Tamil Nadu is set to revolutionise the Jallikattu festival, the traditional bull-taming sport, by introducing cricket’s famous Indian Premier League (IPL) like matches at a new state-of-the-art stadium in Madurai’s Alanganallur, which is renowned for this traditional sporting event.
The stadium will be inaugurated by Chief Minister MK Stalin tomorrow. The initiative to have IPL-like league matches aims to give a “boost” to the traditional festival and put it on India’s tourism map.
The new Jallikattu stadium, is spread across 66.8 acres, and has seating capacity of 5,000 and a dedicated museum showcasing the Jallikattu bulls and the significance of the sport.
The new stadium will have emergency response measures such as a hospital for bull tamers and veterinary center for bulls.
The ancient sport of valour has an infamous history of injuring, maiming and even killing hundreds of people including spectators besides acts of cruelty against the animal like intoxication, pulling them by their tail and squeezing lime juice into their eyes.
Meanwhile, the existing Jallikattu venues will continue to host events and the new breed of league matches will be conducted here by the Madurai District Administration and the State Sports department, which is presently under Udhayanidhi Stalin.
The festival has been commercialized with corporate funding for prizes including gold coins, motor bikes and cars. With new plans, this ancient sport could become a contemporary money spinner.
Last week, the Tamil Nadu police filed a case against a YouTuber after he posted a video showing his Jallikattu bull being force fed a rooster. The disturbing video, from Chinnappampatti in Salem district, shows the bull being forced to chew the rooster.
Three men are seen holding the bull to keep it in check while another man first feeds raw meat and then shoves the chicken in the bull’s mouth, shows the 2.48 minute video posted on YouTuber Ragu’s social media accounts.
Animal rights activists have expressed concerns that the new grand form of this sport will only increase cruelty against bulls, amplifying their trauma.