The South Remembers

It is one of the world’s oldest sports surviving since the Indus valley civilisation. There are several poems written about “Eru Thazhuvuthal” in the sangam literature of tamil. The state of Tamil Nadu celebrates, pongal festival, to mark the winter harvest and to begin a fresh harvest for the upcoming year. The second day is observed as ‘mattu pongal’ where bulls play a significant role in raising the crops to help farmers. This 5000-year-old, ancient sport is celebrated on the mattu pongal. Virile bulls are in great demand as they are used to sire calves. During the sport, the bull’s horn is tied with bag of coins (these days it’s a cloth) and the herder is supposed to slow down the bull and embrace the hump removing the bag. It requires a great valour to calm down a bull running at a high speed from the vaadi vaasal (entrance) towards the person, who is ready to tackle bull. There were allegations that the animal is let in an open area, as young men throw themselves onto the bull, in an effort to “tame” it and grab prizes or cash affixed on the animal’s body. Jallikattu, do not offer any major monetary benefit like other sports. If that is the case, then why do we have cricket matches? Isn’t there a price set for players in the team ? But still we have cricket matches.

The farmers spend huge amount in bringing up a bull and their only gain is the incentive by letting the bull participate in the sport. I have heard from my grandparents that it takes huge money and great patience to rear the cattle. The male bovines which displays their agility and celerity in the field are the main reason for the existence of native off-springs. Tamil Nadu had six native cattle breeds a century ago out of which the alambadi breed is now extinct. According to the data released in 2012 by livestock and poultry population of the Animal Husbandry department of Tamil Nadu, there has been a 21.22% decline in the cattle growth. The districts popular for the Jallikattu— mainly Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul had recorded a decline in the growth of cattles by 38%, 17%, 22%,23% and 70% respectively. The native cattle serve multiple purposes: they provide milk and farmyard manure, they are used for ploughing and transportation.
With the reduced availability of the native male breeds, farmers are opting for artificial insemination. This has lead to the increase in the production of artificially yield milk as the quality of the native breed cows is declining yet the latter is still considered more healthy. The cows of the native breed do not yield good quality of milk as artificial one’s produce milk yet they are healthy. Some cattle research organisations claim “The cross-breed cows produce high quantities of milk (not necessarily healthy- mostly A1 type -cause of a number of major diseases.) They cannot withstand the high temperature in India. Most of them suffer in silence to produce more milk to cater to our greed. In most cases the banned drug “oxitocin” is injected to the cows to produce more milk further weakening them and affecting our health.”
Here is my view- I agree to respect the arguments given by the PETA in videos, showing in some parts of the country, bulls are ill-treated. In that case, we should figure out ways to test, bulls before they participate in the sport. I would not agree with the ban. If they want to ban the sport, reasoning the animal cruelty, here are my further opinions. Some women in the country are being raped by men every day, so kill the male infants at birth.There are some unnoticed and uninformed incidents of a man being harassed and raped. Kill the female infants too from this day on.
There are ways to treat a sport and give justice to it. Does the centre expect to protest for years as we did for Hindi-not-to-be-a-national language?

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