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Bullfights & Jallikattu

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The BIG NEWS is that the Democratically elected body Generalitat de Catalunya, has decided that BULL FIGHTING should be abolished in the provinces of Catalonia. The verdict was keen and there were abstentions, which had it been on the side of those who voted for BULLFIGHTING would still have lost the vote. Therefore to call the vote a COMPREHENSIVE one in favour of abolition of BULLFIGHTING would be apt.

The reasons cited have been varied, but the one reAson that stands out among the various voices of opinion is the one by the Catalan Regional President, Jose Montilla: “LET SOCIAL CUSTOMS EVOLVE TO THE POINT WHERE BULLFIGHTING WOULD VANISH ON ITS OWN, RATHER THAN LEGISLATE AN END TO IT AND DENY PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHETHER TO GO THE RING. I VOTED AGAINST THE BAN BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM.”

The context in which this was uttered by Mr.Jose Montilla was that in Barcelona there was only one functional bull ring and the other one in the whole Catalonia had fallen in disuse and is being converted into a mall.

The ANIMAL ACTIVISTS have been making bullfight an issue for long on the grounds of CRUELTY to the BULL. The unkindness unseen and practiced with greater enormity has escaped the voice of the Animal Activists. I am reminded of Thomas Macaulay’s quote on puritans and their  hatred for bear baiting:“The puritan hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”

Let us come to the one of the States of India, TAMIL NADU, where in the southern and central districts there is a sport called MANJU VIRATTU or JALLIKATTU, which majorly involves the bull and the youth who try taming the bull by either clinging on to the hump of the bull for a certain period of time or un-entangle the prize which is usually tied to the base of the horns of the bull. These bulls are not ordinary bulls. They belong to a breed called KANGEYAM, named after a town in Tiruppur district of Tamil Nadu. They are raised not for “covering or studding” purposes, they are raised with their feral traits untainted. On the day of  Maattu PONGAL these bulls are let loose either from an enclosure and the vain and able bodied youth cling or unties the trophy from their horns and exhibit their valour. There is hardly any violence used against the bulls. In fact the bulls have done more harm to the men than the other way round. The most famous place where this BULL TAMING is conducted is ALANGANALLUR.

The following link would visually revolt even a staunch supporter of the Spanish Bull fight!

But even though there is no  harm or harassment to the bulls,  some who champion the causes of  these bulls have gone to court in India have obtained stay and the issue is still an unsettled one in Tamil Nadu.  Pl read the following article to get a feel of it!

Animal Welfare Board of India seeks stay on Jallikattu from Apex court

Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has moved to the Supreme Court seeking stay of the bull fight popularly known as ‘Jallikattu’, which is held in Tamil Nadu during Pongal festival.

According to Animal Welfare Board the organisers of Jallikattu have not complied with the safeguard norms issued by the court, while allowing the celebration of the festival.
The petitioner has prayed to the court to restore its stay order, dated January 11, 2008, vide which the bullfight was banned by the court.
During Jallikattu, bulls are forced to drink ‘arrack’, a type of wine and red chilly powder is thrown in their eyes, and they are forced to run and fight when they are in great pain. Therefore, it is nothing but torture of a hapless animal and according to the Board, it is inhuman.
The petition was mentioned before a bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, for an urgent hearing. The Court, however, declined to give urgent hearing and told the council for the petitioner that let the case come in de course.
The Jallikattu is going to be organised on Pongal day in different parts of Tamil Nadu.
The petition is coming up for hearing on January 30, 2009 and by that time Pongal will be over.
The petitioner has annexed a press clipping that large number of people were injured in bull fight last year and they have also annexed a photograph showing how the animals were tortured during Jallikattu.
The petition is likely to be mentioned for urgent hearing on January 9.


So even non issues are promoted in the altar of the organizations, which have run out of issues. That is exactly why i subscribe to the opinion of Mr.Jose Montilla. Let it EVOLVE and do not LEGISLATE on such matters.

Further, a person in another state would not have any interest in preserving the CULTURE of Tamil Nadu, since Jallikattu is an integral part of the Pongal festival of Tamil Nadu, the persons from other states should not interfere in such issues, otherwise they’d just be like the puritans and bear-baiting as juicily said by Thomas Babington Macaulay!



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