Friday, January 08, 2016


The Central Government has now permitted Jallikattu subject of course to certain guidelines. There is ample empirical evidence that such guidelines are rarely implemented by the organisers of Jallikattu.

The Supreme Court in its enlightened judgment of May 7, 2014 had observed:

"Even the ancient culture and tradition do not support the conduct of Jallikattu or Bullock cart race, in the form in which they are being conducted at present. Welfare and the well-being of the bull is Tamil culture and tradition, they do not approve of infliction of any pain or suffering on the bulls, on the other hand, Tamil tradition and culture are to worship the bull and the bull is always considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Yeru Thazhuvu, in Tamil tradition, is to embrace bulls and not over-powering the bull, to show
human bravery."

The judgment further said,

"As early as 1500-600 BC in Isha-Upanishads, it is professed as follows:
“The universe along with its creatures belongs to the land. No creature is superior to any other. Human beings should not be above nature. Let no one species encroach over the rights and privileges of other species.”

"Bulls cannot be used as a Performing Animals for Jallikattu and Bullock-cart Race, since they are
basically draught and pack animals, not anatomically designed for such performances."

"Parliament, it is expected, would elevate rights of animals to that of constitutional rights, as done by
many of the countries around the world, so as to protect their dignity and honour."

It is a pity that the Central Government has taken this decision not on merits, legal or ethical, but based on extraneous considerations. This being the month of Margazhi, anyone with even the remotest acquaintance with Andal's Thiruppavai would appreciate the respectful treatment extended to cattle by ancient Tamils. As the Supreme Court rightly proclaims, our cultural progress should make us migrate from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism.

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