Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Jallikattu will break many stereotypes. (by Sunny Narang)

There is no questioning the reality , that Civilization, Society, Religion,Culture and Language precedes a legal document called a Constitution.

Jallikattu has been a great tool for people like me to understand deeply Tamil Society and Culture , and the least all non-Tamils can do is read and understand those close to the herds and farms of Tamil Nadu , not some sterile activists sitting on their lazy bums in TV studios and claustrophobic offices in Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru .

That tens of thousands of people across religions, classes , occupations in many towns of Tamil Nadu are gathering to protest about Jallikattu is for me an amazing message of Bio-Cultural mobilization that is almost autonomous led by hundreds of informed Tamils about their traditions .

Listening to Krishnamachari Srikkanth talking and singing in Tamil on an English New Channel was an absolute delight . (

And if you have not seen the hyper-viral Jallikattu music video Takkaru Takkaru, then you are missing something . No one in India or anywhere used a music video as a documentary and a fiction story telling like the Tamils have ! (

In 2015 end we met with some amazing Tamilians in Chennai . Among them was Himakiran Anugula

Himakiran Anugula , (Twitter ) an Industrial Engineer who worked in USA , from a family of farmers and textile manufacturers and an Organic Farming , Indigenous Cattle, Local Language activist . He was for me a young man , who understood the Global scenario and was as much at home on a farm or a factory .

His Tamil Identity was part of the Union of India , but never India as a Mono-Cultural-Lingual Superstate led by the inane Lutyens Delhi Elites as the brilliant essay in Firstpost shares today . He was introduced to us by Aparna Krishnan , an ex TCS software engineer who works with a Dalit community in rural Andhra Pradesh ( .

Hima as we call him had written in 2016 a brilliant riposte on the Tamil cultures of Indigenous Cattle , to all the Urban Animal Liberation activists who scream "Did You Ask The Bull" ( They would like the whole agri-livestock economy of India destroyed as they use Bullock-Carts , Donkeys , Sheep for wool , lets forget all meat and dairy !) . You can read it here.

" The Jallikattu protests show that against the cosmo-liberal stereotype of “Indian young people”, there are young people, millions of them, to whom roots, identity and culture matters and they do not aspire to lose their Tamil-ness to make the cut in the Delhi-Mumbai idea of Indianness. "

Just a few days ago I had a call with Himakiran and Karthikeya Sivasenapathy who is the Managing Trustee of Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation , which is working towards conservation of the famous Kangayam cattle from that region.

And I told them that its ONLY the Tamil Bull that can shatter the absolute arrogant ignorance of the urban elites in Delhi-Mumbai-Bengaluru who thrive on an industrial modernity and have no or very little idea or experience of rural or regional cultures of agricultural-livestock-artisan lifestyles , occupations and vocations .

I am loving the fact that

"Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation is situated in Kuttapalayam village, Palayakottai in the Kangayam taluka of Tirupur District(formerly Erode District), Tamilnadu, India. The area is best suited to cattle breeding. The soil is red-loam of calcium rich gravel known as ‘odai jelly’, and is the best land for rearing cattle. Such soils are known to be cool and though shallow, are retentive of moisture sufficient for raising pasture.

It is, however, a dry tract where the cultivator has to depend upon the monsoon. In some parts wells are used for irrigating farm lands; and to raise water from a depth of 30 – 60 ft. the farmers require strong and efficient bullocks. More-over, on the break of the monsoon, large areas of land have to be prepared and sown before the soil dries up and for this quick work efficient bullocks are very necessary.

The founder of the farm is Kuttappalayam K.N.Saminathan who served as the chairman of "The live stock development committee of the government of tamilnadu" for a decade. he was the member of the lower house in the government of tamilnadu for the period 1967 – 1972 . He brought in various legislations for protecting the indigenous kangayam race from extinction. Due to the love and interest he had for the kangayam cows the honorable chief minister Dr.Arignar C.N.Annadurai appointed K.N.Saminathan as the chairman of the tamilnadu live stock development committee.

Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation is headed by its chairman the founders son Mr.K.Saminathan Sivasenapathy and managed by its managing Trustee Mr.Karthikeya Sivasenapathy.

Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation (SKCRF) has been advocating and practicing ethical organic farming even before it was institutionalized. The cattle in the farm grow in this kind of stress free environment freely and healthily. This is called ecological livestock keeping. The cattle are not stall fed. They are allowed to graze in the open grass lands called Korangadu, a unique silvi pasture grazing system.

The Korangadu is a unique habitat comprising of Velan trees spread in regular intervals and with nearly 23 types of vegetation. With no pesticides and all indigenous natural vegetation, the cattle are raised harmoniously in their ecosystem grazing all day. As the cattle grazes on abundant kolukuttai grass and velan pods in the open natural environment thereby reducing external inputs making it a sound sustainable method of livestock keeping. The additional advantage is the cattle rarely falls sick as it gets the best nutrition and immunity.

So the occasion of cows being given any medicine or unwanted antibiotics which are harmful to them and us does not arise. The calcium rich soil in the region adds to the vigour of the cattle and the milk that it provides. Hence it is a much sought after milk for young ones and women for nutrition, immunity and calcium requirements. This is the milk recommended for ayurvedic treatments .The milk of Kangayam is recognized as A2 type of milk which has no bad fat and is prescribed by doctors for children up to the age of 7. The ghee of this region is world famous due to ecological livestock keeping and calcium found in soil."

"All over Tamil Nadu, tens of thousands of people, largely not under any political banner, have been protesting against the ban on jallikattu since Tuesday. The most widely broadcast protest was from the Marina beach in Chennai. But the Marina beach protest is actually very small compared to the ones taking place in other parts of Tamil Nadu including Madurai, Erode, Salem and Coimbatore.

It's not only big cities but small towns and villages as well which have joined the protest against the ban, thus uniting the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu. “We want Jallikattu” is a cultural as well as a political demand.

People had assembled in protest from Tuesday night, but the “national media” didn’t live-broadcast it. Perhaps because this was not Delhi and hence didn’t matter to the “nation”.

As the day progressed on 18 January, young people from all walks of life spilt onto the streets, from students to IT professionals to farmers, including many, many women. As we speak, this has become too big for the “national media” to ignore, and since this is not Kashmir from where independent media and telecom connectivity can be blacked out at will, “national media” wants to explain to the ‘rest of India’, why are Tamils angry and why are they are protesting?

Even today, with the jallikattu protests, the Tamils have opened the space for the rest of us to assert our cultural rights against the whims and fancies of the agencies of the Union government that imagine the Indian Union as a bloated form of the NCR. The way the Union government has been criticised by the Tamil protesters on the ground show that they understand this political dynamic very well.

The huge presence of women for a “male sport” shows that this issue goes beyond the particulars of jallikattu and stems from something bigger and wider. Even non-resident Tamils from around the world (in USA, Ireland, Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia and elsewhere) have joined in the protest on the Tamil social media space where unlike in Noida, Whatsapp messages about bovine animals are being used to unite people and not divide them.

The Jallikattu protests show that against the cosmo-liberal stereotype of “Indian young people”, there are young people, millions of them, to whom roots, identity and culture matters and they do not aspire to lose their Tamil-ness to make the cut in the Delhi-Mumbai idea of Indianness.

These are people who know English very well but have chosen to respond in Tamil to Delhi media's questions posed to them in English. If this appears odd, remember the number of times Delhi-based English media carries responses in Hindi without any translation. Try to think why that is not considered odd when a majority of the citizens of the Indian Union do not understand Hindi.

In the protests, a recurring theme is that the Tamil interests have been marginalised in the Indian Union. The Tamil culture is older than the Indian Union, and its self-respect and institutions are very important parts of that culture. The fact that Tamil Nadu now doesn’t have control over its own maritime trade, foreign relations or for that matter most aspects of Tamil internal affairs, is hardly two centuries old. The Tamil political memory and historical consciousness goes far beyond that and is a living thing that influences politics of here and now.

During the Eelam Tamil genocide, the Union government explicitly sided with the Sri Lankan government, thus making clear that Tamil Nadu’s sentiments matter little to Delhi even when it comes to the genocide of Tamils elsewhere. Thus it is only natural to think that many Tamils feel that they are getting cheated in this deal called the Indian Union.

At this juncture, it doesn’t help when the so-called “national opinion” brands make fun of Tamils as irrational or barbarous people who love to be cruel to their animals. If at all, it is quite duplicitous since Delhi doesn’t mind the revenue that is extracted from Tamil Nadu while using its institutions like the Animal Welfare Board of India to undercut Tamil cultural practices.

That is the tragedy of a centralised administration where bureaucrats from high female foeticide states get to decide the women’s rights policies of socially progressive states like Tamil Nadu.

Whether Jallikattu is right or wrong, should it be discontinued or not, or continued with modifications, is an out and out Tamil affair. That the Animal Welfare Board of India, which doesn’t exactly reflect Tamil opinion, gets to decide on this shows how Tamils are infantilised as being incapable of deciding their own affairs, including their own cultural practices, or for that matter, animal welfare issues.

This stems from the two long lists called the Union and Concurrent lists of the Constitution of India that gives almost unfettered right to the agencies of the Union government over the lives and issues of people of various states.

It is this false federalism, in which state rights have been completely disrespected, is the source of most of the problems, and the solutions to this are achievable within the ambit of the Constitution of Indian by large scale move of subjects from the Union and Concurrent lists to the State list in keeping with the federal democratic spirit of the Cabinet Mission plan of 1946, to which most elected lawmakers of the time agreed, only to turn their back on it after 1947.

Yes, reforms are needed and they can take many shapes. The ambit of the Supreme Court can be limited to Union and concurrent list subjects with state-based apex courts becoming the highest authority on state subjects.

This along with a move of most subjects to the State list can realise the full federal democratic potential of the Union of India. Otherwise, such deep-rooted political grievances promote alienation and make their presence felt in some way or the other, in not so palatable ways.

While deciding to hang Afzal Guru, in spite of many grounds for reasonable doubt about the case, the Supreme Court of India said, “The collective conscience of the society will be satisfied only if the death penalty is awarded to Afzal Guru.” If the “collective conscience” of the society has already been admitted by the Supreme Court to be a decider in handing out judgements, what prevents it from listening to the “collective conscience” of Tamils regarding jallikattu that is on display in the protests all over their land today?"

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