Making a case for Jallikattu

The tradition of Jallikattu is many thousands of years old in Tamil Nadu. The recent ban on this festive event has the entire state up in arms.


What typically happens during Jallikattu is that a bull which has been caged in for a while is suddenly released among a throng of people, much like the bull run in Spain. The bull goes berserk and runs at top speed into a crowd which hurriedly disperses and gives it room. At the same time, the more daring of the enthusiasts in the crowd try and catch the bull by the hump and hang on. Only one person is allowed to hang on at one time and if he can go the required distance, he is rewarded with a prize. If he can’t hang on, the bull wins, evoking admiration for its strength and agility, making it a preferred stud in the village for servicing cows which may come into heat later in the year. Participants are tested for alcohol and other stimulants for their safety. Bulls used for this sport are treated much like prize boxers.

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