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Indian youth attempt to catch a bull during a bull-taming festival known as Jallikattu at Palamedu Village near Madurai, some 500 kms south of Chennai, on January 16, 2011. The event was held as part of Tamil New Year 'Ponggal' celebrations. AFP/STR

Jallikattu protest: Courts must view public sentiment

Tamil Nadu:(ONT Bureaue)20//1/17:sympathyLast year, the apex court upheld a two-year-old Bombay High Court order limiting the height of human pyramids and forbidding the participation of minors during Dahi Handi celebrations. It was reasonable. The court did not resort to a complete ban on a century-old tradition. It addressed the core issue: The risk to human lives from tall pyramids. The organisers were getting negligent about it.
Its approach to jallikattu has been different. It bans what locals say is a hugely popular sport in parts of Tamil Nadu, a 2000-year-old tradition. The reason is cruelty to bulls used in the taming game. According to animal lovers, the studs of the native breed that are let loose among young men are tortured in different ways to be kept in an excitable state. The methods include mutilating the ears, making the bulls drunk and selective knifing in body parts. Sure, this is disgusting.
But does it call for doing away with jallikattu altogether? Perhaps a strong directive to address the cruelty part would have sufficed. The district administration and police could have been directed to ensure that no harm is caused to animals. It would have worked to the satisfaction of both sides in the controversy and helped avert the current situation of confrontation between judicial decree and popular sentiment. Unfortunately, the court decided to use a bulldozer where a few hammer blows could have fixed the problem.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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