JalliKattu - The Controversy And The Facts


#Jallikattu has been known to be practiced during the Tamil classical period (400-100 BC). A seal from the Indus Valley Civilization depicting the practice is preserved in the National Museum, New Delhi.[9] A cave painting in white kaolin discovered near Madurai depicting a lone man trying to control a bull is estimated to be about 2,500 years old.

Ancient Tamil Sangams described the practice as Yeru thazhuvuthal (Tamil: ஏறு தழுவல்), literally "bull embracing". i.e hanging onto the hump of the bull. The modern term Jallikattu (ஜல்லிக்கட்டு) refers to a prize of coins that are tied to the bull's horns and that participants attempt to retrieve. Manju virattu (மஞ்சு விரட்டு) literally means "bull chasing".

Jallikattu is typically practiced in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and it is the only state in India which still practices and kept the tradition alive till date, as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day, the day when the cows and bulls are honored for their usefulness to the farmers. 

Some variants include:

1. Vadi majuviraṭṭu: This is the most common category of Jallikattu. The bull is released from a closed space (vadi vasal) and the contestants attempt to wrap their arms or hands around the hump of the bull and hold on to it to win the award. Only one person is allowed to attempt at a time. This variant is most common in the districts of Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem.

2. Vēli viraṭṭu: In this variant, the approach is slightly different as the bull is directly released into open ground. The rules are the same as vadi majuviraṭṭu. This is a popular variant in the districts of Sivagangai and Madurai.

3. Vaam manjuviraṭṭu: In this variant, the bull is tied with a 15 m (49 ft) rope (vatam means "circle" in Tamil). There are no other physical restrictions for the bull and hence it can move freely anywhere. The maximum time period given is 30 minutes. A team of seven to nine members can attempt to seal.


Animal welfare organization, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization (FIAPO)  and PETA India have protested against the practice since 2004.

On 27 November 2010, the Supreme Court permitted the Government of Tamil Nadu to allow Jallikattu for five months in a year and directed the District Collectors to make sure that the animals that participate in Jallikattu are registered to the Animal Welfare Board and in return the Board would send its representative to monitor the event

In May 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned the practice, citing animal welfare issues. On 8 January 2016, the Government of India passed an order exempting Jallikattu from all performances where bulls can not be used, effectively reversing the ban However, on 14 January 2016, the Supreme Court of India upheld its ban on the event, leading to protests all over Tamil Nadu.

On 8 January 2016, the Ministry of Environment and Forests permitted the continuation of the tradition under certain conditions, effectively ending the ban; however, this was overturned by the Supreme Court on 26 July 2016.

The Supreme Court of India on 12 January 2017 ordered a stay, issued notices to the central government and Tamil Nadu Government and later refused to lift the stay.

Attorney General Mukul Rahotgi informed the Supreme Court bench that the people of Tamil Nadu are "passionate" about Jallikattu and that the issue is being resolved between the Centre and the State government.


There are several general rules to Jallikattu:

1. The bull will be released on the the arena through the [vadi vassal], an entry gate.

2. The contestant should only hold the bull by its hump. Holding by the neck, horns or tail results in disqualification.

3. The contestant should hold onto the bull till it crosses the finish line. (Usually it is about 15 m (49 ft), marked by hanging overhead marker flags along the line.)
If the bull throws the contestant off before the line or if no-one manages to hold on to the bull, then the bull will be declared victorious.
If the contestant manages to hold on to the hump till it crosses the finish line, then the contestant is declared the winner.

4. Only one contestant should hold on to the bull at one time. If more than one contestant holds on to the bull, then there is no winner.

5. No contestant should hit or hurt the bull in any manner.

6. Bulls are bred specifically by people of the village for the event. Bulls that are able to participate successfully in the Jallikattu event are used as studs for breeding.


a. A written permission is obtained from the respective collector, thirty days prior to conduct of event along with notification of the event location.

b. The arena and the way through which the bulls pass through is double-barricaded, in order to avoid injuries to the spectators and by-standers who may be permitted to remain within the barricades.The necessary gallery areas are built up along the double barricades.

c. The necessary permissions are obtained from the collector for the participants and the bulls fifteen days prior to the event.

d. Final preparation before the event include a complete testing by the authorities of the Animal Husbandry Department, to ensure that performance enhancement drugs, liquor or other irritants are not used on the bulls.

As you have seen above the bull is never harmed in what so ever manner. It is a controlled event with all the permissions and regulations in place.

It is because of the misinformed decision of the PETA India and their high handedness by challenging the Tamil People that they cannot and would not be able to do anything in the matter, has provoked the situation into a massive rally and protest. 

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