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Jallikatu Protest in Chennai- In Retrospect and Prospects


Introduction

The Jallikattu protest in Chennai was an eye opener in various aspects. Students and common people protested against the government in a peaceful manner for a common cause to conduct Jallikattu sport. Ultimately, victory belonged to people with the cooperation of executive, judiciary and legislature acting at the most rapid pace in Indian history. Jallikattu was conducted in several parts of Tamilnadu in February 2017 revealing the power of a common man. Let us analyze the Jallikattu protest in a detailed manner.

Jallikattu - Historical Significance

Jallikattu sport dates back to the Sangam Age of 400 B.C. Jallikattu was popular among the Aayar people living in the Mullai region of ancient Tamil Nadu. The sport is seen as an act of bravery and winners will be given prizes and in occasions girls were married to the victorious men in the Jallikattu. The sport is conducted to honor the bull used in agriculture and the victorious bull is maintained in the village temple for breeding to produce healthy cattle offspring's. The victorious bull is worshipped by the village people and seen as a symbol of pride for the entire village. The Madurai inscriptions kept in the museum reveal these ancient practices.

Controversies over Jallikattu

PETA India and Animal Welfare board of India argued that Jallikattu is conducted to harm the bull by rubbing chillies in bull eyes, stabbing the bull, beating it while catching, biting the tail, giving alcohol to bull, loss of human life and many other reasons. Animal Welfare board of India made an investigation on these accusations and declared that Jallikattu causes cruelty to animals. Based on the case filed by Animal Welfare board of India and PETA India, Supreme Court on November 27, 2010 restricted Jallikattu to be conducted only 5 months in a year with strict guidelines on the supervision of the district collector. In due course, complete Jallikattu ban was implemented on directions of Supreme Court in the year 2014.

Ministry of Environment and Forests permitted the continuation of Jallikattu on grounds of culture and tradition on January 8, 2016 but in January 14, 2016 PETA India and Animal Welfare board of India filed a petition and Supreme Court continued the ban. Tamil people after four long years of suppression started protesting for Jallikattu and won.

Jallikattu - Clash of Cultures

Jallikattu sport has remained a cultural aspect for more than 2500 years with evidences dating back before Indus Valley Civilization. The sport is seen as a Tamil culture and conducted as a part of Pongal (farmer) festival in Tamilnadu to honor the cattle that provides food and livelihood to the farmers. Cattle form the major source of revenue for farmers and worship cattle as God from the ancient age. Jallikattu ban will adversely affect the farmer revenue forcing them to sell the cattle for meat and deteriorate the farmers living condition further resulting in increase of farmer suicides.

Banning Jallikattu is seen as a ban on culture and tradition that has been followed for centuries. PETA is an American organization and is mainly responsible for banning Jallikattu. The protesters demand the ban of PETA from India stating that Western culture is getting dominant over our traditional Indian culture. Today's youngsters and kids have completely lost or have no knowledge about our ancient culture and tradition due to the domination of western culture in the form of fast foods (Soft drinks, Pizzas, snacks etc.), dating, living together, pubs, alcohol parties etc. We are moving towards western culture forgetting our ancient tradition and culture. This cultural shift is clearly evident in the increasing number of divorces and other evil social practices like students and teenagers getting addicted to drugs and alcohol etc.

Prospects of Jallikattu Protest

The most positive aspect about the protest is that it is seen as a revival of our ancient culture and traditions. Some of the other positive aspects about the protest include the self discipline shown by the protesters, emergence of social media as a powerful weapon to unite people, people from various discipline, women, children, students all united together, protestors kept the political parties away, volunteer support to supply food, snacks and water packets was immaculate and media was also scrutinized and protesters showed contempt over media in not giving interviews. The protest became every household's event and people participated in mass numbers to show their support.

Conclusion

Quit India Movement of 1942 is popularly called the "leaderless revolt" and more than 7000 students sacrificed their precious lives for Indian freedom struggle. Now, history is rewritten again in the form of the present leaderless "Jallikattu Protest" by students and common people. This protest clearly indicates that India is ready for yet another freedom struggle against the western culture, corrupt officials and corrupt politicians. Vision 2020 of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to make India a developed nation is the dream of every Indian and this Jallikattu Protest is a positive beginning in making this dream become a reality.

Democracy is "For the people, By the People and Of the people"

- Chelladurai. P