A word that has been trending in every social media for the past few days – Jallikattu.
The second longest beach in the world is getting drowned in the sea of people crowded there. Protests are being held all over Tamil Nadu against banning this Jallikattu. So, what exactly is this sport?
Jallikattu or Sallikattu is a sport held on the third day of the harvest festival of Pongal, which is known as Maatu pongal. This day is dedicated for the worship of cows which are considered sacred and also because they play a vital role in farming. Jallikattu, definitely is not bull-fighting.
Originally, the sport was called salli(coins)kattu wherein coins and jewels are tied to the horns of the bull and the one who manages to tame the bull is declared winner and is rewarded with those valuables.
Jallikattu is not only a sport but, it is a breeding science. The bulls which are proven strong and difficult to tame are used for mating and the bulls which are easily tamed are used for ploughing and other purposes.
The animals are not killed or hurt in any way. The people share an intimate bond with the animals and treat them like their own children. When the bull is released onto the field, the players try to tame it by hugging its hump. It is considered inauspicious if the animal is hurt and so great care is taken for the same.
So, when PETA, a foreign organization, called this animal cruelty and banned this, the people of Tamil Nadu were outraged as they considered it an attempt to destroy their cultural belief.
A few, who were in support of PETA, soon changed sides when they came to know that jallikattu was more than just a sign of tradition. As per few articles I found online, it is said that the breeds of cows in India produce milk rich in A2 protein. The other breeds (like Jersey), produce milk rich in A1 protein which might be responsible for diseases like diabetes. To prevent this, the cows have to be mated with strong bulls which would suppress the dominant A1 gene. This news was quite a shock to a few people who were supporting PETA and caused them to change sides and join the protest.
The one thing that has to be appreciated is the way in which these protests were held. There was not even one incident showcasing violence. It was perfectly organized and held in a manner that did not disturb the normal lives of their fellow citizens. The people all across Tamil Nadu had joined in the protest and conducted rallies and strikes in their respective states and yet, there were no law and order issues. The women who participated in the rally were made to feel safe that they slept in the streets without having to worry. Such was the discipline of the youngsters. They arranged food, water, toilet facilities and means to dispose garbage, all on their own.
The youngsters, who participated in these protests and rallies, did not depend on any political parties or organizations. This was entirely the effort of the student population.
When the lights went off in Marina, the whole crowd brought the stars down with the help of their flashlights and phones. People of various religions, communities and belonging to different age groups, joined hands to fight for their identity and for the cause they believed in.
It was really amazing to see children reciting the slogans and holding banners, fighting alongside the elders. All were leaders, all were warriors. Age didn’t matter, religion didn’t matter. All that mattered was a heart that believed in the cause and the willingness to fight for their identity.
There were so many moments which brought goose bumps to us, Especially, when the policemen joined the protests after their working hours. One brave police man, extended his support, even at the risk of losing his job, by stating that the people would not back down without a permanent solution to this problem. Another goose bumps moment was listening to the whole crowd singing “Vande Mataram” by A.R. Rahman.
For the first time, it was not the youngsters going after celebrities. The celebrities, appreciating the efforts of the youngsters showed their support by coming forward to arrange food and other basic needs for the people. A few songs have also been released based on the issue.
The protests, held in a harmless and peaceful manner, have gained the attention of the world. Tamil people, all around the nation and world have also joined their brothers to preserve their cultural identity. People, who are not Tamils have also appreciated their fellow citizens and have shown their support.
I feel really glad to see all these people, despite their differences in caste, language, religion or age, coming together as a family to preserve their culture.
This is the symbol of Unity In Diversity. Here, the differences don’t matter, we are all one family. I am really proud to see my brothers and sisters across the state, making history.
It is the beginning of a new era indeed. I am perfectly sure that we have made Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Abdul Kalam proud. Hats off to all the valor and spirit of the thousands of heroes and heroines. Let no force divide us. Let us stay united. Let the sparks inside us remain ignited. Let us all work together hand in hand as one family for our country. Let us make vision 2020 true. Let us make a new India.
இந்தியன் என்று பெருமைப்பட்டாலும், தமிழச்சி என்பதில் கர்வம் கொள்கிறேன். (I feel proud that I am an Indian but I take pride in calling myself a Tamizh woman.)