The Story of a Tamed Bull in an Untamed Society

Jallikattu and the Myth it governs:

‘Jallikattu’ has been around since the time of ‘Indus Valley Civilization’ and there have been depictions of it in several cave excavations and seals that have embedded all around the world and it’s very different from what others around the world call to be a ‘Bullfight’. The emergence of Jallikattu has its early mentions in Sangam literature that dates back to 200 B.C. and it’s of a common practice back in the age of colonization and it’s initially known to be ‘salli kaasu’ meaning (Coin packages). It’s a leisure and physical training for the bulls that are deeply rooted in the hearts of every Tamilian in Tamil Nadu and it’s with such grandeur and pride the event takes place. In order for something to become a practice it has to have aesthetic history to it that justifies its connotation even in today’s time age and Jallikattu is one such classic example that is famous in areas like Madurai, Alanganallur, Karikiyyur, Palamedu and other small villages who predominantly base their lives on Agriculture consider this act of Jallikattu as the method of taming their bulls for better production and milk production that is healthy and can be consumed.

[1] Kangayam bull calves and bullocks wait for buyers at Kannapuram.

The other interesting aspect of this authentic regional practice of Jallikattu is celebrated with a huge crowd who come to witness the strength of the bull and the ability of the bulls are tested and contested by its owners and are awarded if it’s a bull that cannot be defeated. A makeshift entrance which is also understood to be ‘Vaadi Vaasal’ is where the bulls are decorated with gold coins around their horns and their horns are sharpened and made to look pristine and are beautified in several ways to establish their bulls to be the center of attraction with garlands and other regional decorative items. These bulls vary from 92 different breeds and the strongest of them is the breed of Kangayam, the ignorance of most of the breeds has led to several farmers suicide due to animals being kidnapped and taken away for consumption or slaughterhouse by corporates and MNC’S to function better in order to receive patent rights for the production of milk and incorporate Artificial Insemination.

The sport of Jallikattu is only done to tame the bull and however, in today’s world there has been several instances where the bulls go through abuse in various forms and that became an iconic issue that saw the youth of Tamilnadu rise and fights earnestly for their identity that was being taken away and shadowed by the hegemony of ‘saffronisation’. There have been several debates, bills passed, and loss of lives of bulls and humans in the whole act, and yet it prevails to date. The year 2017 saw hundreds of youth gather in Chennai at the Marina Beach and protest in an orderly fashion without upholding any form of violence but simply by shouting slogans, talking of the significance and importance of farmers and their livelihood and this bought about a victory for them when the Supreme court gave the verdict of practicing it for 5 months every year under police vigilance.

[2] A Kaalmaadu (Bull) getting prepped for Jallikattu

Mr. Karthikeyan Siva Senathipathy the Managing Trustee of Senapathipathy Kangayam cattle research foundation gave an elaborative interview on this institution of slaughter a bull means would bring about a decline in the entire breed itself and this is exactly why the bulls are targeted “Our bulls are named about our family divine beings — Ayyanar, Pandi, Karuppan who in folklore monitor our homes see’’. These bulls are our divine beings. We won’t let them down, “he included. Money has got this pure sporting and taming activity a politicized issue and the biggest problem is that those in power either have zero or half-baked knowledge of what is the exact purpose and reason behind taming the bull and why is the sport considered a tradition and how farmers and bull owners respect their bulls even after the die of age’’.

The festival of Pongal is another reference that can be made which is celebrated as Farmer's day and this is when Harvest season happens.


Karuppaswamy is a primordial God with a gigantic measure of knowledge and vitality. He is additionally called The Dark God in reference to his job in heading out the dull powers of underhandedness, deception, and bad form. There is a breed named after this god called the Karuppan breed. The Kalki prime example or Avatar is said to be the tenth manifestation of Lord Vishnu. He is said to arrive at the part of the arrangement of haziness and obliteration, he is the God who leads us through this progress to the Golden age. The name ‘Kalki’ is connected to time everlasting or time. The causes of the name get the signifying ‘Destroyer of Foulness,’ ‘Destroyer of Confusion’, ‘Destroyer of obscurities, or ‘Annihilator of numbness’.

[3] ‘Cellphone’ Naicker, a cattle seller, and his grandson hold a pair of Kangayams they’ve brought to sell at Kannapuram.

The portrayal of equity and nobility is fundamentally the same as that of Karuppasamy. Decimating insidious, acquiring equity, the Bhagavata Purana states, “Master Kalki, the Lord of the Universe, will mount his quick white steed Devadatta and sword close by movement the earth showing his eight spiritualist opulence’s, annihilating all abhorrent,”- the jobs of both the divinities are comparative and parallel to each other.

The whole activity is done to test the potential nature of the bull and those that are strong and possess a good amount of nutrition are sent to breeding areas and those that aren’t eligible are categorized for farming purposes. Farmers are the greatest Animal Lovers in reality and 15 years ago according to statistics there were 9 Lakh of bulls in number and now there is hardly 2 Lakhs.

Hope you enjoyed reading, do share your feedback and views on the same, you never know this could lead you to fresh ideas.

Until Next Time Folks!!


(Links and articles)

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(Journals and Papers)

Srivastava, Mini, and Ms Shivangi Yadav. “The Custom of The Custom of Jallikattu in Law and Practice in India: Need For.” Environmental Law and Policy: 51.

Kalaiyarasan, A. “Politics of jallikattu.” Economic & Political Weekly 52.6 (2017): 10–13.


Dsouza, Jana. “Jallikattu: Why Tamilian Bullfighting Is More Important Now Than Ever.” Plan II Honors Theses-Openly Available (2019).



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