We get celebrities to give their take on a current issue each week and lend their perspective to a much-discussed topic.
With every passing day, the debate around Jallikattu is gathering more momentum and support. Prominent Tamil actors like Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Ajith Kumar, Surya, Vijay and Vishal have already voiced their support for the traditional bull-taming sport and have criticised animal rights NGO People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for opposing the practice. The latest to join the supporters is Oscar winner composer and musician A.R. Rahman who said that he would fast in support of the pro-jallikattu protests. We ask celebrities on what they think of the ban.
‘We have a lot of customs, but we’re not keeping all of them round’
Anushka Manchanda, singer and animal lover
We are the only species that hunt and torture other animals for pleasure or entertainment. Being in this country, we go on and on about the cow being our sacred animal and respecting, but did you know we’re the biggest exporters of beef! Albeit it is buffalo meet, but at the end of the day, it is animal cruelty. Any kind of sport in which you have to hurt an animal is horrific and should be banned. What’s the purpose to keep it going? And what kind of traditions and customs are we talking about? It was customary in India to burn a widowed wife on the funeral pyre of her husband; it was customary to give dowry, and child marriage. I mean, we have a lot of customs, but we’re not keeping all of them around. This bull sport is really the worst. I believe in Karma and if we’re making other beings suffer, everything comes back to a full circle. In our custom and our tradition, we learn this only; that Karma will come back a full circle.
‘There are bigger problems that require attention’
Ambika Nijjar, lawyer and legal advisor to people for animals
A very long time ago, I went to watch the sport and I saw a man climb on top and bull, another one bite the bull’s penis. The bull died soon afterwards that game. What culture and tradition is this? It is horrific! There are so many other bigger problems that we are facing at the moment, which require more attention. Tamil Nadu has received 60 per cent less rainfall and you aren’t declaring a drought? Farmers by the hundreds have committed suicide and the authorities are doing nothing to ameliorate that? But, people are protesting to keep a game on that literally projects animal cruelty? Is this what our culture allows us to do?
‘People forget that animals feel pain too’
Elena Roxana Maria Fernandes, super model and animal lover
It’s cruel and should be banned. How can people find entertainment in an act so vulgar? People forget that these animals feel pain too. They should be left alone to enjoy their own habitat instead of being used for a cruel sport.
‘It is a part of tamil culture’
Tovino Thomas, sctor
I support all the people who have come forward against the ban of Jallikattu. After all it is a part of our Tamil culture. If I am not mistaken, this bull taming sport has been a part of our culture for the past 3,000 years. This means the people are very much attached to this sports event. So, it would be a very challenging task for them to come to terms with the ban. Another heartening element is that each and every one is joining hands to protest against the ban and to protect their culture.
‘We’ve never seen a people’s movement of this scale’
Khushbu Sundar, actor-politician
We have never seen a people’s movement of this scale, and this is an awakening call more than anything else. I’m glad that this has happened. This is a very appreciable effort and I salute the efforts of the people. We have never seen protest taking place in a dignified and planned manner. When we think of protests, we automatically think of burning buses and riots. However, this protest has been nothing but peaceful. Tamil Nadu has been a self-contained state, and we have never seeked validation from anyone else. For the longest time, people think of us as a conservative, non-cosmopolitan state, but we have proved them all wrong by standing together — whether it be the floods with challenged our survival, or the Jallikattu ban, which challenged our pride.