- The bull-taming sport is popular in Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts known as the Jallikattu belt.
- Jallikattu is celebrated in the second week of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.
- A tradition over 2,000 years old, Jallikattu is a competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull owners who rear them for mating.
- It is a sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.
- Jallikattu’ is evolved from the words ‘Calli’ (coins) and ‘Kattu’ (tie), which denotes a bundle of coins is tied to the bull’s horns.
Jallikattu importance in Tamil Culture
- It is a tradition which is thousands of years old.
- There are references to people enjoying observing and practicing Jalikattu
- It is a method to preserve their pure-breed native bulls breeds like Kangayam and Bangur.
- Jallikattu is a way to protect the male animals which are otherwise used only for meat if not for ploughing.
Controversies with Jallikattu
- Animal Welfare Board of India and the animal rights group PETA moved petitions in the Supreme Court against Jallikattu as well as bullock cart races.
- Tamil Nadu government, worked its way out of the ban by passing a law in 2009.
- Government of India added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition is prohibited.
- Supreme Court banned the bull-taming sport.
- Massive protests erupted across Tamil Nadu against the ban.
- Tamil Nadu government released an ordinance amending the central Act and allowing Jallikattu in the state.
- PETA challenged the state move, arguing it was unconstitutional (Article 29(1))*.
- Supreme Court referred the Jallikattu case to a Constitution Bench, where it is pending now.
- This provides all citizen groups that reside in India having a distinct culture, language, and script, the right to conserve their culture and language.
- This right is absolute and there are no ‘reasonable restrictions’ in the interest of the general public here.
Visualize Article 29
Concerns over Jallikattu
- An investigation by the Animal Welfare Board of India concluded that “jallikattu is inherently cruel to animals”.
- It is found to violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
- Animal welfare organisations such as the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) and PETA India have protested against the practice.