Madurai village turns into an epicentre of Tamil assertion

Villagers were also outraged when the police forcefully held the ropes of the two temple bulls when they were brought before the deities for rituals.

Madurai: Alanganallur, the village near Madurai known was the world over for its jallikattu, turned into an epicentre for Tamil identity and a meeting place for youth from across the state with a clarion call for the conservation of Tamil culture this Pongal.

The local people provided food and overnight shelter to thousands of youths who came from Chennai to converge at Alanganallur to try and ensure the conduct of jallikattu at its most traditional venue.

The growing support for jallikattu among Tamil youth, particularly from urban areas, was on display in Alanganallur as the police had a tough time trying to prevent the hordes of youth from reaching the arena of around 1.5 acres located between Muthalamman and Kali Amman temples.

Jallikattu had been conducted for these two deities for centuries until the apex court banned it in May 2014. The policemen who have been camping in the village for the last few days intensified their actions by trying to stop the villagers from taking the Muniyandi Kovil temple bull around the Kali Amman temple, which is a traditional ritual the village conducts before commencing jallikatttu.

The Vadivasal (the entry point of bulls into the arena) situated near Kali Amman temple was surrounded by a force of over 400 policemen and no one was allowed to go near it. The villagers were also outraged when the police forcefully held the ropes of the two temple bulls when they were brought before the deities for rituals.

The angry youths let loose a bull into the arena from the side and it gave a tough time to the police at least for 15 minutes before it was caught and led away. Three more bulls were also released into village streets.

Though the villagers were depressed over not witnessing their bulls playing majestically in the arena this Pongal too, they were overwhelmed by the support of urban youths who filled the arena carrying posters —‘No Jallikattu No India,” and ‘Safeguard Tamil tradition’.

“These youths are our bulls fighting furiously against the Central government to preserve our Tamil culture,” said 60-year-old Tamilselvi, who was found sitting amid urban youths in the arena raising their voice against PETA.

The synergistic effort of the rural and urban folks at the protest venue gave a new dimension to the fight for Tamil identity. “These subaltern people are the real heroes who are not only preserving this ancient sport, but also the pride of Tamils,” said Pradeep, who came along with a group of students from Chennai.

As the police have seized their vehicles, these students had to walk five kms through single width paths alongside agriculture fields to reach the venue. Due to police high-handedness, thousands of youths also faced a similar fate. “The police can take away our vehicles, but they can’t snatch our love for jallikattu and the people of Alanganallur,” the youths said while dancing with a toy bull in front of the the Kali Amman temple.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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