eople of Pakala mandal in Chittoor district are happy that the Centre has lifted the ban on Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming event during Shankranti season in Tamil Nadu. They feel that the development will lead to the revival of the rural sport in several villages elsewhere.
Farmers of this panchayat who cherished the traditional ‘Pasuvula Panduga’ (cattle festival) for more than a century, had missed the unique event, thanks to the gradual decline in bull population. Seven years ago, the fete was discontinued. Kamathampalle, also known as Vajjeripalle, in the heart of Pakala town, used to host the event. The festival saw its glory during the British Raj.
Hundreds of cattle used to be taken to the narrow streets of Vajjeripalle on Kanuma Day (the last day of the three-day Sankranti festivities) from neighbouring villages.
Though some elders of the panchayat tried to revive the event, they could not go further, as people had lost touch with the rudiments of the game.
In this backdrop, Adusupalle, another locality in Pakala panchayat, is gearing up to host the cattle festival this year with pomp.
Bull race began at Adusupalle in 1983 when the TDP formed the government in united Andhra Pradesh. In the late 80s, it was dropped after the Congress returned to power.
It was after a lull of a quarter century, farmers of Adusupalle revived the cattle festival in January 2015.
Chandrababu, a native of Adusupalle, says that in 2015, there was not much time left to celebrate the event in a grand manner.
“In the last two decades, when bull-race slipped into oblivion, a number of youth left for Chennai, Benguluru and other cities in search of jobs. Gradually, the population of bulls began dwindling, and farmers, too, showed little interest in rearing bulls, thanks to mechanised farming,” he adds.
Suresh, another youth, says: “In spite of the current situation, we are campaigning for the revival of bull-race in our village, and we are getting positive response from young farmers.” Village elders Sudhakar Naidu, Narayanaswamy Naidu and Yoganand Naidu are patrons of the event.
Compared to the violent Jallikattu and release of drunken bulls into a frenzied mob, the Adusupalle version has all kindness for the cattle.
Farmers would just hold their bulls by ropes tied to their nostrils (mukkuthadu) and gently allow the animals to have a walk in the fields, earmarked for the sport, marked with lines and richly decorated.
In the last two decades, when bull-race slipped into oblivion, a number of youths left for other cities in search of jobs. Farmers, too, showed little interest in rearing bulls.
Native of Adusupalle