#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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Participants stand and react in a ring during the traditional bull taming festival called 'Jallikattu' in Palamedu near Madurai, around 500km south of Chennai, on 15 January, 2013. Photo: STRDEL/AFP

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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Indian youth attempt to catch a bull during a bull-taming festival known as Jallikattu at Palamedu Village near Madurai, some 500 kms south of Chennai, on 16 January, 2011. Photo: STRDEL/AFP

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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Participants attempt to hold down a bull during the traditional bull taming festival called 'Jallikattu' in Palamedu near Madurai, around 500km south of Chennai, on 15 January, 2013.

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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A bull jumps out of the gates, into the crowd of men who attempt to catch and ride the animals 16 January, 2008 in Alanganallur, India. Photo: Palani Mohan/Getty Images

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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Thousands of villagers wait to ride this bull as part of Jallikattu the ancient and bizarre bull-wrestling sport 14 January, 2008 in Palamedu, India. Photo: Palani Mohan/Getty Images

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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Participants in the Jallikattu bull-wrestling festival attempt to catch and ride the animals, elbowing each other aside so they can be the sole rider and claim the prize 16 January, 2008 in Alanganallur, India. Photo: Palani Mohan/Getty Images

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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A bull jumps out of the gates, into the crowd of men who attempt to catch and ride the animals 16 January, 2008 in Alanganallur, India. Photo: Palani Mohan/Getty Images

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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Indian men stand facing their animals as they prepare to participate in the bull taming festival popularly known as 'Jallikkettu' in the village of Alanganallur on 17 January 2004, some 30 kms north-east of the southern Indian city of Madurai. Photo: Dibyanghsu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

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Prizes begin handed out for successful bull-wrestlers at Jallikattu, the ancient and bizarre bull-wrestling sport happens every year in the month of 16 January, 2008 throughout the southern Indian in Alanganallur, India. Photo: Palani Mohan/Getty Images

JALLIKATTU

#Jallikattu: You call this celebration? What bull!

Catch Team @catchnews

Over the past year, cows have hit the headlines, as the Indian right wing has rallied to protect 'Mother Cow'. Bulls, on the other hand, have had no such luck. Especially not in Tamil Nadu.
After being banned last year, Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu's 'bull-fighting' festival is being championed by regional parties. A notification from the Centre allowing the practise has spelt bad news for Tamil Nadu's bulls. Luckily, for animal welfare activists (and the bulls themselves, of course), the Supreme Court (SC) stepped in to save the day.
A stay order from the SC has ensured that Pongal, which is to begin on the 14 January, will be free of the practise of Jallikattu. For good reason too.
While the practise is a deeply entrenched cultural one that stretches back hundreds of years, it's barbarity is hard to question. One might argue that the bulls are not killed as a direct consequence of Jallikattu, but the brutality they are subjected too, cannot be argued.
The bulls are force-fed alcohol to disorient them, physically beaten to make them more aggressive, prodded with sharp objects, their tails wounded and even have chilli powder rubbed in their eyes or on their genitals. That sounds less like a local celebration and more like a particularly intense day at Guantanamo or even Abu Ghraib in its heyday.
The bulls' suffering does not end there. They're then subjected to huge crowds of equally inebriated people who violently force the struggling animals to the ground. That is considered 'victory'. And indeed, it is victory. A victory of blinkered dogma over rationale and of violence over compassion.
Photo editing by Kaushik Ramaswamy'

Text by Ranjan Crasta

Catch Team

Catch Team @catchnews