TIRUCHY: Unfazed by a ban on Jallikattu (bull fighting) by the apex court and optimistic that it would take place at least during Pongal, bull tamers in the central districts have started taking the animals for training to keep them match fit.
Since Pongal is round the corner, bull owners hope that the government may lift the ban making the traditional game charm spectators again. District Jallikattu association members say that the bull-taming village sport will surely take place during Pongal. Unlike previous years, Jallikattu is nowadays taking place in certain pockets only. Last year, it happened in a village called Sooriyur in the district and bulls in large numbers from central districts participated in it.
The Supreme Court order in May last year to ban Jallikattu came as a shocker to the villagers, bull owners and fans of the sport alike.
“The time has come for us to train the bulls. They need heavy nutritious meals along with exercise,” says N Muthusamy of Puliyancholai near Thuraiyur in the district.
He is hoping that Poonchittu (bull’s name) will be a top draw, as it has won several prizes over the past five years.
The district witnessed Jallikattu in around 15 places some years ago. But, after the ban, the government had permitted to conduct this game in some areas only in the past. Bull owners also said that many bulls were sent to slaughter houses after a ban was imposed on Jallikattu. However, they are keeping their fingers crossed in conducting this traditional sport this year.
“I have been maintaining four bulls for the past 12 years. They are really well-built and strong. I am looking forward to the event this year,” says Mahendran of Salem district, who brought his bulls to Tiruchy district for the event in the past.
He added that he is taking the bulls for swimming for muscle strength.
N Baskar, State president of Thamilar Jallikattu Kalai Valarppor Nala Peravai, told
Express that all the bulls are undergoing intensive training in the central districts and the bull owners are quite convinced that Jallikattu will take place.
“The government should ensure that Jallikattu took place not only in the prescribed places, but also in all the districts,”, he stressed, before adding that if there is no permission from the government, they would surrender all the bulls before the Court.