Kamal Haasan has gone to the extent of urging people to give up biryani so that bulls needn’t be slaughtered.
All of Tamil Nadu seems to be in a frenzy over jallikattu, the bull-taming sport celebrating Pongal that was banned by the Supreme Court as it’s cruel to animals, with some suggesting that the Centre promulgate an ordinance to circumvent the ban. While politicians across the state’s Dravidian divide are unanimous in supporting this ancient tradition, considered a test of valour for Tamil youth, the point is whether ritualistic jallikattu is at all needed. Unless a severely sanitised version is allowed under the Supreme Court’s direct supervision, there’s little that can be done to give Tamils what they yearn for, at the cost of an enraged bull set upon by hundreds of people.
The jallikattu plea has acquired contours of dogmatism with everyone, including actors and top ministers, backing it. Kamal Haasan has gone to the extent of urging people to give up biryani so that bulls needn’t be slaughtered. Along with jallikattu, cock fights, popular in Andhra Pradesh, have been banned, so too bullock cart races in Karnataka and Maharashtra, but in no state have animal sports been made a prestige issue based on playing up to public sentiments. It’s true jallikattu bulls aren’t slaughtered, a fate that befalls bulls in the Pamplona bull run in Spain and those in Spanish bullfights, but it’s also true the jallikattu tradition is not so sacrosanct that its modern avatar must be allowed regardless of court rulings on cruelty to animals. Throwing Christians into the lion’s den was also an ancient sport in Rome’s Coliseum. Let’s just remember that we live in modern times.