Jallikattu is a bull taming sport which is played on Mattu Pongal, the third day of the harvest festival Pongal. It is considered to be very close to the heart of the Tamilians, as it is a part of their history.
It sparked off protests and clashes in different parts of the state. However, the seeds of this unrest were sown many years ago. The question which needs to be answered is whether there is a cultural or political agenda.
Firstly, there is a battle going on between the people of Tamil Nadu and the Supreme Court. Since the latter has reiterated its stand that Jallikattu is against the Prevention to Cruelty of Animals Act. Obviously, due to its deep history, the people are emotionally attached to Jallikattu. For them, it’s not merely a sport but a part of their tradition. They see the ban as an attack on their culture. Something they are bound to fight for.
Their fight began with a few people in the Marena beach and gradually spread to different districts of the state. The result was that the state government passed the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals Act 2017, thereby allowing Jallikattu to be played.
On another front, every political party is trying to use this issue to its advantage and gain brownie points. One of the biggest achievement was the coming together of DMK and AIADMK for the first time. They both opposed this ban. After Chief Minister Panneerselvam permitted the event in the state, BJP has been seen taking credits for this development. Rightly so, it is almost election time and Jallikattu supporters would prove to be a massive vote bank for him.
Even though with the passing of state law, the cultural crisis seems to be over for the time being. Politically a lot is left to be seen in the state, which has elections round the corner. It can be said that even though the fire has settled, the smoke is still left to disappear.