Why kill a tradition?

Denying the people of the enjoyment of Jalikattu would be denying them an essential part of their culture.

Bulls have fascinated humanity throughout history, which is why they figure prominently in so many cultures dating back thousands of years. There is an entire mythology surrounding bulls dating back to the paleolithic era, when they were portrayed in the cave paintings in Lascaux and Livernon in France, and to the false idol of the golden calf cited in the bible.

This fascination has led to bulls assuming a disproportionately prominent role in many communities, often manifesting itself in the form of sport or acts of bravado. Bull leaping was depicted on murals found in the palace at Knossos in Crete from the late Minoan era around 1,500BC.

The fascination continues to this day, whether it is the bullfighting of the Spanish-speaking world, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, rodeos in North America and even, in the UAE, fights between bulls in Fujairah.

As The National reported yesterday, another example is Jallikattu, a form of bull wrestling played in India’s Tamil Nadu state which India’s ­Supreme Court banned as “a barbaric event”, even though the bulls are not killed. This is an animal rights issue but also a matter of human history and tradition. One hopes the welfare concerns can be assuaged so that this sport is not lost entirely to the community that treasures it.

Published: May 15, 2014 04:00 AM

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