[Following editorial has been published in The Hindu on 31st December 2015. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer -writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]
Risk-taking, possible grievous injury and testing the limits of physical and mental exhaustion have always been part of competitive sport, and the resultant tension has held the imagination of participants and spectators alike. But the participants have a choice in partaking in the risk and are aware of the consequences — intended or unintended — of their actions even as they engage in the sport with adequate precautions and take steps to mitigate unnecessary risks. Jallikattu, the popular bull “taming” sport conducted every year during the “Pongal season” in Tamil Nadu, also engages young participants and spectators in a violent and irrational risk-taking endeavour, requiring the taming of a raging bull at the risk of even fatal injury. Yet the bull itself is a “silent” participant, goaded into frenzy in this “sport” and subjected deliberately to gruesome injury in the process. The rush of adrenaline, in fact, drives participants to abandon caution, and many get gored, resulting in violent injuries and even deaths. Spectators are not spared either as the temporary barricades that separate them from the bull run are mostly weak and unsteady. Jallikattu might be a popular tradition having evolved from a single man-bull combat in the past to the random spectacle that it is today, but that it is both irrational and against animal rights is beyond question.
In a judgment last year, the Supreme Court for this very reason had banned jallikattu along with bullock cart races in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, ignoring the argument for tradition and “culture”. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the Tamil Nadu government has urged the Centre to pass legislation — even through the route of promulgation of an ordinance — to amend the laws for the conduct of jallikattu. Surprisingly, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has responded positively to this request. Traditional belief systems and customs have been invoked by proponents of jallikattu to seek revocation of the ban. Only those aspects of the customary rituals that put the well-being of participants and animals at disproportionate risk were considered in the Supreme Court decision in banning jallikattu. It would have been appropriate for the Tamil Nadu government to absorb this reasoning and explain it to rural youth who have complained about the loss of their traditional “sport”; instead, it has acceded to irrational demands and sought to have the ban overturned. Dominant political forces in the State of Tamil Nadu had, in the previous century, sought to contest irrational tradition by espousing rational values. The ideological decay and loss of fervour in promoting such values is evident in the recent plea made by the State government and the support this has received from opposition parties. The festive atmosphere during Pongal and the traditions of community bonding and competition can still be easily retained without the irrational practice of jallikattu.
1. What is Jallikattu? What is its history?
2. What is Pongal? Where and how is it celebrated?
3. What is adrenaline? Why is there an "adrenaline rush" in the human body?
4. Why is the editor considering Jallikattu an irrational sport?
5. What do you mean by animal rights? What are the laws to protect animal rights in India?
6. Why did the Supreme Court ban Jallikattu and bullock cart races in TN and Maharashtra?
7. What is the TN government trying to revoke the ban? How and why is it trying to do that despite the sport being an irrational one?
8. What do you mean by an Ordinance?
9. What are the reasons given by the proponents of Jallikattu to revoke the ban?
10. What are the measures suggested by the editor to retain the tradition, community bonding and spirit of competition? What in your opinion could be other such measures?
11. Have you come across any such irrational event/practice in your life? How have you responded in such situations?