by Rohith Nathan
The western call to end the ‘brutal’ practice of the jallikattu is plain and simple hogwash according to me. These are the same people who insisted that two young Indian origin children should be taken away from their parents and into ‘foster’ homes because they didnt have enough toys and their mother was feeding them with her ‘hands!’. Oh my god, that must have been such a catastrophe. To a section of the world that has absolutely no miniscule idea about the Jallikattu, the bull NEVER dies, there are absolutely NO weapons used against the bull. Why then do these pseudo intellectuals want to ban something that has been going on for over a thousand years, an event that celebrates the relationship between man and nature. An event where man has to deal with nature in his natural form with only his hands and legs and treats nature as an equal rather than as a subordinate that has to be exploited. No doubt it is to show the superiority of man over nature, but it is a superiority that comes with great responsibility. A show of courage where young men risk their lives and fight a bull easily 4 times their size in an equal duel. There are several other cultural lessons that the jallikattu holds for a young spectator, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ being one of my favourites. When a very forward thinking country like Spain put an end to the bullfighting (which by the way is only a sport) only a few years ago how can a third world country like India abruptly stop the Jallikattu, an event which is certainly not a sport and which is an integral part of the celebration of festivals in South India. How can someone who has no idea about the significance of the festival ask us to stop it? Leave alone calling for an international tourist ban? If they really care for something like this, they can first go and ban international tourism in the US which has brought draconian legislations and still tortures several dozens in an illegal detention centre in erstwhile Cuba. To me it looks like nothing but a disgusting ideological dominance of the west which our media should be least bothered about. It is with this sort of idea that the ‘west’ set out to ‘civilise’ the rest of the savages around the world and landed us Indians with a few hundred years of regretable history that we could have done without. To them it might look like a brutal sport. To us it is something very close to our hearts, a piece of culture and identity that I do not want to be seen thrown away just because of a colonial hang over. I am very proud to stand by the Madras High Court judgement to continue holding the Jallikattu with some restrictions and safety precautions. If the practice is to die away, society itself will decide that it has had enough of taming the bulls and allow it to its natural death. Those supporting the call for a ban, please wake up, read the facts and see what this sort of reaction will lead to. There are bigger things to waste newsprint on and larger issues at hand. Let us pick our battles wisely and protect our culture and heritage the way it ought to be.