Madurai

Behind the scenes in Palamedu

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Apart from the usual prizes like utensils, bicycles, cupboards and gold coins, the jallikattu at Palamedu this year saw a goat kid being given as a prize. Contrary to the expectation that tokens will be issued to winners to collect the goat kid later, as it is done for cupboards and bicycles, the billy was thrown by an organiser from the gallery on top of vadivasal towards the winner, who gleefully caught it and carried it on his shoulder, much to the amusement of the audience.

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Though jallikattu remains a sport that valorises masculinity, stories of women raising jallikattu bulls are not unheard of. The jallikattu at Palamedu happened to provide an example for this when a woman, who raised a bull, released it in the vadivasal by removing its nose rope, a task almost always done by men.

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While everyone was in a hurry to release the bulls in quick succession so that all the waiting bulls could get a chance to enter the arena, some of the bulls were hesitant to come out. With multiple tactics by the handler failing to bring out the bulls, they had to be pulled out with ropes.

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The instances of more than one bull remaining on the arena could not be avoided at times despite the best efforts by the district administration. There was an occasion when four bulls were on the arena at the same time, increasing the risk of injuring one another and also the bull tamers.

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Though’bullets’ offered to a few bull tamers and bull owners in last year’s event were absent at Palamedu, this year’s event did have a few two-wheelers on offer. However, bull tamers were seen complaining at the end of the event that they were not given to the best tamers.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 9:49:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/behind-the-scenes-in-palamedu/article22447017.ece

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