Andhra Pradesh

COVID surge puts bull trainers in tough spot

Ongole bulls being trained by expert trainers at Madiralapadu in Prakasam district.

Ongole bulls being trained by expert trainers at Madiralapadu in Prakasam district.

Sixty-year-old Rangaiah, a bull trainer, used to happily go round the town along with the colourfully-decorated Ongole bull and perform a variety of tricks during Sankaranti year after year.

But this time, a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases has put paid to his hopes of getting gifts, including new clothes and cash, from the people.

Every year, bull trainers from the nomadic Jangam community visit Ongole and other cities and towns for three-to-four months till the harvest festival, before returning to their native village, Nagallamudipi, near Markapur in Prakasam district with handsome gains.

“This time, people did not even come out of their house when we went there fearing spread of the infection,” Rangaiah added. The economic condition of scores of families of bull trainers who had been camping on the city outskirts near Zilla Parishad colony ahead of the big festival was no different.

“We were hoping against hope for normalcy to return. Now the surge of COVID cases has again put us in a tough spot,” laments another trainer Ramanaiah. Now we are finding the going tough with inadequate food, water and fodder, adds Santhaiah. while sipping a cup of coffee at the deserted C.V.N. Reading room centre here.

These trainers tame the bulls disowned by farmers and train them in the Nallamala forests over six-to-eight months. After training, they bring back the docile animals to cities and towns for Sankranti and make them do a variety of tricks to enthrall the audience.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 9:30:32 pm |