Bullfighting is an Indian tradition
One associates bull-fighting with Spain. One also associates it with man vs bull. But there is another type of bull-fighting that is common to countries like Korea, Japan, and yes, India. Bull against Bull. It’s these pictures that that I want to share with you. These are pictures that a photographer we know personally (Rajiv Rai) sent us. He took these in Shahapur village (Khandwa District, Madhya Pradesh).
Man vs Bull is also common in India. In fact this was in the news recently, because first the Supreme Court banned the four-century-old ‘Jallikattu‘ – event that attracts thousands of people (including tourists) during the Pongal harvest festival in the state of Tamil Nadu, as a “barbaric” way of treating animals, and then due to pressure from Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister, the ban was overturned. Karunanidhi said it would be hurting the religious sentiments of people – and this is the same person who has made statements against the Hindu religion! 🙂 More likely that he knows that too much money rides on this sport to ban it all of a sudden. It’s also a popular sport and that will cost him votes.
Jallikattu by the way is different from the Spanish bull-fighting as the bull isn’t killed, and the man does not use a weapon. What happens is (Wiki):
In Jallikattu, an agitated bull is set to run in an open space. Several people, empty handed, try to tame it by controlling its horns. The winner gets a prize, which is generally tied to the horns of the bull. Only men take part in this game…Betting is also common during the game.
A travel feature on New York Times has a video on this too and you can watch it here. They say that bullfights are a 2000 year old tradition in India. Some sources say that bull-fighting in India is about 400 years old, which makes it older than the tradition in Spain. But actually bull-fighting (man against bull) goes back to pre-historic times in Europe.
You will wonder why I am writing about this…am I against the practice of bullfighting and is that my motive for writing?
Sure, I am against bull-fighting, and infact all violent sports including wrestling and boxing! I think these sports are disgusting and I guess that’s a typical female way of looking at it. I could never enjoy a bull-fight and nor could I ever watch any sort of wrestling match. But at the same time I realise that bull fights and other violent and dangerous sports are here to stay…so I have not written about this to moralize. What makes these bull sports worse is that the poor bulls are not asked if they want to fight…they are goaded to.
In conclusion, I want to mention that the Supreme Court has laid down guidelines, which say that the sport be conducted under strict supervision so that cruelty to animals is avoided. It’s anybody’s guess how much actual supervision will happen as this sport takes place in villages across India. And as far as I know these guidelines don’t apply to the Bull vs Bull sport.