Report by Darshan Maraikayar
The ancient wrestling art of Eruthazhuvuthal (Jallikattu) has been banned once again by the Indian Supreme Court. If you have been following the Aaiyyanist and Dravidian press you would have remembered that the Indian government recently lifted the ban, but now it has been reinstated.
For non Tamils – Jallikattu is a form of bull fighting where thousands of men chase bulls to grab prizes that are tied to their horns. The ‘bullfighters’ hold on to the animals hump for 20 meters or 3 jumps of the bull to win. The bulls are not killed during the game but they can be harmed and as you can imagine they can be extremely distressed by humans trying to ride their back. Eruthazhuvuthal plays on the bulls natural nervousness (as a hunted animal) and places them in terrifying situations for entertainment.
Most Aaiyyanists believe that using animals for sports that they do not understand is a deeply cruel and negative act perpetrated against the Universe. We should not use living beings for sport, unless they consciously wish to be part of it and give their reasoned consent.
The Aaiyyanists are essentially libertarian and allow anyone to follow their own path and traditions – we can neither condemn nor condone. We also think that it is not the role of government to interfere in the daily practices of people, but the welfare of the animals is paramount.
Some Aaiyyanists in different schools partake and are actively involved in forms of Eruthazhuvuthal, whilst others are against it with a deeply held spiritual conviction. We will leave it up to the individual Aaiyyanist to analyse their own ethics and conscience on this matter and trust in Brahman.