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Jallikattu Debate: Educate On Both Sides Before You Pick One

Jallikattu Debate: Educate On Both Sides Before You Pick One

Did tradition win today or the frustration of people? Will the next generation feel pitiful on us for fighting this fight, like we do for our forefathers?

Jallikattu was first challenged by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in 2004. In 2006, it was banned by a single bench of Madras court when a case was filed by a Tamilian A. Nagaraja whose son, an artist died in the event while painting the sport. In 2009, Jallikattu was allowed to be performed in the regulated environment. The regulations were broken vastly and hundreds died including serious injuries to many bulls. As a result, a law was passed by SC in 2014 banning Jallikattu, bullock cart races in Maharashtra and Punjab, Kambala (buffalo race) in Karnataka, and Dhirio (bull fight) in Goa.

In January 2016, the Centre issued a notification allowing the sport which declared bulls as performing animal. SC took a complete stand against the notification and claimed it a direct violation. A review petition was filed by the Tamil Nadu government to lift the ban but the court dismissed it in November 2016. When O. Paneerselvam took the position as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in January, he made a fresh appeal to let people play the sport on January 16. The bench declined to issue any interim order (temporary order for a limited time).

This issue spread like wildfire and also left Tamilians with a burning agitation towards the Centre and their politicians. This gave birth to Pro-Jallikattu protest under the influence of no major politician or celebrities. Celebrities joined in later and voiced their opinions. At a point, there were over 20 lakhs people recorded participating in the protest. Platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook were the major reason for Pro-Jallikattu protest being the purest source of information they are and also the triggering video by Hiphop Tamiza on Jallikattu. He later distanced himself from the protest.

The Timeline of 2017’s Pro-Jallikattu Protest

  • 8th January: Protest started with the assembly of few small college groups on Marina Beach.
  • 9th January: 11 senior counsels, 49 advocates, appeared in SC where PETA and AWBI got the stay sanctioned. Thus making sure that Jallikattu will not be celebrated on 16th January.
  • 12th January: #WeNeedJallikattu was the top trending hashtag on Twitter.
  • 16th January: Jallikattu was celebrated at Alanganallur in Madurai despite the ban with four temple bulls. 237 people were detained for breaking the law.
  • 17th January: People gathered in masses to protest on Marina Beach against the arrest of Youth.
  • 20th January: CM approached PM for support to pass the ordinance (against the decision by SC). PM declared the matter sub-judice and denied any help. Celebrities and influencers started fasting.

  • 21st January: State Government promulgated the ordinance ( which lasts for six months) and declared the celebrations of Jallikattu to be held on Sunday.
  • 22nd January: Despite the resistance of locals, who were looking for a more permanent solution. Jallikattu was celebrated at Pudukottai where 2 died and 83 were severely injured.
  • 23rd January: Protestors were evacuated from Madurai by police. Vehicles were torched, roads were blocked, the city came to a standstill. Most protesters fled the grounds.
  • 24th January: The remaining protesters agreed to abandon the movement and gave the deadline of February 1, 2017, for the SC to make the decision permanent.

Why Did The SC Ban Jalikattu?

  • It is violating three sections of the prevention of cruelty to animals act, 1960; Sections 3 (defines performing animals), 11 (stops people from attending events involving animal cruelty like bull fighting) and 22 (animals used for military, police, scientific and educational purposes are not considered cruelty).
  • Before the ceremony, the bulls are mutilated (cutting various parts of body) including their ears, fracture, and dislocation of bone, biting the bull’s tail, poking the bull with sharp objects, rubbing their nose and eyes with irritants to annoy them, this all is violation of Section 11(1)(a) of the prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • A huge number of deaths were reported including the audiences’.

Pro-Jallikattu Protest Argument

  • India is the highest producer of beef, which again is causing more and more bulls to be butchered especially the Indian breeds. The demand for free ranging cattle (animals who grazes openly without human force feeding them) is high. Their point is that the Indian breeds will go extinct since it is been slaughtered, its uses are being cut down which makes poor farmers to abandon their livestock and thirdly, exotic breeds are being brought to India. Sex-simulated semen are being marketed to make sure that male calves are not being produced.
  • Section 27 of the constitution claims that animals used by police, military and for educational and scientific exhibitions are not considered ‘performing animals’. Except that if you wish to register any animal under ‘performing animals,’ it has to get the seal of approval of AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India). And AWBI is being associated with bigger conspiracy.
  • The protesters are claiming that it is a conspiracy of PETA. Since the time, 1998, when PETA was introduced, the number of bulls have reduced to 60%, the next target of PETA is to ban the usage of bulls to carry goods from farms to sugar factories. Which is outrageous since the transportation would otherwise cause around Rs. 2000-3000 while breeding the bulls causes no more than Rs. 500 and also saves the breed from getting extinct.
  • They also have one more theory: CEO of PETA, Poorva Joshipura, is a co-opted member of the AWBI which is the statue department of India. Chinny Krishna, VC of AWBI is the chairman of Blue Cross. His wife, Nandita Krishna, is the VC of Blue Cross and a trustee of Humane Society International, a huge animal welfare trust in the USA. They think that the committees are interlinked and are executing destructive things under curtains.
  • There are certain other conspiracy theories they have come up with but due to lack of evidence and no strong basis we did not mention them. Not a problem they would have definitely reached your feeds through social media.
  • Kollywood superstars, Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Vijay, Vikram, Suriya, Dhanush and Simbu are supporting us. This means we aren’t wrong.

Protesters’ Demands

  • Removal of Jallikattu from section 22 since it is technically not bullfighting.
  • Amendment of section 11-3 to remove the ban on Bulls from using them in practices like Jallikattu, Rekla(bull cart race) and other traditional sports involving bull.
  • Removal of PETA from grounds of TN.
  • Give a permanent solution and allow it with no changes in the practices except increasing security.


PETA doesn’t have an office in Tamil Nadu as they work from Mumbai. Hence, technically it cannot be moved out of the Tamil Nadu state. To all those who are asking questions like from where is PETA getting the money to pay their lawyers? The answer you are expecting: Foreign funding. Even if PETA is using foreign funding to save animals of your countries, how exactly is that a bad thing? People demanding a ban on PETA should realize one thing that PETA is neither involved in the government nor controlling it.

PETA is just an organization that is working for animals in many countries including India for free. Last I checked, Indians liked free services. PETA wasn’t even involved in the issue at the time the cycle of banning and allowing Jallikattu was going on. PETA got involved in 2008 when Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA was arrested in 2008 for peacefully protesting against the ritual. The same kind of peaceful protest which got protesters to lift the ban. Hypocrisy? There is no truth beyond this one; plural always wins over singular.

Jallikattu Is Not Saving The Bulls From Going Extinct

In the state of Tamil Nadu, according to one estimate, 5,000 bulls are being reared for Jallikattu. But these are not used for any other purpose such as working in the fields. They are trained only for the sport. Whereas according to the livestock survey of 2012, there is a total of 24.5 lakh of native breed bulls in TN alone. Are those bulls living their life in the hope as a standby of Jallikattu bulls?

The Bull Is Not Your Family Member

India has learned the lesson of consent, time and again but seems to somehow forget it conveniently. If you haven’t developed technologies to record the feelings of bulls and still claiming that the bull is happy because it is being treated as a family member for the rest 364 days of the year is bulls***. It is molestation and hypocrisy. I don’t even need to present anecdotes for the same. Do the math. Pick any human member of your family and place him in the situation. People see what they choose to see. It is simply a matter of who is the more powerful species and who owns whom. ‘Jiski lathi uski bull’.

“Ban Biryani Too,” Said Kamal Hasan

People arguing over biryani, beef ban, usage of animals and horses for goods carriage don’t even deserve a reply. There are logical reasons which can shut them up but then they will bring up another such example. Logic isn’t their strongest quality. The only question is, how is this a part of your debate? How is the existence of child abuse a justification for women abuse? Secondly, if you were always aware of those things pertaining to the society, why didn’t you do something about it earlier? Do you care about all that just enough to win the debate?

How Low Will You Go In The Name of Traditions?

Jallikattu is promoting casteism and sexism. Dalits are still not allowed to hug (call what you wish) the bulls and neither are women allowed to watch the events. Not that it is an honorable thing to watch your family member getting killed by a bull. But the only question I have is why would the women protest then? Those women who weren’t ever allowed to participate in any way are so emotional about protecting this tradition. If we haven’t seen the sport personally and thus hold no right to talk about it. How do they?

There are women who have lost their husbands to this sport and still have no objection with their son joining the same. What kind of black magic is going in TN? Will the country do ANYTHING in the name of traditions? There was a time when people were so brainwashed that they happily agreed to marry the widow of their brother and women accepted Sati. How are traditions more important than the life of your loved ones? We need to set our priorities straight.

Humans Don’t Enjoy The Sport

People who are arguing only about the bulls need to consider humans too. A young man enters the field to fight with bulls under peer pressure to prove himself a man. How is that entertaining to other people? Between 2008–2014, 3000 people had a grave injury and 47 people died while participating in Jallikattu.

This Tradition Or That? The One That Stays In My Borders

If the dying men, injured bulls, and rudimentary traditions can’t turn your mind, consider Jallikattu violating another practice: praying cows. How different is bull from a cow? If we killed a thousand men few dates ago to protect our ‘Gai Mata,’ where are those Gai protectors now? Ah Yes. Sexism. Bull is male. Also, it isn’t the problem of TN, right? They don’t consider cows their mother. Tradition ends on the border of the state.

Possible Solutions

People celebrated the festival even after the ban. Also, the protest by commoners and influencers was not something which can be ignored. This forced the SC and the Centre to take immediate actions. No sooner than the State Government announced the acceptance of Jallikattu as a legit tradition (after the Centre withdrew the notification of 2016 permitting the use of bulls as performing animals), AWBI challenged the new Act whose hearing is scheduled on January 30.

  • Since the resistance is strong on both sides, it will be difficult to drive to a conclusion which all parties will accept. This is what Centre has been trying, as usual. Middle grounds can be formed like allowing only a small and controlled number of Jallikattu to be arranged, under maximum security and other facilities. Less number of events mean more monetization for each which in turns allow better provisions to be made.
  • AWBI can direct energy towards regulating the event.
  • The bulls and the people can be trained well and people should be strictly explained the rules for participating.

Chennai: Youngsters and Students during the protest to Lift the ban on Jallikattu and impose the ban on PETA, at Kamarajar Salai, Marina Beach in Chennai. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar.

What Are The Effects Of The Ordinance Passed?

We can come up with innovative solutions for the sport. But how will anything change now if it hasn’t in past 5000 years?

  • When the sport was played on Sunday, 2 bull vaulters died and 83 were severely injured. Everyone who stood up for this cause should hold them responsible for their death. They weren’t sacrificed, you let them die.
  • Neighboring states are already suiting up to exempt their TRADITIONAL sports which were banned in 2014. Karnataka chief minister P C Siddharamiah has said: “The state government backs Kambala and I request the central government to do for (Kambala) what they did to facilitate Jallikattu.” Let’s reverse the modernization and go back 200 years. Every practice we have banned since then was at one point a tradition. You don’t get to choose with emotions which ill practices to keep and which to eradicate.

People in villages are preparing to celebrate Jallikattu in various parts of Tamil Nadu. Did tradition win today or the frustration of people? Will the next generation feel pitiful on us for fighting this fight, like we do for our forefathers?

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