Jallikattu jalwa: Take the bull by the horns? For once, let’s ask the animal
Chennai, Jan 20: From superstars to techies, everyone wants to tame the bull, right? And, when public opinion is hugely tilted towards one side, this time revocation of a ban imposed on Jallikattu – the traditional bull-taming sport practiced for centuries in rural areas of Tamil Nadu – governments (both in the Centre and the state) have to finally bow down and honour public verdict.
In the din of all these protests, mostly fuelled by social media, as internet penetration across Chennai is almost 100%, the poor bull ploughing the land of a distressed farmer, who is probably on the verge of committing suicide, has no idea why everyone is fighting for or against him.
In recent times, at least 144 farmers are reported to have committed suicide as a result of the drought between October and December in the state. The TN government, under the leadership of Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, has recently declared all the districts of the state as drought hit.
On Thursday, when the CM met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to promulgate an immediate ordinance to conduct Jallikattu, they also discussed about the drought in the state and relief packages to be distributed in the affected areas.
As agitated pro-Jallikattu protesters slammed animal rights activists, the Supreme Court and governments while speaking to television news reporters from the Marine Beach in the heart of Chennai, nowhere one could hear what the farmers (the owners of the bulls) and their pets have to say in this regard.
Indeed, the bull is far away from the chaos. Probably, the bull is busy worrying about its next course of meal. It does not have the luxury to sit inside air-conditioned rooms and bang its hooves on computer keyboards to vent its anger and bring forth issues relating to ‘national interests’.
Here the situation of the bull is akin to that of a gau (cow), for whom gaurakshaks (cow vigilantes) are ready to attack and kill anyone who comes on their way and their devotion towards their matai (mother).
Did the cow and bull ask anyone to speak on their behalf? How could they ask for anything, when most often these famished animals are left on the roads by the owners to feed on plastic and feces.
These days, Indian bovines are clueless, like poor farmers, malnourished children and anaemic mothers. Does their opinion matter? In a country of 1.3 million people, only those (humans) are entitled to speak who have a microphone in their possession and they do scream the loudest. The rest of them are listeners–numb spectators.
Moreover, here the subject is about culture, tradition and sentiments, and the cocktail of these three could prove to be really fatal. Many of us are puritans and we dearly love our age-old habits and passionately cherish the dream of bequeathing our glorious past to our next generation.
If you are wondering about the next big protest in India, then it is definitely not going to raise the issue of farmer suicides, sexual assaults on women or lynching of Dalits. Maybe, this time Marathi manus (as the people of Maharashtra are known) will come out in full-force demanding to end the restriction on the height of placing the Dahi Handi within 20 feet. This again is another very ‘big’ emotive issue pertaining to Indian ‘tradition and culture’.
So, till then let the bull shake his head in agony while he till that parched piece of land somewhere in a rain-bereft village of Tamil Nadu.