The Tamil bull-taming sport of Jallikattu is a festival to honour animals,
spiritual leader Sadhguru said on Thursday, supporting a controversial practice banned for alleged animal cruelty.
During a press conference at the Jaipur Literature Festival, Sadhguru said people from outside the state (Tamil Nadu) couldn’t understand Jallikattu which was deeply rooted in Tamil culture, and drew a parallel to cricket.
“Each year, about a dozen cricketers die on the field. Does this mean that we ban cricket?” he asked adding that instances of cruelty had crept in as a result of commercialization and that like any sport, Jalikattu too needs to be regulated.
Massive protests have broken out across Tamil Nadu after the Supreme Court refused to lift a 2014 ban on the sport played during the harvest festival of Pongal.
Thousands of people are camping on Chennai’s Marina beach to press for a removal of the ban and state’s chief minister O Pannerselvam has written to the prime minister demanding an emergency ordinance to allow the practice.
Sadhguru said he was heartened by the demonstrations and said Jallikattu gave rural youth a chance for adventure and to show their skill and strength.
“If you take this away, how will boys become men? You can’t become a man by going on Facebook,” he said.
Sadhguru disagrees with animal rights activists who say Jallikattu is cruel to the bulls and says that, on the contrary, the animals are prized. He believes it is also a way to preserve the cattle gene pool and that farmers have lost out because they haven’t been able to articulate their point of view.
“Organised groups present themselves in the best way in court – their funding is suspect. The poor farmer has not been able to present their case,” he said.
Click here for our full coverage of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017
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