The whole Tamil world has come together to fight the ban Jallikattu, justifiably. You cannot just tell the biggest linguistic group which has a 5000 year civilisation to stop celebrating its festival. People like AR Rahman and Biswanathan Anand are not going to fight election. Their support to the protest against the! man suggests something seriously wrong with the order. These international celebrities do not care about Tamil votes! Being Tamil, they understand the festival in and out. Any ‘gross injustice’ to the bulls during Jallikattu could have made them either conveniently silent or oppose such ‘unjustifiable’ protests. Some of the methods adopted during the festival could be harmful to the animals, it cannot justify a total ban on the festival. The ‘animal lovers’ can seek rectification of those methods while still allowing the main sport to happen.

The ban is ironic too as there is still rampant sacrifice of animals in different parts of India in various religious festivals. Are they too on the PETA hitlist? During Durga Puja, thousands of animals and birds are sacrificed in Assam. Even the media went ga ga about one particular temple sacrificing as many as 45 buffalos on a single day. These are some really cruel religious practices still happening. But a ban is not the right solution in cases of religious practices. Ultimately, the law is for governing the people. If a law makes the entire population unruly, there is no use of such law. ‘Lawlessness’ is better.

Some things should be left to people’s own judgement. Even if the Sati Pratha (custom of woman sacrificing her life on the funeral pyre of her husband prevalent till 19 th century) would not have been banned by the British, no Indian woman would be either ready or could be compelled today to jump into the funeral pyre. The Pratha would have died its natural death as it was practised in only some parts of India. ‘Headhunters’ of Nagaland no more killing rival villagers! Animism is almost a forgotten practice in the hills of Northeast. Without any ban these practices stopped because they could not survive as their small world opened up to the rest. For that matter there was no law to compel people to wear clothes and graduate from hunting to farming. Let the conversion and transformation take its own time.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on January 21, 2017)

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