Srishti S., III Year B. A. History.

Jallikattu, an identifying factor in the already vibrant Tamil culture, has been recently dragged into a controversial atmosphere by the people, for the people. What started out as a movement to protect culture went on to quote science and species endangerment as means for victory. Interestingly, themes from the environment to society and the government were debated over the course of a week, bringing the life of Chennai to a halt. Let us trace the journey of a victorious culture, with popular sentiment as its spear and the youth of Chennai as its shield.

The timeline kicked off on 16 January 2017, when villagers from Alanganallur protested at Alanganallur ‘Vaadi Vaasal’ – The Arena. As a result of the protest, the police arrested about 200 people in Madurai. As a result, on 17 January, a crowd gathered and the numbers just rose exponentially over the course of the next few days. Not only did they protest against the ban on the sport, but also picked out issues such as banning People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and promoting indigenous breeds of cattle to ensure their survival. The crowds did not budge and with time, the numbers and motives multiplied.

The movement was not just restricted to protests regarding cattle and the sport, but the largely student-based movement demanded their right to protest. The writer is not complaining about the extra set of holidays that were showered as gifts but is perplexed at the overpowering nature of public emotions. Another ugly incident was the barrage of insults hurled at celebrities who promoted PETA or stood for their cause. While these were curbed within hours, it was a risk that the noble cause had undertaken to prove its worth.

Despite these events, the ‘Makkal Movement’ won on 23 January 2017 when the Tamil Nadu government successfully passed the Jallikattu bill. It was not just a victory for the sport, but for the farmers who bred indigenous cattle; the species that was on the verge of extinction; for villages affected by the parasitical nature of multinational corporations; for the progressive and mature mindset of the people. Lakhs of people gathered at the Marina beach and the spirit of humanity prevailed. The sport, which once tested the chivalry and courage of young suitors, now tested the principles of democracy. Once again, the youthful soul of namma Chennai sparked a warm light for mankind and the invisible cloak of culture.

{Photo Source: The Hindustan Times.]

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