The entire Animal Welfare organizations across India has been triggered and endless debates happening over Social Media and National Media. On one hand, I am so delighted that there is huge group of people standing up and fighting for the animal welfare but on the other hand, I am not happy with what is being propagated through this #NoJallikattu campaign.
Some history about this sport would be much required here. The actual common name for this event is “Eruthazhuval (Tamil :ஏறுதழுவல்)” where “Eru” means cow and “thazuval” means embracing. The literal meaning being embracing the cow and not fighting. However, it is being called in different names in different parts of Tamil Nadu like Manju Virattu, Jallikattu, etc. The event actually takes place during the Harvest festival in Tamil Nadu, where cattle which helps the farmers in cultivation are thanked and worshipped. The whole festival is dedicated to all the cattle that is the part of the farmer’s family.
And this brave event was introduced so that the men in the country do not lose their courage and bravery even during celebrations. Those times, men were always expected to be ready for battles, and hence this event. Now the Bulls used in this event. These are a rare variety of bulls only present in Tamil Nadu. These bulls were used for ploughing the fields and definitely fierce and strong to do the job. But after ploughing, there is no work for the bull, except for mating with the cows. So they do not have work all through the year and hence this event emerges so that the bulls do not lose their fierce behaviour and also becomes a pride for the owner to exhibit the strength of the bull. Nowadays, tractors have replaced bulls in ploughing, so the only job of these fierce bulls is – help the cows in breeding – thereby ensuring we, humans get natural milk and milk products.
But the farmers who in fact love these bulls as much as their family, also wish to flaunt the strength of this animal and hence the tradition of Eruthazhuval still seems to happen. It is in fact, dangerous only to the men who participate in the event and not the bulls. All the incidents like using blade, breaking the bull’s horn, administering alcohol to the bulls, cutting the tail, etc. as described by Animal Welfare activists are actually considered to be “foul” in the event, and the bull owners will not allow it to happen at any cost. And the actual game is also just to hold the hump of the bull for a certain distance of 50 meters (varies from place to place) without falling off. The horns are not supposed to be touched or broken as well.
So this kind of an brave event is what many people have been talking about without even knowing what it is. Of course, in events like this there are some accidents which happen resulting mostly in injury for the players and sometimes for the bulls. Come on, who knew Philip Hughes would die of Sean Abbott’s delivery that day ?
The people protesting against this are just like, “I am a very liberal person, I will drink milk, I will eat beef. But hey, Jallikattu is Animal Cruelty.” Seriously ?!?! I do not know where these people were when there are so many cruel things happening to the animals everywhere and yet there are only considered about this one day event in India. What about these ?
Horse Racing that happens in every city (except Tamil Nadu)
Elephant parade in Kerala temples
Cavalry forces in Police and Army for scouting and parades
Circus shows where animals are employed
and the list is never ending
As per the activists, Jallikattu should be banned for “Cruelty to Animals which they do not deserve”. In all of the above mentioned events, animals are either whipped, beaten, tails cut or even administered with drugs. Do these events do not fall under the cruelty category?
I am not saying its completely permissible that bulls should suffer for some sport. But, bringing in proper restrictions and rules will minimize the losses considerably.
The primary reason I do not like the hype from various Animal Welfare activists is, they are not fighting for the welfare of the bulls and instead fighting to make this breed of bulls and cows extinct in Tamil Nadu. Now let’s look at the consequences. So Jallikattu is banned. So the pride with which the owners held these animals will reduce and slowly in about 5 years, the number will reduce considerably. When bulls decrease, the original Tamil Nadu will decrease resulting in employing hybrid Jersey cows for milk. And who will own this ? Of course MNCs and corporate giants will own the cows and the farmers will be working for them in the same farms. So what is the big difference ? This will definitely lead to extinction of the native Tamil Nadu breed of cow population. This is altogether a vicious business plan of Dairy giants and few organisations supporting them.
This should be stopped. I am sure this will not be solved in one day. But the people should be aware of what they are fighting for. Just like we threw Free Basics out of the park after realising the negative side of it, we should know this as well. In a well informed technological society, it is just not about tweeting about animal welfare just because some celebrity does it. Think twice before propagating and supporting them. Especially when you do not have any idea about the event, do not go there.
Source : Various Tamil people who #SupportJalliKattu