The Murder of India's 4000-year-old indigenous identity.

29/11/2016     Navaratnam Kiri 

 Jallikattu is a bull embracing sport or event that is part of an age-old Indian tradition. This can also be termed as the last surviving identity of the Indus Valley civilisation. More than a traditional sport, it is a celebration of the profound spiritual relationship that our farmers have with their land, animals and natural resources. In our culture, there isn’t a clash between nature and society. We see ourselves as part of nature.

Our unique knowledge about the environment and the process that we employ to protect the environment are the main proponents of what we call our traditions.What we celebrate as culture and traditions aren’t products of mythology and religious experiences, they transcend such divisions and trivialities.

In fact, our culture and traditions become meaningless outside the geographical boundaries of the Tamil homelands. The patterned way of life that our ancestors followed in areas like agriculture was designed based on knowledge acquired from generation to generation. This knowledge is what kept our lands fertile and our stomachs full.
  
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"Our unique knowledge about the environment and the process that we employ to protect the environment are the main proponents of what we call our traditions".​​


  
Jallikattu is part of that unique knowledge that was passed down to us from our ancestors. It is a breeding science, it is an event that has saved our native breeds from going extinct. It is an integral part of our agricultural ecosystem.
If we lose Jallikattu, we lose a part of that knowledge, we lose a part of our indigenous culture, and most importantly we lose a part of our identity.

The land isn’t the only basis of the indigenous economy. The spiritual relationship we have with our land is a relationship that connects us with our ancestors and our history. The traditions that we follow on this ancestral territory are in place to protect and maintain the land. When we say preserving the land it also includes its waters and soils, its plants and animals too.

If we lose our native breeds, we lose a protective agent of our agricultural lands. The sword and spear-wielding gods in the borders of our villages aren’t our only tutelary deities, the Bulls are also our Tutelary deities, for they protect our agricultural land and give meaning to our ecosystem and connects us with nature.
  
  
  

  
"The sword and spear-wielding gods in the borders of our villages aren’t our only tutelary deities, the Bulls are also our Tutelary deities, for they protect our agricultural land and give meaning to our ecosystem and connects us with nature. "
  
  
Article 26 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that States should give legal recognition to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous people” Jallikattu is such a custom/tradition that is part of our lands identity. Preserving it is important to preserve the Indigenous kinship that we have with the natural world.

Such an event is now facing extinction.

It is not dying naturally, it is being massacred  by a group of NGOs and a statutory board of India that is meant to protect these animals are an accomplice to this cold-blooded murder of a healthy tradition because they put the survival of the board before the survival of these animals and traditions.

An American NGO along with the Animal Welfare Board of India and groups like Peoples for Animals are waging a war against a 4000-year-old indigenous tradition of India. A group of people who have never ploughed a field are about to permanently destroy an indigenous agricultural system of India. An American citizen and a group that is accused of mismanagement of government funds are challenging the integrity of India’s cultural values and tradition.

An organisation that called Indian farmers barbarians attracts more media coverage than the average farmer who feeds India. An infamous American NGO wants to impose a program or an agenda on India that has been deemed as a failure in the developed world.

AWBI a statutory board of India that has failed in its basic mission of saving animals has now successfully converted a government body into a lobbying firm for foreign corporates. They are all winning this war and India is losing it because the average Indian isn’t prepared to challenge these corrupt entities within the Government,

They are winning because the Indian Government is willing to ignore the voices of the farmers and an entire state of India so that they can safeguard the interests of fellow politicians like Maneka Gandhi whose livelihood depends on Government funds that are being allocated through the Animal Welfare Board of India.

All the Government of India has to do is Amend the PCA act and challenge the ban, but are they willing to do it?

They say that Amending PCA is their intention, but they are not willing to even discuss it in the winter session of the Parliament.
It seems like they want the ban to last for another year or forever. Their actions and inactions speak volumes about their intention.

If a 4000-year-old tradition like Jallikattu can be threatened and banned by the actions of an infamous foreign organisation within a matter of a few years, then imagine the state of other marginalised cultural identities of India.

What is India going to do about this?

Can India and Indians afford to let this tradition be killed?

Is India willing to lose a part of its glorious identity just to fill the pockets of a few corrupt entities?

Will India speak up against the Jallikattu ban?

Will India demand the Indian Government to Amend PCA ?

Will India save its 4000-year-old tradition?

Will India Save Jallikattu?  

  





The author can be reached at leftoutvoices@gmail.com.