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Stay on Jallikatu : Paining Hindu Sentiments more

Updated: January 26, 2017 3:15 pm

The culturally-vibrant and politically-conscious state of Tamil Nadu is on the boil. Thousands of people are on the streets, or rather on the sands of Marina beach, in Chennai protesting against the Supreme Court for not vacating the stay on Jallikattu, a sport involving human beings and bull that is celebrated with valour during the Pongal festival.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an organisation which has been in the forefront of protecting animals from cruelty had approached the apex court demanding ban on Jallikattu on the ground that said “the sport is cruel to animals.” Perhaps, unmindful of the people’s strong sentiments besides the culture and tradition content inherent in the game that the people have whole-heartedly acknowledged this manly game, the apex court stayed the game and recently it refused to vacate the stay. This refusal on the part of the highest court of land is the cause of turmoil in the Southern state of India.

With the people demanding the immediate vacate of the stay and enable them to continue the age-old practice, the question of whether the Culture and Tradition is above law has come to the fore. People say that the sport is played by able-bodied men who have consciously accepted the “pros and cons” of the consequences of the game and is not forced on young lads. Culture and Tradition is above law, declared the people of Tamil Nadu in one voice – clear and categorical. The people went to the extent of defying the ban imposed by the apex court at Madurai, thus, provoking the district administration to “reluctantly” arrest around 250 persons.

Taking a comprehensive look at the entire gamut of the issue, questions are being posed by the well-meaning people as to why only practises pertaining to Hindu religion, Hindu customs and tradition are being targeted by the so-called NGOs? The underlining concern and fear among the people is that whether these attempts of the NGOs are to De-Hinduise the country? Why target only the Hindu practices and why not “inhuman” practices like triple talaaq prevailing in Non-Hindu religious denominations?

Let’s take a look at the attempts to de-Hinduise the country, according to conscientious people, attempts are being made to persuade the people not to burst crackers during Diwali on the ground of threat to ecology and environment. Crackers are burst by people to celebrate the return of Rama from exile, that too for three days in a year. What about bursting crackers on New Year’s Day and during marriages as well as at the cricket matches when India wins? Do any of the environmental organisations have any answer to these pertinent questions?

Similarly, if PETA is so concerned about the cruelty to animals at Jallikattu game, then is slaughter of the cows on daily basis right? What about the slaughter of millions of sheep and goat during the festivals of Muslims? Is it not cruelty to animals? If slaughter of cows, sheep and goat is correct on the basis of the “right” and “culture & tradition” of one religious community, then Jallikattu is also correct on the basis of the same yardstick.

The government of the day and the Supreme Court should understand one thing; that the beliefs and tradition that are deep-rooted since time immemorial cannot be wished away and abandoned by enforcing law; it is possible by persuasion. Karnataka stands out as a classic instance in this respect. A section of people in Chandragutti village in Soraba taluk of Shimoga district had developed the practice of “worshipping nude” in a near-by Devi temple. But the practice was slowly abandoned by persuasion by well-meaning people.

Mending is always correct when sentiments, tradition and culture are involved; this mending takes time. Sudden ending is too cruel; traumatic and can make people revolt. The Supreme Court ought to have kept this in mind when handling as delicate an issue as Jallikattu which is directly linked to people’s sentiments.

Supreme Court is final, not because it is infalliable.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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