nadu Legislature has done. I also see no reason, why this Tamil Nadu Legislation should not be placed in the IX Schedule, like the 69% reservation Act placed by the Parliament. In fact the issue on cultural grounds should NOT BE OF ANY CONCERN BY ANYONE EXCEPT A THAMIZHAN.
Coming to the grounds of CRUELTY and comparing the same with fox-hunting or bullfighting in Spain, is naive. First and foremost, the animal is NOT KILLED. Secondly, in the case of the bull, the bull is meant to be killed finally to be consumed and it is the way that the sport is structured by tradition, of a man or woman wielding a knife or a spear or whatever sharp implement which offends and OUGHT TO OFFEND ANY CIVILISED MAN’S SENSIBILITIES. The bull is ranged not only against the matador or a toreador but with immense support of menials who distract the bull in the event of the bull having an upper hand. The bull is DOOMED. Thirdly, it is prolonged to such an extent that different persons serially and collectively plunge their knives and spears into the bull. Finally it is gory and bloodthirsty.
As regards FOX HUNTING, there are hounds involved, which track down the foxes and the heads and tails are taken as trophies but the lifeless torsos are left for the hounds. It might have been effective as a pest control mechanism, but it provided an upper class of ritualistic fox hunting and became an aspirational sport are the inherent bloodthirsty elements to that sport. Herman Goering brought in a law banning fox hunting , even though he was ably aiding the Fuehrer in extermination of a breed of human vermin(he thought) without any compunction!
Jallikattu is a sport, which is neither bloodthirsty nor is it a sport of an orphan animal. In the bullfights of Spain, cruelty is writ large on the manner and methods of the sport. In fox hunting, it became a ritual in bloodthirstiness, but in Jallikattu the Bulls have owners and it is not the catchers or hump- huggers of those bulls who cause annoyance and cruelty as much as the owners themselves, on the mistaken notion that if the bull went ‘uncaught’ he would be called the owner of an untameable bull. This can be and SHOULD BE REGULATED BY LAW.
The bull is taken care of by the bull owners and they do earn through the stud services offered by those bulls after they are retired from Jallikattu. The excesses carried out and showcased by PETA, AWBI, HSI and PFA are nothing but sporadic instances which have been indulged in by some overenthusiastic persons. I have seen college boys taking a handful of coloured powder and smearing it on women’s cleavages and hips on slow moving buses, in public on Holi day, should one ban this because of such sporadic excesses? NAY. They need to be streamlined.
Finally, Mr. Dipankar Gupta asks rhetorically: NOBODY WOULD LIKE TO TAKE ON TIGERS OR GRIZLY BEARS AND THEN CALL IT CULTURE! What piece of wisdom my friends! Compassion and perspicacity shall die with Dipankar Gupta! In Jallikattu is anyone killing? or using a knife or spear? Is the bull owner complaining? Are the bulls killed for eating, at the end of the sport?
Nay, nay, nay!
Jallikattu is celebrated only during PONGAL, the harvest season and not a sport to gladden the hearts of the bloodthirsty spectator.
As a rounding off, may be with India in the threshold of Superpowerdom, Dipankar feels that the cultural epicentre of India should not shift to the land of Bharatanatyam, Carnatic music, Thamizh movies, Jerusalem of Tennis, Chettinad cuisine and a people who could agitate without violence along with their wives and children in the Marina.
Sorry Sociologist, you can’t set the agenda for a Thamizhan, he is way too hoary to fall within your grasp😎