Thursday, 23 June 2016

FB Discussions - Jallikattu (5)

To break the cultural identity of a people is to finally destroy them. When a people lose their sense of identity, and self concept, as anchored in their cultural and religious practices, they lose themselves. Even breaking their economy comes a second. An economy can always be rebuilt by a proud and self respecting community
Jallikattu is one such assault by an uprooted urban elite on the village. The reality of jallikattu the urban elite will never seek to understand by going and living there.
Yes, to see such persistant breaking of the souls and lives of the rural people hurts deep down.

AparnaKrishnan The British were past masters at this. The educated indians have surpassed their colonial masters.

Suraj Kumar We are good learners.

NarasimhanLalitha This is called 'Harvesting of Souls'

Aparna Krishnan And many who do this are atheists - who actually have nothing to do with souls. They are the 'moderists', the most fanatical evangelists.

VivekGanesan It is the same colonial mindset that teaches this self-loathing.

Novelists, among them DMK leader M Karunanidhi, have woven plots around them. The political economy of Jallikattu is easier to explain: it is about showcasing the quality of cattle, the breeding skills of cattle rearers, the centrality of cattle in an agrarian economy, and the power and pride they bring to farmers and land-owning castes in rural Tamil Nadu. Jallikattu is a cultural manifestation of this political economy. As a tradition, it links an agrarian people to the elemental aspect of their vocation; where a man risks his life to tame unpredictable nature. The bull, like land, is both his friend and foe. When the beast is bested, it brings bounty; defeat most likely means death.
Vaadivaasal is in a social space where pride is a culture and tradition in itself. It gives clues to why the ban on Jallikattu is so fiercely contested. For agrarian communities like Thevars and Maravars, Jallikattu is one of the few markers of their social standing and identity in a fast-changing world. The contest, which evidently celebrates masculinity, is almost an act of cultural resistance to an urban modernity that tends to marginalise rural and agrarian values. Jallikattu’s linkages with Pongal has lifted it above its regional and community origins and transformed it into a symbol of Tamil culture and pride. Pride in Tamil culture is central to Dravidian nationalism, which continues to shape the political discourse in Tamil Nadu. The political consensus in favour of Jallikattu is inescapable.

All Jallikattu events are tied to a temple festival in the village. That's why they are conducted only once a year in the village. Most of the temples are either amman or muniyandi or karuppurayan. In Dindigul district, PunithaAnthoinayarkoils (St.Anthony churches) conduct the events. There too it is the local village church festival.

The temple bull of the host village is brought in first and the priest, many a case Brahmin Iyengar priests pray to the bull.

All the players undergo a ritual fasting for 15 days before the events where they abstain from smoking, drinking, meat and are celibate.

Each bull before being taken to the host village is bathed, taken to the local temple where the villagers gather, pray and then send it off to the host village.


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