Jallikattu is a part of the tradition, culture and life of the people in Tamil Nadu and has once again emerged at a symbol of Tamil unity and pride.
The agitation has brought the youth – often called aloof, cutoff from ground realities and living in a virtual world – on a single platform even when there’s no vote bank politics attached to it. Till now, the youth followed political parties and leaders, but today it is the politicians who are toeing their line. Till now seen running after celebrities, the youth are now also attracting the Telegu actors, many of whom have expressed support over the social networking sites.
Too much has happened over Jallikattu since 2011, when bulls were included on the list of animals that could not be used for exhibition, training or performance. The bull-taming sport was also banned.
While it is perplexing as to why bulls, for long treated like family members in villages, were included on the restricted list, it is also surprising why Jallikattu was banned as there are a lot of other areas that deserve equal or more attention when it comes to cruelty to animals.
What we need is Jallikattu with some regulations.
The mass protest at Marina beach in Chennai is only reflecting the general mood in the state. The sport has also become a symbol of resentment against the governance deficit on a variety of fronts. The youngsters are telling the political parties that they have been let down many times before and that they should stay away and that they will deal with the situations themselves.
The youth are expressing themselves in such a peaceful manner and with self-restraint and discipline that is worthy of praise and emulation. Even with so many young girls are camping at protest venue day and night, not even single instance of misbehaviour has been reported. This stands out amid the wave of incidents of violence against women reported day in and day out.
The protest is growing by the day and everyone wants to become a part of it and contribute to it in their own way. It has grown into a mass movement. This is very impressive.
(The writer is a national award winning Tamil film director. Views expressed are personal.)