As Administration Makes Aadhaar Mandatory To Register For Jallikattu In Madurai; Here Is Everything About The Festival


New Delhi:The Madurai district administration made Aadhaar registration mandatory for bull tamers to participate in the bull-taming sport Jallikattu, the annually organised festival.

According to reports, this new order has not gone down well with locals.

Meanwhile, the district administration claims that the move will help in effectively managing large crowds at the celebrations in an efficient manner. Similarly, it will also put a check on illegal elements too.

Previously, any photo identity proof of bull owners and players was valid to register for the event.

Nearly 1,000 bull tamers and 3,000 bulls are expected to participate in Jallikattu this year. It will be held in various parts of Tamil Nadu from January 14 to 16.

All you need to know about the bull-taming sport:


An ancient blood sport said to date back to 400 BC, Jallikattu is organised during the mid-January harvest festival, Pongal.

The SC Ban

The Supreme Court banned the sport in 2014, upholding concerns raised by activists who said the Jallikattu amounted to cruelty to animal besides posing a threat to humans. Between 2010 and 2014, an estimated 17 people were killed and 1000-odd were injured during Jallikatu events. The Supreme Court said, “Use of bulls in such events severely harmed the animals and constituted an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to the Animals Act.”

Government’s reaction

Though the ban was more or less effective in 2015, the Centre took note of requests from pro-Jallikattu groups and the Tamil Nadu government to pass and order in January, 2016, exempting the sport from performances where bulls cannot be used, reversing the ban.

Just a few days later, the Supreme Court struck down the government order to uphold its ban.

On January 12, 2017, the Supreme Court rejected a plea by a group of lawyers seeking an urgent ruling on a clutch of petitions on Jallikattu so that the sport can be organised during this year’s Pongal celebrations.

This infuriated large sections of Tamil Nadu’s population who perceive the ban as an affront to the state’s tradition and culture.

What ExactlyJallikattu Is?

Jallikattu, in the simplest of terms, is a sport conducted as part of MattuPongal, the third day of the four-day-long harvest festival Pongal.

The Tamil word 'mattu' means bull, and the third day of Pongal is dedicated to cattle, a key partner in the process of farming.

Bulls get more importance over cows for bulls help farmers to plough their field, pull their cart loaded with goods, and inseminate cows, in turn resulting in production of milk, offspring and preserving indigenous species.

Temple bulls, usually considered the head of all cattle in a village, are readied for the sport. Temple bulls from different villages are brought to a common arena where the Jallikattu happens.

The bulls are then freed into a ground, one by one. Participants are to embrace the bull's hump, and try to tame it by bringing the raging bull to a stop, possibly by riding for as long as possible holding its hump.

The bulls that could be tamed are considered weaker, and are used for domestic purposes by the farmers and the untameable ones -- considered the strongest and most virile -- are used for breeding the cows in many villages.

History OfJallikattu:

Jallikattu is believed to be a tradition practiced since at least last 2,500 years. Cave paintings, as old as 2,500 years, which depicts a man trying to tame a bull, have been found by archeologists. Jallikattu in the present form is believed to have played first between 400 to 100 BC.

A seal, dated between 2,500 - 1,800 BC, discovered at Mohenjodaro that shows bull-taming, is another reference to Jallikattu. There are references of people enjoying witnessing and participating in Jallikattu in Silappatikaaram, one of the five great epics of Tamil literature, and two other ancient literary works like Kalithogai and Malaipadukadaam. 

S Annamalai, in an op-ed for The Hindu, quotes four lines from a poem in anthology Kalithogai that capture the essence and key ingredients of Jallikattu. These are dust in the air, able physique of tamers, ferocious bulls stooping to conquer and agitated mood of spectators. 

Importance Of Jallikattu And Why Tamils Are Sentimental About It:

Jallikattu is the key to the farmers. It is a chance for them to flaunt their personal strength, the strength of their bulls, love for their cattle and how well they have looked after them and a chance to find out the most potent bull to breed with their cows.

Lastly, Jallikattu is not a leisure sport for Tamilis, but a tradition that establishes the identity of hard-working, self-sufficient, powerful Tamil. Jallikattu also symbolises a cordial man-animal relationship, reads the op-ed. 



Add comment

Security code