Thursday, January 8, 2009

JalliKattu - Ban or Run


Caught an article in the papers today – some obnoxious activists want to ban the Jallikattu tradition in Tamil Nadu. The Times of India has even put up a microsite http://www.jallikatu.com/ that has a debate going on – Ban or Run Fair.
To the un-initiated, its all about cruelty to animals, unnecessary loss of human life, wasted heroism, – “stop these mad caps running after these poor animals”. Fair. A huge animal lover myself, might normally say the same thing. But, there are some things that transcend such modern concepts such as “PETA” and that is History, Tradition, Culture, Myths, Legends, Generations, Pride, Belonging, etc. That’s the magic and irony of being human.

Tamils are a very ancient people – far more ancient that you might ever realize – remember it’s the oldest “surviving” language in the world. And this ancient sport of Jallikatu goes way back, before many parts of the world figured out how to say hi to one another, way before the Spaniards or the French or the South Americans started their famous bull killings that keeps playing on sophisticated channels like Discovery and Travel & Living, that many people travel half way around the world to see.


Rock paintings in Karikkiyur (40 km from Kotagiri, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, discovered in 2004) has several rock paintings, more than 3,500 years old, showing men chasing bulls. Jalli kattu or Manju Virattu (chasing the bull) gained popularity during the Sangam period (300 BCE to 300 CE), the game was also used to help choose husbands. Successful “matadors” were choosing as grooms – an idea that’s reflected even today in “rustic” tamil movies. The ancient Tamil tradition was “manju virattu” (chasing bulls) or “eruthu kattuthal” (lassoing bulls) and it was never “jallikattu,” that is baiting a bull or controlling it as the custom obtained today. In ancient Tamil country, during the harvest festival, decorated bulls would be let loose on the “peru vazhi” (highway) and the village youth would take pride in chasing them and outrunning them.

It was about 500 years ago, after the advent of the Nayak rule in Tamil that this harmless bull-chasing sport metamorphosed into “jallikattu of today. It exists till today, happening during the harvest festival Pongal. Wealthy villagers raise the “kangeyam bull” specially for this day’s event, transforming it into a village’s version of “Gallery Sport”.
So as long as the world is insane enough to still hold boxing matches in the Olympic Games, or continues to hold animals captive in incompatible habitats in Zoos, there is no reason why the poor Madurai villager alone needs to be told to go fuck themselves. So you crazy activist faggots go spend the energy on something more productive and leave the Tamils be. Instead, ask the Tamil Nadu (Tourism) government to own it, institutionalize it, in way that it becomes more sophisticated, more organized and with a frame work of rules and generally a little more acceptable to these pseudo meat eating animal lovers!

2 comments:

vinesh said...

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Rahul said...

This is played in our country for thousands of years - why suddenly we make issue out of it.

The aim of the game is just to tame the bull, they are not killing the bull like the one in Spain, the government have made many restriction now to protect the bulls from abuse, such as only healthy bull can take part in the game checked by a vet, also one to one taming of the bull - not hundred men jumping on one bull, bull's tail can't be pulled or touched while taming and the person who does that act taken out of the ring same moment, also no one is allowed to take part in the game with alcohol influence...come on guys if you feel the animal is ill-treated by participation in this game where it is not harmed in any way like the one in Spain, if we still feel the bulls are harmed then we can't use the Bulls for farming or any other work where they have to work even harder...By the way this villagers don't have any other form of entertainment or any games to participate, they raise this bulls like their children and it's kept in that manner till their death, at-least the youths don't go in to any unlawful acts when they are kept active by such sports...