Jallikattu – Know about Jallikattu

know about jallikattu


Jallikattu is typically practiced in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.


Ancient Tamil Sangams described the practice as Yeru thazhuvuthal (ஏறு தழுவுதல்), literally “bull embracing”. The modern term Jallikattu (ஜல்லிக்கட்டு) or Sallikattu (Tamil: சல்லிக்கட்டு) is derived from salli (coins) and kattu (package), which refers to a prize of coins that are tied to the bull’s horns and that participants attempt to retrieve. Manju virattu (மஞ்சு விரட்டு) literally means “bull chasing”.


Jallikattu has been known to be practiced during the Tamil classical period (400-100 BC). Later, it became a platform for display of bravery and prize money was introduced for participation encouragement. A seal from the Indus Valley Civilization depicting the practice is preserved in the National Museum, New Delhi. A cave painting in white kaolin discovered near Madurai depicting a lone man trying to control a bull is estimated to be about 2,500 years old.

Jallikattu (or Sallikkattu), also known as eru thazhuvuthal and manju virattu, is a traditional spectacle in which a Bos indicus bull, commonly of the Kangayam breed, is released into a crowd of people and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump of the bull with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape. Participants hold the hump for as long as possible, attempting to bring the bull to a stop. In some cases, participants must ride long enough to remove flags on the bull’s horns.

Types of Jallikattu :-

  1. Vadi majuviraṭṭu: This is the most common category of Jallikattu. The bull is released from a closed space (vadi vasal) and the contestants attempt to wrap their arms or hands around the hump of the bull and hold on to it to win the award. Only one person is allowed to attempt at a time. This variant is most common in the districts of Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem.
  1. Vēli viraṭṭu: In this variant, the approach is slightly different as the bull is directly released into open ground. The rules are the same as vadi majuviraṭṭu. This is a popular variant in the districts of Sivagangai and Madurai.
  2. Vaṭam manjuviraṭṭu: In this variant, the bull is tied with a 15 m (49 ft) rope (vatam means “rope” in Tamil). There are no other physical restrictions for the bull and hence it can move freely anywhere. The maximum time period given is 30 minutes. A team of seven to nine members can attempt to seal[clarification needed] the bull.

Rules to be followed in Jallikattu :

There are several commonly known rules to Jallikattu:

  • The bull will be released on the the arena through the vadi vasal, an entry gate.
  • The contestant should only hold the bull by its hump. Holding by the neck, horns or tail results in disqualification.
  • The contestant should hold the bull’s hump for 30 seconds or for 4.6 metres (15 ft), whichever is the longer when the bull attempts to escape.
  • If the bull throws the contestant off before the line or if no-one manages to hold on to the bull, then the bull will be declared victorious.
  • If the contestant manages to hold on to the hump till it crosses the finish line, then the contestant is declared the winner.
  • Only one contestant should hold on to the bull at one time. If more than one contestant holds on to the bull, then there is no winner.
  • No contestant should hit or hurt the bull in any manner.


Ban, protests and authorization

Jallikattu faced its first hurdle in 2004 when PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) came together against it.

On November 27, 2010, the Supreme Court allowed the sport to be played for a period of five months in a year under controlled conditions and in accordance with the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act passed in 2009.

Five years later it was completely banned by a judgment delivered by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court. On May 7, 2014, a two-judge bench comprising of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose banned Jallikattu.

In November, 2016, a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman dismissed the review petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government to lift the ban imposed on Jallikattu in 2014.

In preparation for the 2016 jallikattu season, the Centre reversed its earlier decision and on 7 January 2016 MoE once again removed bulls from the list of banned performing animals.

The Supreme Court issued a stay order on 12 January 2016, effectively banning the sport just five days after the Centre unbanned it. With the police on their side this time, however, jallikattu went ahead anyway, and thousands gathered to watch bull races and the main sport

The 2017 pro-jallikattu protests :-

The protest was primarily coordinated using social media apps.The use of memes has been another feature to spread the message that adds satire and humor to the protests. Various traditional Tamil sports such as Silambattam, stilt performances and street plays are performed to showcase Tamil pride along with speeches to inspire the crowd.

On 16 January 2017, villagers of Alanganallur protested at Alanganallur ‘Vaadi vaasal’-The Arena, the place known for the jallikattu sport – on that date, the sport was also practiced in defiance of the ban.[24] After a day long protest, police arrested the protesters numbering around 200[25] in Madurai. On 17 January 2017, In support of the arrested, Students gathered in Marina Beach.[26] This day incidentally coincided with the birth centenary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G.Ramachadran. The crowds started swelling for the night and few hundred spent their night in beach and the crowds continued to gather strength throughout the next day. The protest erupted around the state including Salem, Coimbatore, Thiruchrapalli, Pudhuchery.

Due to these protests, on 21 January 2017, the Governor of Tamil Nadu issued a new ordinance that authorized the continuation of jallikattu events. On 23 January 2017 the Tamil Nadu legislature passed a bi-partisan bill, with the accession of the Prime Minister, exempting jallikattu from the Prevention of Cruelity to Animals Act (1960).

Thanks and source :- Complied from wikipedia.org.

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