Jallikattu, in South India, is a popular game where bulls reared for this special purpose are let free to be controlled by youth. This sport takes place every year, during mid-January, soon after Pongal, a festival that thanks God, and more specially the sun, for providing a bountiful harvest.
Tamil Nadu, India celeberates this festival with great pomp. The farmers, after a year's hard work, wish to relax and arrange Jallikattu in small towns and big hamlets. Alanganallur, a village near Madurai, India, is famous for this sport.
Jallikattu is the oldest form of sport. It sounds similar to the Spanish "Bull Fight" but in this game, the bull is tamed by youth. No weapon is used to frighten the animal. The bull is not killed. The person who finally brings the animal to a halt after its speedy run gets a handsome reward and is hailed as a hero by the villagers.
It is not a dangerous game and there are few events of death. However, the crowd, in its frenzy, clamber and run amuck, causing a stampede that can result in many injuries. The bull horns are sharpened and one untoward move by the matador lands him in trouble.
There is a big controversy ranging over the issue of allowing Jallikattu to take place. The animal activists have filed cases in the courts to ban this sport.
A week back, Ireland activists raised their voice against Jallikattu, saying that it is cruelty to animals. Their contention is that chili powder is rubbed into the bull's eyes and the matador behaves rudely while taming the animals. Irish group "The ARAN" (Animal Rights Action Network") has called for a tourism boycott and has condemned Jallikattu as "cruel bull abusing contact game". The campaign by this group, called "Incredible cruelty," is a play on India's Ministry of Tourism's "Incredible India".
ARAN's action plan seems ridiculous. I could brand their move as "Incredibly Ridiculous". Which game is not cruel? A cricketer has to slog for hours together in rain or shine to win the test. Is that not abusing him or herself? Does it not signify cruel abuse of one's self? I think not.