The arc of humanity has always moved from the retrograde to modern. The endeavour of humanity has been to discard what is cruel, unethical and repressive to the universally accepted code of equality of rights and a society based on love and kindness.
So, why should Jallikattu stay? Just because the blood sport has been in vogue for ages — some claim it is 2500 years old — it doesn’t entitle Tamilians to a lifetime of torturing bulls for a public spectacle. Festivals are meant to be a celebration of life, an ode to nature and God. If a practice that is cruel to animals — as much part of the nature and deserving of god’s love — has devoured the original identity of a festival, it must go.
Chief Minister O Pannerselvam said on Friday morning that Jallikattu, the ancient bull-taming festival, will return to Tamil Nadu in a couple of days through an ordinance or executive order that he has sent for the President’s approval. He has urged the thousands of people gathered at Chennai’s Marina Beach for four days now, to end their protest. But the protesters – students and professionals, men and women – said they will not leave Marina Beach till a formal order removing the ban on Jallikattu is issued. At the least, they said, the Chief Minister must come to the site of their protest and announce the executive order. An all-day transport and trader strike called for Friday is still on.
The Supreme Court has taken the right decision by outlawing jallikattu. It should stay firm and not give in to arm-twisting and emotional blackmail by people who want to torture a herbivore to prove their machismo, cultural identity or satiate their blood lust.
In fact, it is time the Supreme Court nailed the bogus argument of customs and traditions being cast in stone with strict guidelines across India. What passes off as custom is generally a distortion — or improvisation — of our ancient rituals and traditions. Any act that violates the original spirit of a festival or celebration to the detriment of environment, endangers every variety of flora and fauna should be immediately outlawed.