By the horns

You maintain, without the slightest scientific evidence, that cruelty is not a cogent argument to ban jallikattu (“Jallikattu debate: There are good reasons to criticise the sport but animal cruelty is the flimsiest”). I would respectfully disagree. Your conclusion ignores the fact that restraint-induced stress causes immediate and protracted severe mental illness in all mammalian species studied thus far over decades. There is no debate about it. In fact, the mammalian restraint-induced model closely mirrors human mental illness, including depression-related suicide. – Cory Gordon


Animal cruelty is animal cruelty. Even though it is seen as part of Tamil culture, such inhuman things can be discarded from the cultural sphere. There are so many beautiful things in Tamil culture that we as Indians from Andhra Pradesh are also proud of. But anti-animal practices for the pleasure of humans (like cock fights in Andhra Pradesh) should be discarded.

Comparisons to milk revolution or agricultural use of the oxen may have some validity but survival practices cannot be compared to pleasure practices in the name of culture. We strongly support activists of PETA in Tamil Nadu. DMK and AIDMK came into the scene in the name of safeguarding Tamil Nadu’s culture. Sane voices in the state have to pacify this misguided agitation. – Ramesh Babu Ghanta


I am of the opinion that the issue is not jallikattu per se. It is about the deeper insecurities caused by the gradual disregard of our rights and our sentiments by the Modi government, further intensified by the sudden loss of our elected leader and having to be governed by people we did not choose. This was exacerbated by the hardships caused by demonetisation that were legitimised and had to be accepted. This is an outburst that stems from all these deeper emotional insecurities of the grassroots Tamizh people. – Bhargavi Mukund


Celebrity speak

This is a sensitive article (“The TM Krishna column: I am uncomfortable with jallikattu but I am not a votary of bans”). This has become an ego issue. No one has any value for human life or compassion for animals. People derive pleasure from torturing animals and give it a tag of culture and tradition.

Even though we have advanced as a civilisation, we still see primitive minds that cannot to distinguish between traditions that are good and should be passed on to the next generation and those that are cruel and need to be abolished. – Riya


At last, someone is saying that jallikattu is not correct, but then he also goes with the flow.

I have not found any article that gives insight into who and what is behind this mobilisation of people for the torture of animals in the name of culture. Tomorrow, people may ask for Sati to be revived in the name of tradition. – Shiv Khare


I agree with many points TM Krishna has raised, but we have to understand and accept that there are some religious, social and socio-religious practices where emotions overrule logic and reason. People pierce their tongues with small spears while going to temples. Some walk on fire. We have to accept these things and move on. To my knowledge, in jallikattu, hardship is caused more to the bull tamers than to the bulls. – V Vedagiri


Culture clash

Seems like the author was seeking attention, and hence wrote an article highlighting the negative aspects of jallikattu (“I am a Tamilian and I support the Supreme Court’s jallikattu ban”). Well she got the attention but we would have appreciates positive pieces as well.

Greedy humans have developed a massive industry out of rearing animals as food, so whats wrong with this sport?

Humans are the only species that squeeze the last drop of milk from an animal. If the cow just had to feed her calf, she would be happy to do so, but to have to feed the ever-growing population is barbaric. So let’s start by addressing that instead of banning jallikattu.

Will PETA and the Supreme Court stop consumption of the milk and meat of animals across the world? –Sridhar


I cannot believe that people like Rajinikanth and other high-profile Tamilians would be pro cruelty. Why not have a human version of jallikattu, where bulls attempt to overpower men? – Rohni Char


Animal activism is fine but I find it strange that most activists ignore the abuses during animal transporting abuse and the inhumane slaughter of animals which are much bigger issues than jallikattu. Is it just that this issue is more convenient for some? – Harimohan


I am terribly disappointed by our youth. They protest the ban on jallikattu citing “Thamizh culture”. But how many of them actually follow Tamil culture? I recently quarrelled with a group of people protesting the ban. None of the youth drink the traditional tamil koozh or kanchi. They do not wear a dhoti or sari. They don’t even speak Tamil! They are ready to relocate to foreign countries and adopt foreign cutures. So how dare they say they are patrons of Tamil culture?

Tamil Nadu has already lost kavadiyattam, karagaattam, mayilattam, oyilattam, and numerous other folk art forms. No Tamil youth is ready to listen to the nadaswaram or thavil. Then how can they can they call themselves patrons of Tamil culture? – Arun Prakash


I am totally in agreement with the concept of stopping animal cruelty – but that’s not what the issue here is.

I was into a family of farmers. I lived 26 years of life as a farmer. My parents, grandparents and fellow farmers treated our farm animals with respect and care. Tamil Nadu is one of the very few places in the earth that celebrates “Mattu Pongal” to respect the farm animals. A true farmer will never hurt his farm animals as they are part of his or her family. Anyone from a farming background will attest to this.

In Tamil Nadu, breeders rear bulls with the intention of showcasing them at a jallikattu event. Most farmers cannot afford to raise these bulls and are hence reliant on these breeders or on the common temple bull, which is reared by the entire village. The bulls that fare well in the jallikattu arena are in constant demand for servicing cows. So we can think of jallikattu as a marketplace for these bulls.

However, to understand why jallikattu alone can help preserve native cattle, we will have to understand the chronology of events that lead to the sport and events that happen thereafter. Jallikattu is held during Pongal and the strong bulls are identified and mated with cows. After this, the farming season starts. After harvesting is done, this cycle starts again when breeders showcase their bulls in jallikattu events. People make note of the strongest bulls and seek them out later in the sandhai or marketplace.

The bulls used for mating need to be virile and the mating season is typically after Pongal. This is where jallikattu comes into the picture. From the time the Vaadi Vaasal or gate is opened and the bull comes out, till he to reach the other end (if not subdued), the animal experiences a great adrenaline rush which boosts his testosterone levels and also keeps its heart beating fast. This increases the animal’s virility. Can this be done without an activity like jallikattu? Possibly, but then the number of bull fit to mate will decrease significantly.

The ban on such an event will lead to native breeds dying out, which will then force us to rely on artificial insemination – something farmers have always shunned.

Tamil culture has evolved to support every Tamilian in every nook and corner of the Tamil Nadu. It has proven itself over thousands of years. I am supporting jallikattu to protect Tamil culture and Tamil way of life. I believe in our ancestors and the way of life they thought fir us. Let us protect it.

Enact laws to eliminate any perceived animal cruelty, but don’t ban the sport. Jallikattu and Pongal uniquely identify Tamil Nadu and Tamil heritage. Respect it and nurture it. Please don’t destroy it.

If you really want to fight against animal cruelty, redirect your energy against slaughter houses and raise funding to protect uncared-for animals in India. – Jay Muthukamatchi


The Supreme Court can regulate the sport but cannot ban it completely. You are keenly watching a tiny black dot on a sheet. Why can’t you see the large white space around it? Have you seen how breeders and farmers treat the bulls for the remaining 364 days of the year? – Arun Kumar


We need jallikattu. This is our tradition. This will help ensure a good and healthy future generation. Cows and bulls are our god, our family members. – Bhuvaneswari Babu


I totally disagree with Rajeshwari Ganesan’s views. Please do not drag Thiruvalluvar into this. Don’t underestimate and play with the Tamil people’s cultural identity. Let the Vaadi Vaasal open and the oldest sporting and cultural activities continue. – Kumaresan K


Please don’t say that jallikattu is animal cruelty. Have you ever tried raising a bull with love and affection? Or spent more money on raising a bull than on your family? Have you ever even seen jallikattu?

Please don’t show the PETA video which is spreading false lies. Instead, try to find animal cruelty in videos of the Alanganallur jallikattu. We all agree that intoxicating bulls is bad and rules and regulations on that front are welcome, but a blanket ban on jallikattu does not make any sense.

If you think that you have a better way of protecting bulls, then why don’t you give money to farmers to encourage them to rear native breeds?Farmers don’t have the money to rear bulls, but they do revere them.

Bulls are sacred in Tamil Nadu. Why would people behave cruelly with that which they consider sacred? Jallikattu is not a cruel sport. #JusticeForJallikattu – Thiruvalluvar


I support PETA. Ban jallikattu. Animals cannot speak for themselves or express the pain and torture they go through. We can do at least this much as humans. – Binny Nag


Despite being a Tamilian, you have not understood the tradition and purpose of the bull-taming sport. You should have been done your full research before writing an article on this topic. How many bulls are killed during the sport? Can you please give a detailed report on that? This sport, in fact, encourages native breeds. Please be responsible when you comment on sensitive issues. – Senthilkumar Appavoo

Federalism issue

Though his point about letting states have independence in forming their own laws is correct, it cannot be applied indiscriminately. Cruelty to anyone, human or animals, cannot be tolerated in a civilised society.

If jallikattu is allowed to continue today, some other heinous practice may be allowed tomorrow on principle of autonomy to states. Federalism is not a license to continue retrogressive practices. – Meenal Mamdani

Cruel backlash

I am really glad does not allow readers to post comments directly on the website (“Readers’ comments: Jallikattu ban is a conspiracy to eliminate native cattle breeds”). The article written by Rajeshwari Ganesan was a police opinion piece. Not everyone will necessarily share her opinion. These articles are published to understanding the opposing view and open up your mind to another perspective.

But for people to be so mean and call her a “Tamil traitor” and the like is not done. Can we not disagree in a polite and reasonable way instead of through such hateful name-calling and cyber-bullying? Is this not similar to the ridiculous “anti-national” term used whenever there is a voice of dissent?

I am grateful for the different-sided views publishes and I hope it keeps showcasing views from both the sides od the debate, while also ensuring a civilised discourse (unlike other news sites that allow vile comments below its articles). – Jennifer V

Caste question

There is no any point in involving the casteism here, the issue is about a healthy future (“As jallikattu supporters grow more insistent, Dalit voices of protest against bull-taming emerge”).

Agriculture is the soul of India. Destroying nature and replacing it with modern cities is not going to work.

The US wants to establish their milk business in Tamil Nadu and from there spread to all of India. With that, we’re also going to be dependent on them for a host of related products.

Let’s stand on our own and protest against PETA. KFC originated in the US and has faced allegations of cruelty. Why doesn’t PETA ban that first? What about bull-taming in Spain?

This is a democratic country and PETA does not have the right to come here. Dear friends, it’s time to wake up. Please support Tamil Nadu. – Karthika MS


Cricket was considered a gentleman’s sport and was exclusively played by Englishmen and the royalty of our country. After Independence, we won the one day international cricket world cup twice with a team of our country’s men. The women’s team too has made its mark. Our countrymen did not reject the sport citing it as a symbol of imperialism. The same can be applied to any sport. – Karthik


What data do you have to prove that Thevars predominantly conduct jallikattu events? The committee that conducts these events comprises of all castes. Invitation to bull owners are sent from the Grama Sabha committee, not a caste committee. Even certain mosques and church conduct the event.

You also talk about change in farming techniques that should lead to less reliance on cattle. The main purpose of grooming these native breeds for jallikattu is so that they can mate with the village cows and produce healthy indigenous offspring, so it has nothing to do with farming techniques. – Venkat Subramanian

Jurisdiction question

The Supreme Court, it seems, neither understands the fact that it is the interpreter of the Constitution and laws, nor the people for whom these legislation are created (“From Aadhaar to Jallikattu, why is everyone ignoring the Supreme Court?”). The arrogance of judges is on displayed when they announce a ban. As you rightly pointed out, the court does not have the capability to execute decisions for which it has to depend on the democratically elected government.

With regard to jallikattu, most people in Tamil Nadu do not trust the central government or the Supreme Court, which have failed to protect their cultural identity. The people feel cheated by the executive and the judiciary. If this trend continues I am not sure whether people will remain silent. Already, the protests against the jallikattu ban are widespread and cut across religion, caste, region, class or gender. – K Murugesan


This is a well-written piece and makes some strong points, but I have some reservations with some of its arguments. For one, I think that the expansion of its powers does not erode the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and in fact increases it. It has has given a public face to the Apex court as against the “out of bounds” image it had before.
There are also examples of the judicial observations and judgements influencing law – for instance, the Visakha guidelines on women’s safety and the Lodha panel recommendations to the BCCI, where the Apex Court acted tough with the executive.

In a democracy, every public institution is “for the people” and the Supreme Court is no exception. I think it’s the executive that has opted for confrontation rather than collaboration with the judiciary. It’s the brazen attitude of the executive that is leading to this non-compliance. – Zishan Khan


In today’s context, the Supreme Court is justified in functioning like the executive and legislature. To ensure its orders are implemented, it should also punish officials who disobey. The Supreme Court is the last hope of people.

We all know what the legislature and executive are like nowadays. Politicians will never actively work towards policy reform unless the Supreme Court forces them to do so.

If it was not for the Supreme Court, the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha would’ve gone to POSCO. Since Independence, it is always the Supreme Court that has come to the rescue of common citizens against regressive policies or decisions by the government. The Supreme Court’s decision may sometimes hurt us and maybe wrong, but most of the time, it is correct. – Anshuman Palia


Every sensitive Indian citizen will share your concern over the flagrant contempt of the self-seeking polity and the self-centred common people in our country. The root of this deplorable predicament lies in downright disregard for the provisions of the Constitution: everything is governed by caste and sub-sect, religion and blind beliefs and utter disregard for the Hindu principles of tolerance, grace and gratitude.

Politics have degenerated so much as to influence almost all aspects of daily life. It is, thus, not a democracy but a pseudo-mobocracy bordering on autocracy that rules the roost in our country nowadays.

Over the long years past the Independence, education must have elevated the standards of the people mentally and socially; regrettably, however, politicians have proved otherwise in getting elected by unimaginably-foul means. They never abide by their promises, plunder the vast resources of the country and amass wealth to be abused by their worthless relations and supplicants. It is in this predicament that a law-abiding citizen is driven to seek effective remedies from the higher judiciary. Public interest litigation is the only means of doing so. If these courts are insensitive to the clamours of such people, the country will be chaotic beyond control.

For courts to confine themselves to administering justice, the legislature and executive should be cleansed, nay, sanitised of the rot. The electoral process should be overhauled.

To bring about this drastic reform, will require nothing short of a referendum, in which every citizen must take active part. – N Narasimha Moorthy

Test of competence

It’s surprising that the ICSE board was not aware of the election schedule (“ICSE exams to begin on March 10, ISC papers on January 30”). Several lakh students across the country give those exams. With such a lengthy timetable, children are going to lose steam while studying. I can’t believe the exams will go on for almost one and half month. It seems education has least importance in our system. Why can’t polls be scheduled according to national-level examinations? Pathetic. – Pallavi Gupte

Edge of treason

I am happy to see that amid all the noisy arguments and debates, someone has brought out the ethical side of the issue (“Why the switching of Gandhi with Modi as India’s khadi icon is more than just symbolic”). If a doormat with the tricolour is an affront to our feelings, so is trampling upon Gandhi’s iconic image. Our love for the country cannot be confined to the symbols created by hired admen, assassins of our collective memory. Our love is associated with vibrant symbols which we have lived with since our childhood and not with cardboard cut-outs created overnight. These symbols have not only historic significance but they give us our memory and our identity. They have been created through centuries and millennia by our ancestors and the founding fathers of the nation. All acts of barbaric destruction of these symbols, be they be buildings or names of the places or photographic and artistic images, are acts of violence. Or should I say, treason? – Arun

Epic tale

What an incredible article by Ruchika Sharma! And it is bold of to publish this despite today’s fanatical and vociferously protectionist pro-Hindu public discourse. This is the first time that I have read something that is not sycophantic and eulogistic of the epic.
The end of the article is particularly eye-opening, where the attempt at compiling the original text is said to have failed. Thank you for publishing this article. I can now educate my kids and myself about this epic. – Rajratna Jadhav


A well-researched and thought out piece. Commendable! – Naresh Kumar Sharma


May I know the historical and archaeological basis or the source of the facts presented in this article?
For the author, Jagannath of Puri is of a low tradition. What is high tradition according to her? How are these high and low traditions determined? Citing some foreign authors and distorted ideas, the author ignored the body of indigenous research on the Mahabharata. It is my sincere request, please don’t undermine the rich and spiritual heritage of puranic texts. – Santosh


The author’s prejudice is clear from the first word of this long, misguided, western-centric article. Shame on the pseudo-intelligence of such writers who are trying to paint so hard India with the red of communism-based vile propaganda.
Shame on web magazines like for taking advantage of those who do not understand the rich history, culture and value of India. Do not be complacent. Your days are numbered in the misinformation media. – Lavanya Shah

Safety in the skies

Instead of reserving a row for women on flights, let them choose their seat. Also, a female travelling single should be informed of her co-passenger before boarding the flight. – Abhay Vaidya

Taking aim

If you want the soldiers to zip their lips, then the onus to make that happen is on the seniors. We have the situation at hand because the complaint redressal system does not work (“Zip those lips: Soldiers venting frustrations on social media is not a good idea”). So first, fix that Dismiss those seniors – jawans or officers – who are corrupt. Solve the problems, don’t just shoot the messenger, or worse still, tell the messenger he does not have recourse to a just and fair system.

Steps should be taken to create thorough regulatory boards that can act independent of the home minister in creating a more disciplined and less corrupt workforce. – Ravinder


There may exist organisational or departmental channels to address soldiers’ grievances, but there may be some issues regarding their efficacy. For instance, in the lowest rungs may not be well-versed with it. Also,the environment within forces is such that it stifles dissenting voices and doesn’t encourage people to air their grievances, as proved by the incidents of suicide and fratricide. Moreover, most of the rules and and regulations are legacy of British Raj, which were framed keeping in mind colonial empire’s interest. These were not duly revised, to the particular disadvantage of soldiers at the lowest level of hierarchy. – Bijendar

Cash crunch

This is an interesting analysis, without a doubt (“What the increase in tax collections does not tell us about Indian economy post demonetisation”). However, it must emphasised here that there was no indication of any drop in the the tax collection volume with or without the Additional Revenue Mobilisation during November and December, when demonetisation was supposed to create a sinkhole int he economy. This simple fact was not acknowledged in this article, which I think is a major flaw. – Amal Mukhopadhyay

Land grab

The land acquisition situation is deteriorating in Bihar (“In one Bihar village, a snapshot of how corruption is derailing a bid to acquire land for industry”). New legislation allows a perpetual lease agreement. In this, the market rate is not given. They also don’t announce compensation in advance and do it only after registry has been done at the lowest possible rates. – Anuj Pande

Student politics

I was a student leader affiliated to the Students Federation India during my college days in the 1980s (“Assault on Dalit youth in Kerala sparks a debate on the Left’s double standards”). I found SFI to be the only student organisation that never discriminated against minorities or Dalits. Your story is good read for Sanghis and Right-wing readers outside Kerala. Good try. – Varghese

Valley Dangal

What crime was Dangal actor Zaira Wasim apologising for (“Trolling of actress Zaira Wasim reminds young Kashmiris of the limits of their social freedoms”)? Meeting with her state’s chief minister? When did that become something to apologise for? She was just intimidated by certain nefarious elements and apologised for the sake of her safety and that of her family. For god’s sake you bullies, please leave the young lady alone. Zaira, one of the most exhilarating moments of my life has been listening to and seeing on TV 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai addressing the United Nations. May you be as inspired and empowered as her. – Wiserman43


Capital contest

I am really surprised to learn of the extent to which political bosses can go (“Interview: Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary on how he was hounded, humiliated and maligned”). The CBI must have done what it did at someone’s bidding. Rajender Kumar’s conduct does not seem to be reprehensible. – Mohammad Anwar


This interview is very revealing and puts a big question mark on the state of law and order in our country. Even if only 10% of what he said is true, strict action needs to be taken against everyone who was involved in this wrongdoing. Further, this information needs to come out in newspapers and TV news channels, so that the people of our country know what’s actually happening behind the scenes and what those in power are capable of doing when they’re going after their arch rivals. – Vaibhav Makhija