Saturday, January 16, 2016

If beef can be banned then why not Jallikattu?

Jallikattu is a bull taming sport practiced in some parts of southern Indian state Tamil Nadu for centuries. Recently Indian supreme court banned this sport because of complains about animal cruelty involved in it, animal welfare activists complained that bulls are tortured by using various cruel ways and are forced to participate in this sport. Court took notice of their complaint and banned its practice after looking into all angles of it presented by both the sides. But the problem is this sport has become tradition in those parts of India, many people are emotionally attached to it, so as usual this has become very sensitive and controversial issue. Just like beef ban, which was imposed by various state governments with help of court decisions animal activists were successful in getting a court order to ban this sport. But the problem this time is that both governments (center and state) are not in favor of this ban. In case of beef imposing the ban was a political issue and in this case not imposing the ban is a political issue, in one case governments were in agreement with court decision and in other they don't agree. To bypass this ban, central government of India issued special ordinance which was supported by all political parties of that state. This was the unique scenario where all political rivals who fight with each other even on many issues of national interest came together and supported something. The reason? there are state elections in Tamil Nadu soon and no political party want to create perception that they are against some religious tradition which can cost them significant amount of vote. But now the problem is that court has struck down that ordinance also, so it will be interesting to see what happens next. One interesting thing to note here is that people who supported beef ban citing reasons of animal cruelty and calling cow their mother want to support this sport, and some people who opposed beef ban saying that what they want to eat is their personal choice are supporting this ban on Jallikattu citing reasons of animal cruelty. It is very interesting to see how people switch their sides conveniently without even realizing sharp contradictions in their behavior. Actually one can not equate slaughtering of cows with bulls being tortured for some entertainment sports, in one case animal is killed for food and in other tortured to create some entertainment. But in both cases one can definitely argue that there is element of cruelty involved in it and I think that should be the topic of discussion, are we OK with both of them or we are OK with one but against the other and why?

In both the cases we are discussing here people's emotions are involved, in beef ban case people are sensitive towards cruelty towards one particular animal (cow) and want to ban her slaughter but in Jallikattu's case they want to uphold the tradition and continue that sport without being bothered by animal cruelty aspect involved in it. I personally appreciate sentiments of people who love animals and work towards animal welfare, it is a great cause and there are many groups who are committed working towards this cause. But the truth is animal and human lives are judged differently, humans use animals as objects made for their personal use: we eat their meat, keep them in zoos, attend various animal game and stunt shows, keep them as pets, domesticate them and use them for farming or milk production, we even hunt them during hunting season. So basically we use them for our own personal benefit in whatever way we want. All these activities which I mentioned are legal, cow slaughter might be illegal in many states of India but it is permitted in some states and many countries of the world but human killing is considered as a very serious crime everywhere. We should understand one thing very clearly that as a species we humans value our own lives more compared to any other animal of this planet. Therefore we should not compare humans and animals using the same scale because our laws don't do this and our behavior also doesn't justify this. The problem in these type of cases is that people are not consistent in their views and double standards used to justify one and criticize other exposes hypocrisy of our society.

If beef ban was required to save cows then how can you support eating of meat of any other animal? If beef ban was not for religious purpose but to stop animal cruelty then don't other animals also deserve the same protection?  How it is OK to support any sport where animals are tortured?  If we look at other side, if beef eating is your right to choose your food then why you are against people's right to choose the sport which they want to play? If cow slaughter is OK then what's wrong with bull taming sport? Actually, my personal experience is that people who do such flipflop don't like to face any such uncomfortable questions, Whenever they are confronted with such contradictions in their behavior, they either choose to justify their own hypocritical behavior by using their good oratory skills or get very aggressive to force their point on others. Such issues also expose lame attempts of various political groups to exploit such sensitive issues for their own advantage. It is not fair to expect from courts to pass judgements on every such issue, but unfortunately governments and civil society makes these things so complicated that eventually these issues land on the desks of various courts. Some of them like this one get resolved quickly but many such cases keep on dragging for years as it is very difficult for courts also to pass any judgement on very sensitive issues, Babri mosque demolition case is one such example. 

Actually at some point in our lives we all face where our double standards are exposed, we should learn from such incidents and try to improve our thinking. Such issues expose the hypocrisy of people in our society but somehow they are still not willing to learn any lesson. I am sure soon there will be another sensitive issue and another similar passionate and emotional debate where people will argue based on their emotions or political and religious affiliations rather than rational and logic, another deadlock and then another protest or court case.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

No comments:

Post a Comment