JalliKattu is also known as Eru Thazhuvuthal and Manju Virattu, this is a traditional sport played during Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Not all the bulls are allowed for this sport, most commonly known Kangayam breed partitcipates in this sport.
It is known to be practiced during the Tamil Classic Period. A new seal from the Indus Valley Civilization depicting the practice is preserved in the National Museum, New Delhi. A cave painting in white Kaolin discovered near Madurai depicting a lone man trying to control a bull is estimated to be about 2,500 years old. The sport is more than two millennia old.
Jallikattu – In Jallikattu, the bull comes with salli or jalli means coins and kattu means bag. Here the bag filled with coins are tied to the bull’s horns and the winner had to retrieve. Eru Thazhuvuthal – Eru Thazhuvuthal means embracing the bull. Manju Virattu – means chasing the bull.
This sport is organized during Pongal across the state – Tamil Nadu. Jallikattu, which is celebrated at Alanganallur near Madurai, is the most popular.
Rules of the sport – The participants try to hold on the hump of the bull for a particular time or distance or in one variant the bull is tied to a long rope and a team of players has to subdue the bull within a specific time to win or in another variant coin filled in a bag is tied to the horns of the bull and the winner gets the coin bag.
Here both the participants and the bulls are examined by health examiner or vet. And later they are allowed for the game, the act of taming the bull has stood for virility and male power since ancient times.
The bull which wins the game is meant for breeding and the others are used for farming. The person who wins the Jallikattu will be given a reward now and in older days, they would be meant to marry the daughter of LandLord and most of the women fall in love for this person.
How the sport is played – The bulls are let through the entrance and this is known as the VAADI VAASAL. The bulls are let through the entrance, into the track, where the players wait. The track is usually the main street of the village, with the side lanes blocked. The event begins with the villages elders, followed by a band drummer and then to the temple of the village deity. First of all the temple bull is allowed to enter the sport, where the players do not touch and the bull is allowed to run free. After this bull, all the other bulls enter the ground through the vaadi vaasal, where the players are let to wait for the bull. All classes of people are allowed to participate in the game, today educated youngsters from these villages are also prticipate in the sport.
About the breed of the Bulls – Jallikattu bulls are exceptional and the kangayam breed which is fierce and belligerent fits for jallikattu. They are stronger than the usual bulls and they react to attack at slightest provocation. Another breed Bangur Bulls, are known for their speed.
How are the bulls brought up – These bulls are fed very well by their owners, which make them stronger, mostly their legs stronger. Also, they were not meant to do any works except for this sport. These bulls are not treated like an animal, but as one among their family member.
According to estimation, there were one million Kangayam bulls in 1990 and now they have been reduced to 15,000. It is said that, “The jallikattu sport is an incentive for people to rear these native breeds which are going extinct”.
Hence it has been an individuality, identity and unique sport for the Tamilians.
Why Jallikattu – The bulls won in jallikattu are used for breeding, where the others are used for ploughing the field, carrying loads and drawing the cart.
Fuss on Jallikattu – PETA and other animal rights activists say that sport is cruel and the bull is tamed violently and harmed. So in May 2014, the Supreme court of India banned the practice and in Jan 2016, the Supreme court of India upheld its ban on the event, leading to protests all over Tamil Nadu.
Almost for 3 years, this sport was banned all over TamilNadu and this year it resulted in a big Revolution started by College Students all over TamilNadu gathering in a place without any violence, just singing the slogans, quoting the awareness verses for the Jallikattu. This revolution extends it’s wings slowly day by day and now its been fierce when the parents of the students, school students, teachers, farmers, villagers, IT employees, and now the public.
Not only the people from Tamil Nadu, the revolution extended all over India by Tamilians and now all over the world by Tamilians. The most important thing in this revolution is everyone (including women, girls) gathered in a common place of a city or town and start shouting the verses, singing the slogans also at few places there was a band playing music, drums and songs which creates awareness among people.
Also this revolution, it almost in action for past 6 days whole day and night, people gathered there was served with food, snacks, water, cool drinks whereever it’s taking place. Each and every girl and women was safe gaurded there and this makes me remember the oath we take on our prayer “All Indians are my brothers and sisters”.
Finally the state and central government together grants a temporary ordiance which is applicable for just 6 months and the people need the permanent solution and not the temporary. Wish we get the permanent solution – It all happens only when the Bull is removed from the PCA (prevention of cruelty of animal) act. Finally I loved to say that, “It’s not Bull Fighting but Embracing the Bull”. Hope we get the permanent solution and save our culture.
Even I and my family had been a part of Revolution today at HOSUR, really I was astronished to see, right from the way the place was cleaned by the students, till the food served to everyone, not only the food but also snacks, water packets. The food was served by the public to public and students. Still the revolution grows day by day as more and more public supports the revolution.
But today… 23rd Jan 2017, the sad part is, the police force entered into the crowd during the dawn where the crowd was half assleep and started clearing them, started with Chennai Marina and it is happening all over the place where the students were protesting.
With a heavy heart and tons of parayer, let’s hope for the best.
23-jan-2017 — Jallikattu has been approved officially, thanks to all our students, who stood united inspite of too many despites. It’s only students who made it possible after a decade, created awareness all over the world. Awaiting for Feb 1st – Jallikattu at Alanganallur.
Tagging Vasantha Vivek of MySweetNothings – one among the Bloggers4Jallikattu