Jallikattu is an ancient bull taming sport observed in Tamil Nadu during the Pongal festival. But not any more. Since 2014, the sport has observed a ban in the state citing cruelty to animals as the primary reason. The Supreme court had upheld the ban even last year. In fact, the apex court questioned the Central government’s 2016 decision to allow the usage of bulls in the sport, last month. Now with the Pongal festival nearing (4 days away), Tamil stars have come up and spoken for Jalikattu, a sport that represents the Tamil Nadu culture. Simbu had taken to social media last year to express his support for the sport – ‘Jalikattu is the cultural symbol of our state and it our pride too. We have been practising this art of valour for years and it is utterly disgraceful when some groups and individuals manage to misguide and misinform the authorities of governance and judiciary on this art that is considered the cultural symbol of our state’ At the 2017 India Today South Conclave session yesterday, Kamal Haasan too expressed his love for the cultural sport. He mentioned that if Jalikattu was to be banned, they should ban biryani too. He also clarified that it is in no way similar to the famous bull-fighting sport in Spain. In fact, he mentioned that Bulls were treated like gods here.

Even Suriya has stood up for the sport and stated how the specific breed bred for this sport is seeing a decline ” There used to be 200 bull breeds but now, we only have 30. Many bull breeds are extinct.” According to an article on BBC News Feed, six native breeds were used in this sport. But now the ban is slowly killing each of them. Siva Karthikeyan has raised his voice for Jalikattu too. The latest actor to support this sport is Dhanush who has taken to social media to rally for Jalikattu – #Jallikattu is an integral element of the voice and identity of Tamilians. #ISupportJallikattu #WeNeedJallikattu #TamilCulture

Jalikattu is a ‘bull-hugging’ sport. A trained bull is let loose, and all one has to do is hold on to the bull’s hump. You are not allowed to use ropes or any weapons or hold the bull by its horns or neck. If the participant reaches the finishing line, still holding on to the bull’s hump, then he/she is declared a winner, but if the bull has manged to get the person off them, the bull is a winner. The sport is believed to be in no way similar to the famous bull fighting sport in Spain where the intention is to instigate the bull and then have the bull fighter attack it and kill it eventually.

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