ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Humanity’s Petty Ethics

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North Indians, and the rest of the world that heard, have been amazed at the 75-million strong Tamil reaction to the ban on “Jallikattu,” a harvest event in which young men try to snatch the purse of money tied to the horns of a trained bull. Tamilians from all over South India, and wherever they are settled, in London, New York or Melbourne, have come together to defy the orders of the Supreme Court, the central government, and police forces on this issue. But it should not have surprised anyone. From even before India became independent, Dravidian Tamils have been resentful of the pretence of superiority of the “Aryan” North, suspicious of laws enacted in Delhi, and very jealous of their own identities. Jawaharlal Nehru in an ill-considered “nationalist” moment declared in the 1960s that Hindi would become the sole national language of communication. He quickly recanted when Tamil Nadu rose in revolt and dozens of students immolated themselves. Unfortunately, a heedless Bandaranaike in Colombo declared that Sinhalese would be the only national language in Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka), the consequence of which was a long, tragic, and inconclusive civil war with the Tamils of that country.

But this time it was a facile compassion for bulls based on complete ignorance that brought about a massive political standoff between North and South India. Jallikattu, which occasionally turns dangerous for man and animal, is similar to the running of the bulls in Portugal, where the animals are not hurt, and are as well taken care of as in Tamil Nadu. This is clearly a prehistoric “sport,” perhaps, celebrating the domestication of cattle, for there are 3,000-year-old frescoes in Crete, from the Minoan era, showing girls leaping over charging bulls!

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Updated On : 27th Jan, 2017

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