The ban on the sport had sparked resentment in the Tamil Nadu; One of the reasons why it is in news lately. Although the apex court said it cannot deliver a verdict on the ban before the state celebrates Pongal, the protests have hit the road. Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam had confirmed the state government will ensure that the sport is held across rural areas in the state.
“Myself and the the Tamil Nadu government, who follow in the footsteps of Amma (Jayalalithaa), will ensure that Jallikattu is held. We will not back off even a bit. I would like to assure the people of Tamil Nadu that we will uphold the heritage and culture of the Tamils,” he said.
As the turmoil continues, here is why Jalikattu is making it to the headlines:
- In November 2016, the Supreme Court had dismissed the state’s plea recalling its 2014 verdict banning the bull fights as it is cruelty towards the animal which stirred Tamil Nadu on emotional grounds too.
- Origin and places of practice :
The origin of Jallikattu has been around 2000 years from now. The name Jallikattu is derived from the word ‘salli’ or ‘kasu’ meaning coins and ‘kattu’ meaning bundle/pouch. The pouch, made of yellow cloth, filled with coins, is tied to the bull’s horns and whoever tames the bull owns the pouch. The event was recorded in ancient literature as ‘yeru thaluvudal’ (hugging the bull). Initially, it was a ceremony of marriage where the successful tamer would get to marry the maiden. But over the years it has changed forms. The sport involves a bulky bull being set free inside an arena filled with young participants who try to grab the bull by its horns or tail. And the point of the game is to successfully tame the raging bull.The event takes place at Alanganallur, Avaniapuram and Palamedu of Madurai district and in villages in surrounding districts like Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur.
- Why this sport?
The religious cause of the celebration is that people offer prayers to bulls, cows and other farm animals. As the belief goes among the Tamils, not playing the sport will displease local deities, including lord Muniswara. It is celebrated on the 3rd of the four-day harvest festival called Pongal.