Pongal Holidays No More Compulsory But ‘Restricted’: Ban On Jallikattu Still Stays

Every engineer in Tamil Nadu knows the importance of Pongal. It’s HOLIDAY time. It’s a Tamil harvest festival similar to the Makar Sankranti celebrated in most of India. But the scenario is going to change. The central government changes the status of pongal holidays from ‘compulsory’ to ‘restricted’, which means people might lose the official 3 days off which they earlier used to enjoy.

This year, the main Pongal day falls on January 15 which is a sunday, but a 3 day holiday with some added leaves may lead to a whole week of holidays but this doesn’t seem to be the case this year.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraging him to disavow the boycott Jallikattu in the state by passing a statute to guarantee that the conventional game, which is a piece of Pongal festivities in the state, is permitted.

“Given that Pongal festival, which holds great importance to the people of Tamil Nadu, is less than a week away and Jallikattu is an integral part of the Pongal festivities, and considering the urgency of the issue, Government of India should consider promulgating an ordinance removing the legal impediments, enabling the conduct of Jallikattu during Pongal, 2017,” Panneerselvam wrote in the letter.

Animal activists, the FIAPO (Federation of India Animal Protection Agencies) and PETA India had been protesting against Jallikattu since 2004.

What is Jallikattu ?

Jallikattu, also known as Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju Virattu, is held in Tamil Nadu during the festival of Pongal. The sport, which is an integral part of the festivities in the state, was believed to be a common practice during the classical period (400-100 BC) in Tamil Nadu.

The bulls are well-fed and are bred by the villagers before the event and attended mostly by several temple bulls in the villages. A temple bull is the head of all cattle in a village for whom special rituals are performed on important days.

After the event is over, tamed weak bulls are used for domestic activities and agriculture while the strong ones are used for breeding.