Jallikattu Protest – lessons from the historical moment

I still remember my school days a few years ago, when we would to wait for the pongal festival to arrive. It is a special season for us with a week long vacation to celebrate our culture and tradition. And Jallikattu would happen on the day of Mattu Pongal (Cow Pongal). How times have changed. Jallikattu is now banned.

Jallikattu – no matter which part of India you belong to, by now, you must have heard about the Jallikattu protest, which is one of the largest protest without any violence.

What is Jallikattu?

Jallikattu, also known as Eru thazhuvuthal and Manju virattu, is a traditional sport. in which a bull will be released into a crowd of people. Multiple human participants will attempt to grab and tightly “hug” the large hump of the bull and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. Participants hug the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags affixed to the bull’s horn. Prize money and trophies will be given to the winners.

Unlike the bull-fight that happens in Spain, the bull won’t be killed in Jallikattu. There are incidents where people have died, but there was no such instance, as far as I know, in which a bull was killed.

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The History of Jallikattu:

It has been practiced in Tamilnadu since 400-100BC, approximately more than 2500 years. Jallikattu would happen all over the year in Tamilnadu, but since past a few decades it is celebrated on the day of Mattu Pongal (Cow Pongal) during the Pongal festival.

Why it was banned?

In 2014, the supreme court banned Jallikattu, due to some objections from the animal activists and PETA India, saying that bulls are being hurt during the sport. Ever since, there has been protests every year, but, this year it has raised to one of the largest protests in the history.

This year’s protest started when a few protesters were arrested a few days ago. All the college students begin their support on Monday at Marina beach, in Chennai. Today, after 4 days, more than 5 lakhs of people are protesting in Marina beach. It is estimated that more then 50 lakhs of people are protesting all over the world.

What the protesters demand? The protesters of Jallikaatu demand that the ban on the sport should be removed and it should happen every year. As the protests continue, the focus is now widely spread across Tamilnadu, to not only lift the ban, but also, to avoid foreign cold drinks such as Coke, Pepsi and support the farmers. jallikattu

What are the takeaways from the protest?

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  1. It is one of the largest protests in the history, which did not have any violence. Considering the humongous crowd participating in the protest(more than 50 lakhs), it is a huge achievement to continue the protest in complete ahimsa. It is easier said than done. But, insofar, there hasn’t been a single fight, theft, molestation or violence reported. The protesters deserve a salute for this!
  2. The protest doesn’t have a any particular leader. No one is leading the youth. Without a single leader, all the youth, children and adults have come together to support the farmers and Jallikattu.
  3. It shows the power of social media. After the Chennai floods last year and Vardha cyclone. It’s another incident which proves that social media can be used to solve problems.
  4. With the help of the neighborhood people and youth the Food, water and toilet facilities have been arranged at the venue of the protests. It shows the responsibilities of youth.
  5. The whole protest has been happening since the past five days, and the support is only growing from all the corners of the world. It shows, no matter where people are, you can not take their rights away.
  6. We can sacrifice our land, food and water, but we can not sacrifice our rights
Lessons to the government:
  1. The politicians and actors have been asked to stay away from the protest, as the protesters do not want to make this a political issue.
  2. The protest started to lift the ban on jallikattu, but now its going into a even bigger objective of avoiding foreign products, betterment of the govt. and supporting our farmers.
  3. Now, the politicians will understand the power of youth. They’d have thought we’re only good in chatting in Facebook and taking selfies. But, now we proved them wrong.
  4. We will see a different Tamilnadu after this historic protest. This will be a new beginning in Tamilnadu.
  5. People won’t be silent anymore. This is just a beginning of a new Tamilnadu.
  6. The central govt. should understand that, keeping quiet in Tamilnadu related issues will be no longer accepted by the people of Tamilnadu.

As Tamilian (Never been prouder), it is a proud feeling for us to be a part of this historic moment. And, I hope that we will succeed and a new sun will rise in the morrow. They say, be the change you want to see. The times they are a changin’, so do we.

Note: This is my personal opinion on Jallikattu. Any comments or criticism should focus on the writer (me), not the culture or the people of TN.

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