The spontaneous outpouring of anger at protests at Marina beech in Chennai and Allanganallur in Madurai is seen by many as a means to build pressure for lifting the ban on Jallikattu. But that is a narrow way to look at the issue.
Jallikattu was never an all-Tamil Nadu tradition. Chennai was no darling spot for the bulls to snort and run. The traditional sport, which was part of Pongal festivities, was confined just to parts of Madurai district, particularly Allanganallur.
So why has the ban hurt the whole of Tamil Nadu?
Simple: The ban has hurt Tamil Pride. This is something that people of Tamil Nadu can never digest.
The people of Tamil Nadu are strict guardians of their culture, tradition and language. This is why you find so much creativity in Tamil cinemas and music. They never look to Bollywood for inspiration or scripts. Their language too frowns at words from other languages.
Any move to curtail, ban or alter matters pertaining to culture, tradition and language would be met with stiff opposition. Years back Tamil Nadu fought tooth and nail against the imposition of Hindi in government offices.
Till recently, many in Tamil Nadu saw Jayalalithaa as a warrior queen ready to take on any invasion on Tamil Nadu’s rights from the north or neighbouring states. Many say the Dravidians are fighting an unseen Aryan invasion on their tradition, religion, culture, sport
It is through this prism that the present agitation must be seen. Many youngsters in Tamil Nadu look at the ban on jallikattu as an insult and a move to alter their tradition. The Supreme Court counter is that child marriages were a tradition in Tamil Nadu, so should that be allowed. But that is an illogical way to look at issues. The court must move with times.
Moreover, in jallikattu, the bulls are not harmed. If horse races can be allowed, if elephants can be paraded in hot summer in the name of festivals in Kerala, bulls made to jump through fire in Karnataka, why is Tamil Nadu being discriminated?