Monday, January 9, 2017

943. JALLIKATTU.....The Manly Sport....!

It was in the year 1993 when I had newly started an industry to cater to the motor manufactuting units, I had been to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. It was around Pongal, the Tamil New Year and my host insisted that I join them to watch a famous event that takes place every year at the same time. I was reluctant to go but was dragged to the event by my friend and the men in his family. There were easily tens of thousands gathered to witness the event. The sea of people from far and near villages had flooded the roads filling the narrow alleys, their eager faces gaze down from rooftops. Some had climbed the trees while a few had perched precariously on the sarve (a lean tree stem) scaffolding to get a better view. When all of us were waiting there came the massive inexorable force, a ferocious species of bull, the Kangeyam bull. This bull is let free and it dashes into the street.  The men have to tame it without using any sort of weapon, this is the task of the event. It is a mark of masculinity and the person who holds on to the bull and if possible brings it down can boast about it for the rest of the year. There is a lot of cash prize in the offering and more than that it is a high privilege to be regarded as a hero. It is said that in earlier days women used this event as swayamvara to choose a life partner.

The event I am talking about is the traditional “Jallikattu”, the taming of the bull. How foolishly I would have missed this event if I had not agreed to go with my friend and his family. Smeared with vibrant colour powder and ribbons tied to its legs, the bull charges down swaying its pointed horns. A silence engulfs the crowd and the excitement is evident. While the ordinary onlookers scamper to shelter themselves from the fiercely beast. The alley, which looked jam packed just a few moments back miraculously gave way to the beast. A handful of them tried to latch on to the bull. I silently thanked my stars for letting me view this manly sport, though a bizarre one at that, Jallikattu was worthy experience.

Last year there was a  lot of outcry by the animal activists to ban this event as they felt the bull is harmed.  The Supreme Court of India did ban this sport. I called up my friend to get the details.
I was told that the main reason of bringing-up the Kangeyam bulls was not just for sport, but mainly as studs to impregnate their cows. During this annual event all the healthy and strong bulls are brought and exhibited. Small farmers who cannot afford bulls, take a note of the top agile bulls and seek them for impregnating their cows. 

Unlike the Jersey bull this Kangeyam bull can impregnate up to 40 cows., which is a big problem for the bull semen West. If they want our farmers to depend on the semen then all our desi bulls should die or become redundant.

As a first target they tried to make the bulls “redundant”, with the introduction of tractors. I am not against automization but I feel that any machine should only make the work of men and animals simple. It should not make them redundant. The tractors have rendered the bull useless.

A few still care for their long tradition of having stud bulls. This made the semen companies to use the local NGO's and animal activists to shout against Jallikattu. 

We have to support this traditional sport so that the Kangeyam Breed does not get extinct....what say???

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