The spontaneous uprising in Tamil Nadu, of students and youth to protect Tamil traditions and culture is laudable and admirable (“TN takes jallikattu issue to PM”, Jan.19). The distance they have maintained from political parties is sensible. As parents and teachers, we are proud of them for their focus, unity and dedication to achieve an objective. However, I wish that they look at other social issues as well. Water and air pollution, linking rivers, the need for better agricultural practices, creating employment avenues and better education are issues that have to be looked into considering that our leaders have promised solutions to them which are still elusive. Once young people make a breakthrough, changes are possible. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us hope for a new dawn.
The demand that jallikattu be restored is another example of the “post-truth” phenomenon wherein public opinion is significantly inspired by emotional appeals rather than influenced by rational rebuttals and factual representations. It is true that democracy exists only to the extent the voice of dissent is heard. However it is disturbing to note that the protests, especially in Chennai, have taken such a humongous proportion. It is also ironical that modern day youth are channelling their energy in a concerted manner to fight for a cause that affects rural tradition. This large-scale tumult appears to have political overtones as well as it reflects public sentiments. Those on protest should also realise that it is for the Supreme Court to analyse and come out with its stance and the Prime Minister has done well to state that the issue is sub-judice. As a State, Tamil Nadu has more serious problems such as drought and farmer suicide and it would be more meaningful if societal and governmental attention focussed on these instead.
Many appear to be confusing a bull fight with jallikattu. A bull fight is a blood sport in which a bull is fought by a human and concludes with either “taming” or killing it. “ Yer thazhuvudhal ” is the traditional name for jallikattu which literally means “bull embracing”. It is an activity in which bulls run free and volunteers try to hold them for as long as possible. There is no cruelty. This is also an activity popular among rural populations with an agricultural background. It is a fact that interest in agriculture is waning as youngsters in the hinterland adapt to an urban culture. Therefore, there is a need to preserve rural traditions. Eventually there may come a time when this tradition will fade away like pallankuzhi , killithanda and aadupuli .
Those on protest have termed the ban as an act against Tamil culture. If they are hoping for the ban to be lifted, can they assure the Supreme Court that the animal will not be tortured? Can they make the assurance that there will be no spraying of chilli powder into its nose, feeding it alcohol, twisting its tail and precautions taken to prevent people from getting injured or killed when the animal charges at spectators?
Seeing the virulence and confrontational stand being adopted against the State government one is certain that this is a way to destabilise the government. The Centre should not cave in to the demands as the next one could be one that scraps the NEET test (professional courses’ entrance exam). There is a political angle to this and it must be stopped.
Srirangam, Tamil Nadu
It is deplorable that old traditions such as jallikattu and rooster fights are still in vogue in certain parts of India despite legal implications. The case recently where two bulls panicked at a jallikattu event and were run over by a train engine at Gudupalle in Chittoor district shows that this tradition is cruel. In another incident, a few sheep were hurled off a hill in Karnataka as a part of local tradition. Everyone knows that rooster fights are held illegally despite court orders. What is there to celebrate at the cost of the blood and life of animals? Is it not barbaric?
M. Blessing Moses,
Pragadavaram, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh