Sunday mornings usually start at 11 AM for me. That’s the time I usually wake up on Sundays. But today was different as I got up at 8 AM to get ready for an event I had been looking forward to for quite sometime now. The native Indian cattle show, organised by the one and only Mr.Sivasenapthy and others near Erode.
Before going on to the crux of today’s entertainment, I have to mention about two things. First my friend, Dr.Thayumanasundaram, who was the reason for me to change my views on “Jallikattu”, a sport I once thought and deemed cruel enough that it was justified to be banned after seeing few of the many “doctored” videos trying to defame Jallikattu. An orthopaedic surgeon by profession, whose roots run deep in agriculture. He made me realise why jallikattu is important for the breeders and famers (if not you and me), who own bulls and spend a huge amount to mantain them even though they do not yield any profit.
Second, the video he forced me to see which shed some light on what Jallikattu actually is and how the native breeds and slowly being pushed to the verge of extinction. Click this link to check out the program which is in Tamil. I am not gonna dwell into the details of it.
Coming to today’s adventure, the place was roughly about an hour’s drive from my place. So after getting ready, I started at about 9:45 AM and reached the place at 11 AM to join my friend Dr.Thai. The show was being conducted in a school, and being a show on cattles, we did not expect much crowd. But we were in for a surprise. The sheer number of people in cars and bikes who had assembled to see the show were nothing short of what you see on a FDFS of a Rajnikanth movie!! From the enthusiastic teens to girls with DSLR’s, to hip hop singer Mr.Adhi (The one and only Hiphop Tamizhan) and reporters, the genre of people who had assembled were diverse.
Apart from the people, the Bulls and cows which had been brought from various places of Tamilnadu were also stunning. You can find pictures of some of the bulls and cows below.
The show stoppers were definitely the Majestic “Kangeyam” bulls which, in their prime were almost reaching upto my shoulders easily (Am 6 feet by the way). But I was surprised when Mr.Sivasenapathy mentioned that the Kangeyam breed are not the preferred choice for jallikattu but rather the “Pulikulam” breed. The reason being that, the hump is quite huge (huge is an understatement I feel) in kangeyam bulls which makes it easier for the Jallikattu players to embrace them for the full length of the distance that they need to cover. On the contrary, the Pulikulam breed was rather short both in stature and hump size. Even made us wonder if that could be the only reason as their short stature will be easier for players to embrace them. But our doubts were cleared when one of the Pulikulam breed got loose and showed a mock charge!! Everyone started running for their lives at the mere mock charge and took about 5-6 people to tie it back in its place. Quite scary!
We were in for a surprise when I heard a voice shout my name. Totally bewildered who would shout my name in a cattle show, I was pleasantly surprised to see my School mate,Saravanan, whom I had not seen in quite some time. Even more so when he said he had come with his Bull and cow calves to participate in the show!!
After seeing one of our status updates on Facebook on attending the event, one other friend of ours, Dr.Naveen Balaji and his wife decided to join us. (These status updates and check-in’s do come in handy at times).
Some of the things I learnt from the visit
- Maintaining a Bull is not an easy job monetarily as well as physically. It takes about Rs. 1 lakh a year to maintain a single bull alone! A farmer with minimal income taking care of one undergoes heavy financial stress.
- Events like Jallikattu, Rekhla are the motivating factor for these people. Just like everything else, even farmers and breeders need motivation. The prize money in these events take some of the financial burden off their shoulders. But more than that, the happiness when their bulls win makes them forget all the trouble that they go through and rejuvenates them.
- A single bull cow can help in ploughing and cultivating 30-acres of land. Its excreta can be used as natural fertilizer. It actually helps a farmer take care of his family without having to invest in any major investment like a tractor or artificial fertilizers, etc.
- Many foreign organisations which consider it as a threat to their business model which relies heavily on farmers utilising tractors, and the milk industry which rely on western cow breeds like Holstein(known to be highest production-dairy animals), are working tirelessly to permanently ban sports like Jallikattu and Rekhla, which are the major driving force for breeders and farmers.
- The people who call themselves animal lovers and protectors are not essentially the same. They have an ulterior motive and money is what is more important to them rather than animal welfare and preserving native tradition and animals .
- The native breeds can survive easily in the harsh and hot climates of India as opposed to the Western breeds without any special food . Also their ability to breed multiple times as opposed to the western breed which can breed 2-3 times after which they cannot breed naturally. This makes the farmers go for artificial insemination, which again is controlled and profited by the western organisations.
We, as Indians, must unite to save the native Indian bull and thereby save farmers and agriculture, which still remains as the backbone of India. If not, it will not be long before we are left in a state where we will have to import food than export. Extend your support by attending events like this, or spreading knowledge about such events and their importance.
Save bulls! Save famers! Save agriculture!