There is much hue and cry, now, in Tamil Nadu. As Pongal approaches, the ban on the sport, which was passed in 2014, is brought back to the limelight and questioned by its fans and eager participants. At the heart of the issue lies the challenge the ban has posed to the identity of the Tamil tradition.
I am a native of Tamil Nadu, but I have never seen Jallikattu. And, I wouldn’t, as I am not a fan of witnessing violent events – unless it is a part of a fictional piece. Hence, the practice means little to me as a tradition. Also, despite my emphatic approach towards other forms of life, I have had little success with adopting veganism, given the fact that dairy products are a staple at my household. My moral stand on the tradition of Jallikattu, thus, neutral.
So, if you asked me what I thought about Jallikattu, I would have no comment.
But, if you asked me what I thought about the Supreme Court verdict, I would say, firmly, that it was partial.
I have not witnessed any laws that banned production and consumption of animal meat. I have not witnessed any laws against the production and sale of genuine leather products. I have not witnessed any laws that banned temple elephants – an argument cleverly pointed out by RJ Balaji at the India Today Conclave. Is Polo banned? There was a furore over Prince Henry’s polo pony stab wound. That was clearly animal cruelty.
I am not asking for a ban on these practices. Some might perceive them as immoral, while some might not. Morality is, in its minutest terms, subjective. As Tim Burton quotes, ‘One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.’
I would, however, ask the people to consider the verdict in terms of its justness. If, despite countless campaigns by PETA against such practices, the Supreme Court did not come up with any stringent laws enforcing bans on the aforementioned practices, it would make absolutely no sense to enforce a law against Jallikattu.
Most importantly, it would be unjust.
What would be fair, you ask? Banning Jallikattu when the above-mentioned practices are banned.