Tamilnadu has been swept by youth force that is battling to save the tradition of Jallikattu, involving bulls. Enough has been already conveyed to create awareness about saving the tradition, and in turn, our bulls. There are already millions of supporters demanding the supreme court to revoke the ban on Jallikattu, and also forcing the state government to take necessary actions.
However, what many of us (including me, until I came up with this blog) lack is the real history and statistics behind the tradition, the ugly politics and a clear conception about the whole issue. Recently, there have been umpteen videos enlightening us supporters on the real cause of this outbreak. I have tried to aggregate such information in this blog, majorly sourced from one such video.
As a supporter of Jallikattu, I urge you all to read the following passages on varied topics revolving around this major issue and be knowledgeable in what we fight for. Let us make sure we fight for a common goal and motive.
I REQUEST EVERY SUPPORTER TO TAKE A PRINT OUT OF THIS IF POSSIBLE, CARRY IT WITH YOU FOR RALLIES AND ENLIGHTEN FELLOW PROTESTERS.
WHAT IS OUR PROBLEM?
- The fight against Jallikattu has been happening for past three years and there are complaints that every year for the first half of January, we fight to save the tradition because that’s when we celebrate the Pongal festival.
- Once the festival is over, we tend to move on with our lives, not batting an eye until next year, leaving the real heroes – fighting for this for so many years – behind, all alone.
So, this year let us make sure what we have lit is not just a flame but a forest fire that wouldn’t stop unless a permanent solution is provided.
OUR BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION:
- “Jallikattu is a Tamil culture”. NO! It is an Indian culture that started 3500 years ago, during Indus Valley Civilization, proof of which is presented in the form of rock paintings at Delhi National Museum. Tamilnadu is the only state that preserves the tradition until now.
WHAT EVERY SUPPORTER MUST DO A RESEARCH ON?
- What is Jallikattu?
- How is it conducted?
- What are the rules and regulations?
- Why to protect this tradition?
- What happens if this tradition is banned?
- Who is PETA?
I insist all supporters on doing a bit of background research about all these questions and find a definitive answer before participating in rallies because tomorrow we do not want an alien to come and demean us saying we aren’t aware of what we are fighting for.
WHAT IS JALLIKATTU?
- There are three types of Jallikattu conducted across the state – Manjuverattu, Vattam Manjuverattu and Veliverattu.
- In Manjuverattu, the bull comes out from a Vaadi Vaasal. Players hold its hump (Thimizh) tight and travel a certain distance.
- Veliverattu is organized in an open ground and the participants try to bring the raging bull to a halt.
- Vattam Manjuverattu is similar but the bull is tied to a 15-meter-long rope.
WHY DO WE NEED JALLIKATTU?
- Bulls that are able to participate successfully in the Jallikattu event are used as studs for breeding. This practice ensures that only the strongest and most virile bulls are used for breeding, thus effectively making the offspring of such bulls stronger, less susceptible to diseases and able to produce higher quality milk. Jallikattu is the traditional and only practical way by which farmers in Tamil Nadu are able to preserve the genetic strength and traits of the indigenous cattle breeds.
- Jallikattu also serves a secondary purpose of providing farmers to hold onto their bulls. The bulls which are able to perform well in Jallikattu fetch higher prices in the markets, making the engagement of bulls in Jallikattu a valuable activity to farmers. Thereby the population of bulls, which apart from being used as studs and in events such as Jallikattu serve no real purpose, are preserved.
This particular information is fetched from Wikepedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallikattu
ARE ALL BULLS SENT FOR JALLIKATTU?
- Only six breeds of bulls are chosen.
- One among them is Aalambaadi, which is extinct now.
- Jallikattu bulls are selected on birth itself.
- If selected, they are:
- Fed healthily.
- Taught swimming to strengthen legs. (No other special training provided)
- Not even used to pull carts or used for agriculture.
RULES OF JALLIKATTU:
- Players shouldn’t hold onto anything other than bull’s hump.
- At a given instance, only one player is allowed to hold on to a bull. If more people climb onto the bull at the same time, all these participants are immediately disqualified.
- If you catch a bull’s tail, you are disqualified.
- Before getting on the field, health of both the bull and players are checked. The check-up is conducted by a Government veterinary doctor under supervision of District Collector. Animal welfare board members will also be available.
- If a bull is hurt, the whole event is called off.
- The entire event is video recorded and submitted to government.
It is very important for our supporters to remember that, in all these years, though there have been very rare cases of participants getting injured, there have not been any records of a bull being hurt.
WHAT ARE PETA’S ACCUSATIONS?
- PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia that has been trying to ban Jallikattu right from 2004 and were successful in 2014 when supreme court declared in their favor, that the tradition is against animal welfare and has to be stopped.
- Baseless accusations of PETA include:
- The tradition hurts the bull (people poke and jump on bulls mercilessly)
- Bulls are forcefully fed alcohol.
- Their tails are bitten.
- Players spray chilli-powder in bulls’ eyes.
Our question is: Then why not ban Beef trade in India? You are not banning it just because it brings along with it a revenue of 10,000 crores annually?
WHY JALLIKATTU SHOULD NOT BE BANNED?
- There were 10 lakh Kaangeyan breed bulls in India, now we only have 15,000.
- The ‘cow to bull’ ratio has sadly halved from 4:1 to 8:1
- The variety of cattle breeds have plummeted from 130 to just 30.
- Jersey cows are imported from foreign countries to increase milk production.
- Foreign bulls’ semen is brought in to inseminate our cows. (Our government provided 12,000 Jersey breed cows to Indian underprivileged farmers for free). Hence, Indian bulls are tactfully destroyed.
These shady practices have been happening for many years across the country and the only place strong Indian breed bulls still exist is in Tamilnadu, all thanks to our Jallikattu tradition.
WHAT ARE JERSEY COWS AND HOW THEY BENEFIT FOREIGN DAIRY INDUSTRIES?
- India’s 68% cattle population remains with small-time farmers. They survive with the help of 1-lakh milk co-operative societies that include around 1.1 crore members. Jersey cows will affect life of these members.
WHY and HOW?
- Jersey cows can’t thrive in normal conditions, they need massive environmental stabilization which is not affordable by our farmers.
- Jersey cows drink four times as much water as our breed cows drink. Where is the availability when we already are suffering from water scarcity?
- Hence, the complete milk industry will slowly drift away into MNC’s hands. Then they can fix alarming prices for all dairy products and we would be forced to give in.
- India still has 500 million vegetarian consumers and their only major source of protein is milk.
- In fact, our milk industry economically overtakes both rice and wheat industries.
This is where the corporate companies have found an opportunity to bring in foreign dairy giants by destroying Indian cattle breed.
WORSE GAMES IN OTHER COUNTRIES THAT DID NOT BOTHER PETA:
- In Spain, bulls are brought into the field and the participants pierce spears one after another to kill the bull.
- In another culture, bull’s tar-applied horns are lit and it slowly spreads and engulfs the bull’s face. There is a belief that when people eat such tortured animals’ flesh, their fertility power increases manifold.
- In Mexico, a bull is completely intoxicated, tied to a boat and dragged into a river. Then it is painfully pierced and beaten to death.
- Moreover, in South Africa, a competition exists to just break a bull’s neck.
So, if PETA doesn’t bother about all these cruel inhumane traditions and instead only targets a marvelously well-organized tradition, what is their real intention? It is solely for two simple reasons:
- Artificial Insemination
HOW DANGEROUS ARE JERSEY COWS?
- Jersey cows were initially used in Western countries only for production of Beef. The producers themselves wouldn’t consume the milk. Later the usage of Jersey cows turned into an ugly business.
- Indian breed cows’ milk ensures cure for asthma, joint pain, obesity and cholesterol but Jersey cows’ milk possesses a hazardous chemical called casomorphin that causes stomach problems, diabetes and mental disorder.
- What is even worse is, all packet-milk we drink nowadays are from Jersey cows. There is no health benefit attached to liters of milk we consume.
WHAT IS CROSS-BREEDING?
- Cross-breeding in India started in 1950s. In 1951, milk production sky-rocketed from just 17 million to a whopping 122 million liters. But a startling fact is, of these 122 million liters, only a very little came from our breed cows. So, where did rest of the milk come from? Yes, cross-bred cows.
- National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) then predicted that we still need 180 tons of extra milk, hence gave rise to concept of cross-breeding.
- On seeing such a demand, foreign industries signed contracts with our government to cross-breed their cattle with ours.
- People who supported this were treated royally by providing foreign trips and also by giving away scholarships for their kith and kin to study in Western Universities. Slowly, more people got attracted by these perks and came in support of cross-breeding.
- In 1962, a Livestock act was amended in Kerala. According to the act, no farmer would possess a bull. If any such bull was to be found, it would be made infertile. So, without any other option, Keralite farmers adopted to insemination which then spread all over the nation.
- In Punjab, 80,000 out of 1-lakh cattle are cross bred. Likewise, every state has a contract with some country.
It is clearly evident that Jallikattu is the only way now to prevent cross-breeding and it is not just a sport but a tradition, a culture.
PROBLEMS WITH CROSS-BREEDING:
- Foreign companies claimed that India’s milk production will increase as a result of cross-breeding. Up on this, NDDB brought in 400 foreign cows into India for a test.
- They appointed an expert team in 1965 to monitor the result, and the report stated if this practice continues, our native breeds will become extinct and there are also serious health issues by drinking the cross-bred cow’s milk. But our government did not pay heed to the reports.
- There are certain differences between our native breeds and the cross-bred cows:
- While cross-bred cows produce up to 4500 liters of milk, ours only produce 2500 liters.
- But our cows produce milk 10-12 times in their lifetime unlike cross-bred cows which produce only 3-4 times.
- So, our cows could produce a total of 25000-30000 liters of milk overall, whereas the cross-bred cows could only produce 18000 Liters.
But the government did not consider this long-term effect.
In India, breed-wise census has never been taken and even in our 11th 5-year plan (2007-2012), 400 million sperms of foreign bulls were brought in for artificial insemination. The only pillar that protects our bulls against such a ghastly act is our own Jallikattu.
SOME MORE POINTS TO BE REMEMBERED BY ALL PROTESTERS:
- Jallikattu was never touted to be an entertainment but a culture. Only the government converted it into entertainment to attract tourists and hence, increase revenues.
- There is a wide misconception that the bull runs crazily because of being hit by random people. Actually, on the opposite corner of the field, the owner of the bull stands and gives directions to it. The bull only runs towards their owners and that’s how they are trained.
- If Jallikattu is banned, our rural economy will face a major downfall and farmers will be deeply affected.
Please be aware of all these before stepping into rallies. Let us fight for what is rightfully ours.
Un adayaalam izhandhal, un thaai naatil neeyum oar agadhiyaai vaazhndhuduvaai.
Idhu maatta patthina pracchana illa, un naatta patthina prachana da.
TAMIZHAN ENDRU SOLLADA, THALAI NIMIRNDHU NILLADA.