Jallikattu - Important Facts for UPSC

Jallikattu is a sport conducted as a part of Mattu Pongal. The Mattu Pongal is the 3rd day of the four-day-long festival Pongal. It is also known as  Manju Virattu or Eru Thazhuvuthal. ‘Jallikattu’ is evolved from the words ‘Calli’ (coins) and ‘Kattu’ (tie), which denotes a bundle of coins is tied to the bull’s horns. It is important to know relevant facts about Jallikattu for the IAS Exam.

The topic ‘Jallikattu’ is important in relevance to the preparation of Art and Culture for IAS Prelims and Mains (GS 1). A few other similar topics one may read are given below:

  1. Temple Architecture and Structure
  2. Madhubani Painting
  3. Mysore Painting
  4. Mural Painting Traditions
  5. Tribal Paintings of India
  6. Warli Painting
  7. Pithora Painting
  8. Indian Classical Dances
  9. Philosophy in Medieval India

Important Facts about Jallikattu for UPSC

  1. There are references to people enjoying observing and partaking in Jalikattu in Silappatikaram the great epics of Tamil classical period and two other ancient literary works like Malaipadukadaam and Kalithogai.
  2. Jallikattu is an ancient sport. It is referred to belong to Tamil Classical Age (400-100 BC). Also, a cave painting which is said to be 2500 years old depicts a man controlling a bull.
  3. It is referred with other names like:
    • Yeruthazhuvuthal
    • Madu Pidithal
    • Pollerudhu Pidithal
  4. The most popular Jallikattu is the one celebrated at Alanganallur near Madurai.
  5. Supreme Court of India banned Jallikattu in 2014 following the petitions of Animal Welfare Organizations including Federation of India Animal Protection Agencies (FIAPO) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
  6. Tamil Nadu government has passed an amendment to the Act, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 which was approved by the President. The amendment allowed Jallikattu as it is held as a cultural pride of the state. (From the exam point of view, aspirants must understand the topic for critical analysis types of questions.)

For more notes on Art and Culture, visit the linked article

Points in favour of Jallikattu:

  1. Jallikattu is the symbol of the cultural pride of the state as it is an ancient sport aimed to embrace the bull.
  2. The breeds of bulls used in the sport are but not restricted to native breeds like Kangayam and Bangur. These breeds are referred to be the strongest breeds of the bull. With the help of Jallikattu, the breeds are reared more leading to an increase in their otherwise diminishing numbers. (As reported, in 1990 there were around a million of Kangayam bulls. The numbers dropped to 15000 as of 2017.) Hence, the sport of Jallikattu gives a chance to rear the bulls.

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Points against Jallikattu:

  1. The sport is termed as the bull-taming event and in a point of discussion is referred to violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
  2. The bulls may get injured during the sports which might lead to animal welfare issues.
  3. Safeguarding the wildlife and forests, and being compassionate towards living creatures are important aspects of directives principles of state policy (DPSPs) enshrined in Article 51 A of Indian Constitution.
Question on the topic

Consider the following statements

  1. Jallikattu is a sport conducted as a part of Mattu Pongal.
  2. There are references about Jallikattu in Silappatikaram

Select the correct ones.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Jallikattu – UPSC Notes:Download PDF Here

Relevant Links

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-II Strategy, Syllabus & Structure Topic-Wise General Studies Paper – 2 Questions for UPSC Mains
Previous Years Constitution Questions in UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 2 Previous Years Polity Questions in UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 2


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