Clamour against the ban on Jallikattu, the famous bull-taming festival of Tamil Nadu, is growing every passing day. Over 40,000 people have gathered at the Marina Beach in Chennai demanding that the ban on Jallikattu be lifted as the sport is their ‘tradition’ and ‘Tamil pride’. The film fraternity, lawyers, politicians, trade unions, artists have all become one unit refusing to budge till their bull taming tradition is brought back. Also Read - Family of Brain-Dead Tamil Nadu Man Donate His Heart & Lungs, Save Lives of 2 Patients
The ban on the sport was imposed in 2014 by the Supreme Court after petitions from animal rights activists including People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claiming cruelty against the bull in sports like Jallikattu and bullock cart races. Also Read - Tamil Nadu Lockdown Extended for Another Week, Further Relaxations Permitted
The people of Tamil Nadu claim that those speaking out against Jallikattu ‘know nothing’ about the bull taming sport. They say that the sport doesn’t involve cruelty on bulls, but in fact bring out the best in bulls and is also about worshipping bulls. Also Read - Arrangements in Final Phase to Make Sputnik V Vaccine Available in 9 More Cities Across India: Dr Reddy’s
India is a land where emotions run high when it comes to traditions. Jallikattu and bullock cart races are just one of many strange and shocking festivals and traditions that are celebrated and practised in different parts of the country. While these are traditions that reportedly ‘allow cruelty’ against animals, we still have ‘traditions’, yes ‘traditions’ that allow cruelty against human beings. (Also Read: Jallikattu just a sport; don’t we kill animals for food?)
Baby tossing has been an ages old practise. Babies are tossed from a height of almost 50 feet and caught in a sheet held by a group men at Baba Umer Dargah near Sholapur in Maharashtra. The ritual is also observed at the Sri Santeswar temple in Karnataka. This ritual believed to bring prosperity to the family. While investigations into the ritual are on, the practise continues.
The Bani Festival is celebrated at the Devaragattu Temple in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district. Every Dusshera, hundreds of devotees from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka gather at this temple and hit each each other on the heads at midnight. Despite being drenched in blood, the men continue with the celebration till the beak of dawn, to commemorate the killing of a demon by Mala-Malleshwara. Earlier axes and spears were used instead of lathis in the festival that is being celebrated for the past 100 years.
Gotmar Festival, a stone pelting tradition, is held along the banks of river Jam every year at Pandhurna, around 72 km away from Chhindwara. In 2016, over 500 people were injured in this festival. Every year, on the second day of Pola Festival, when bullocks are worshipped, the people of two villages gather along the banks of river Jam and hurl stones at each other.
Hair is often read as a metaphor for human illusion, attachment and vanity in many texts. Upon their initiation, Jain monks and nuns renounce their worldly attachments by pulling out each strand of hair from their heads. The wounds are covered in dried cow dung ash to heal.
While these are just a few examples, more such traditions are practised in India, with people carrying them out in the name of God. The list of banning is a long one, but are we willing to give up on what we call ‘traditions’?