Impromptu agitation of the students’ community in Tn not only projected the cultural identity but still enduring as pot-boiling testimony to the rules for the likely revolt against any lingual dominance or denial in educational plateau etc.
Not for Restoration alone Likely to culminate against NEP, NEET & Sanskrit Imposition
Pongal – Secular Cultural Festival
Pongal, a secular harvest festival is being celebrated in Tamil Nadu and by the Tamils, living in various countries. It is being celebrated by all the farming communities beyond the religious barriers. The mid of January coinciding with 1st of Thai (First Tamil month) begins with the commencement of agricultural activities for the current year. It is the celebration after the conclusion of the previous year of agricultural activities. It is because farming is being practised more than as a profession but as a way of living. It is a symbol of social harmony. In agricultural profession livestock is integral starting from ploughing till the harvest of the cultivated crops including on farm and off farm transportation. Pongal festival is celebrated by the toiling population of the land as thanks giving-event for the livestock. Despite being animals, live stocks-cows, bulls, buffalo are reared as part of the family in their farmsteads. As a part of the Pongal celebration the traditional game of bulls, viz. Jallikattu is being played by the youngsters in the villages. Jallikattu is a sport of taming the bulls, symbolising the bravery and valour of the participants. It is one of the cultural identities of the Tamils. In ancient Sangam Tamil literature (400 BCE – 300 CE), in which Jallikattu is mentioned as ‘Earuthazhuvuthal’. In certain parts of Tamil Nadu Jallikattu is termed as ‘Manjuvirattu’. Overall, Jallikattu is the integral event of Pongal festival and is being celebrated by the villagers with joy and happiness. Such an integrated cultural event is banned for the past two years 2015 and 2016 based on the provisions which were inserted later in The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (Central Act 59 of 1960).
Irrelevance of Jallikattu Ban
Prevention of cruelty to any domestic or captured animal was in force from the period of the British rule in India. Based on a number of deficiencies in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890 (Central Act 11 of 1890), by the Committee appointed by the Government of India being pointed out, the present comprehensive Act viz. the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 was legislated. This Act was later amended by Amendment Act 26 of 1982. The Amendment Act favoured the establishment of Animal Welfare Board of India by the Central Government for the purpose of protecting animals from being subject to unnecessary pain or suffering in particular.
As per the provisions of the Act, certain categories of animals can be termed as performing animals by the notification of the Government of India, specifying as animals which shall not be exhibited or trained as performing animals. In 2011, the Government of India through a notification included bulls in the list of performing animals along with bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions. In 2006, the Madras High Court Bench at Madurai, pronounced against conducting Jallikattu and banned it, despite the original petition filed did not mention anything about Jallikattu. In 2009, the Government of Tamil Nadu enacted a law viz. Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act 2009 based on which the taming sport of bulls was regulated. This Act was challenged through a writ petition in Supreme Court of India by Animal Welfare Board of India and other organisations including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) on the ground that bulls were treated with cruelty at the sport. The Supreme Court declared the State Act permitting Jallikattu as constitutionally void, violating Article 254 (1) of the Constitution. The review petition filed on behalf of Government of Tamil Nadu was also dismissed. During the course of the enquiry proceedings of the cases related to Jallikattu, the judges of the Supreme Court had expressed that they would consider review of conducting Jallikattu, if bulls are removed from the list of performing animals.
In January 2016, just before the schedule of conducting Jallikattu, Government of India issued a notification, lifting the ban on Jallikattu by permitting Jallikattu, subject to the observance of certain conditions and regulations. This notification was also challenged by many animal welfare organizations and thereby conducting Jallikattu was stayed. For the past two years – 2015 and 2016, Jallikattu was not conducted in Tamil Nadu, because of the continuing of the stay. For the current year 2017, owing to the non-vacating of the stay, Jallikattu did not see the light of day. Hence students- agitation started impromptu.
Students- Agitation, different from the past!
Agitation to conduct Jallikattu, despite being commenced by students and youth community, public also participated later including ladies, and children irrespective of their religious identities. The agitation is the grievance appeal of suppressing the cultural identity of Tamils in the form of banning Jallikattu. During the past in Tamil Nadu, students-community had launched and participated in many an agitation including the one against the imposition of Hindi over the Tamils in 1965. Many an agitation took place either under external influence or as the follow up action of the agitation, launched by others.
The special feature of the ‘Agitation 2017’ by the youth was its impromptu origin. It cannot happen all of a sudden. The outburst of the youth as agitation was due to the continuous suppression of the culture and welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu. It includes denial of due sharing of Cauvery water, placing restrictions in the form entrance tests for admissions to higher education despite the students securing good marks in the final examination of the pre-requisite courses, closure of the regional units of public sector undertakings and major private sector enterprises in Tamil Nadu depriving the employed as well as employable opportunities of the educated in the State etc.,
The agitation which started as group of youth at Marina beach, Chennai spread like wild fire
Legislation can be enacted by invoking Article 29 (1) of Indian Constitution, saying, “Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”. Jallikattu need not be treated as a sport causing injury
to bulls but it is a taming sport of bulls. It should be treated
as a cultural game, being practised for many centuries and is a distinct cultural feature of the Tamils
throughout Tamil Nadu. The agitation gained momentum with the participation of public, with sizeable numbers of women and children. For the first time, the social media means – mobile phone services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, email etc., have been utilized to mobilize the Youth to launch the agitation and to communicate among themselves during the course of agitation proceedings without being dragged on by distortion of facts and communication gap. The week long agitation did not witness a single incidence of violence creating law and order problem. The solidarity, maintained by the Youth was exemplary. The efforts made by the law and order machinery to arrest their IT, like intra communication modes among the student, by applying jammer were demolished by the Youth with the super IT knowledge they possess. Whatever be the outcome of the agitation, the spirit of oneness to fight against injustice and indifferent negligence by undermining the cultural values of the region has given hope that the younger generation is well equipped to lead the country in future. The Jallikattu agitation has proved not only to the rest of the States in the country but to the whole world the EFFICACY OF THE YOUTH POWER for the RIGHTEOUS CAUSE. The Youth Agitation is a message to the political ruler, that revolt would be impromptu if cultural and economic values of the region are neglected.
Suggestion from the President, Dravidar Kazhagam, a non political, social reform organisation:
Dr. K. Veeramani, the leader of the Tamils gave suggestion to the rulers for legislative measures to overcome the hurdles already existing in conducting Jallikattu. Legislation can be enacted by invoking Article 29 (1) of Indian Constitution, saying,
“Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.”
Jallikattu need not be treated as a sport causing injury to bulls but it is a taming sport of bulls. It should be treated as a cultural game, being practised for many centuries and is a distinct cultural feature of the Tamils.
Besides, the provisions were inserted in PCA Act 1960 to make the bulls in the list of performing animals by the Government of India. Hence any legislation to be enacted by the state legislature must get concurrence from the Government of India. The relevant Act must get the assent from the President of India. The provisions of the legislation, made by the State need not be repugnant with the Act of the Centre.
Enactment of State Act to exempt ‘Jallikattu’
The State Government of Tamil Nadu initiated to promulgate an ordinance by the State Governor which was replaced by a bill on the first day of convening the State Assembly on 25th January 2017 for its due unanimous passing. Later the passed bill was sent through the Central Government to get the assent of the President of India. Legislative clearance has been made for conducting Jallikattu. The Central Government also withdrew its 2016 year notification, thereby the pending litigation against Jallikattu will come to an end.
Had both the Central Government and the State Government of Tamil Nadu acted well in advance, timely Jallikattu would have been held smoothly in 2017. During the earlier years 2015 and 2016, it could have been by all means held. Giving pressure and getting things done favorably cannot be the procedure for the every initiative of the Government. The need and welfare of the people must have been foreseen. However the impromptu agitation, organized by the student is a blessing in disguise by giving a message to the rulers that the youth and public will not remain calm but revolt definitely against the injustice and denial of cultural, educational and econmic rights. The rulers are cautioned in this way!