Jallikattu Protests – Lessons Learnt and the Way Forward

Let’s forget, for a while, the merit of the issue. The protests at Marina tell one single thing – with sufficient motivation, huge numbers can assemble to protest; to protest peacefully with literally no inconvenience to any and that with sufficient motivation, a bill can be passed in a jiffy. Marina Beach in Chennai has seen counts as high as 9 lakh protesting for a single cause but, the traffic is still flowing through, with the protestors themselves regulating the traffic. It’s been four days and there is not a single mishap in that area. Everything is clinically organised there – people are regulating the traffic, are requesting people not to honk and to turn off the vehicle headlights, especially during the night when people are sleeping, they are doing the cleaning bit themselves. Besides this, there is another important things – the ease with which film fraternity becomes a part of day to day life and the abhorrence of political parties. Well, everything has to have a reason.
Some natural calamity or the other happens in Chennai every year. The speed with which Chennai takes a hit, and it being the capital city and the centre for Tamil film industry, everyone will rush in for aid. And that includes people from all walks of life – film industry, social service and all. There are only three film industries of note in India – Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. While Hindi is famous for people in ivory towers and nothing happens in Hyderabad, Chennai plays a special role here.
This is probably the first protest anywhere in the world in the digital age where the movement is spearheaded by the educateds and the intelligentsia. Not once, we have seen mass protests in Chennai IT belt. But on the D-day, we saw more than 30000 people on the roads in that area. Being the tax payers and constituting India’s core educated working force, they tend not to create ruckus on roads simply because they know that it’s their tax money which gets wasted and because their jobs are on stake if something happens. The other major group is the students, whose future will be held in ransom. Will they risk to create a riot on roads? And seeing that no protest in Chennai turned violent, will anyone in the state dare to breach the discipline? And with people under such control, will the government force their hand?

marina_protest-eps

Probably one of the most evocative photos of the year

The biggest lesson from this protest is, if the motivation is sufficient, the governments can pass an ordnance in one single day.
1. The Chief Minister went to Delhi to speak with the Prime Minister.
2. The Prime Minister says I can’t involve citing that the case is subjudice.
3. Within hours, the Attorney General tells what to do so that an ordnance can be passed.
4. The ordnance is written, it’s passed by Culture, Law and Home Ministries by the end of the day. Since Home Ministry passed it, there is no need for the President to give his approval.
5. Next day, the state governor approved it.
6. In the meanwhile, Centre requested the Supreme Court to postpone the judgement by a week.
From the time the Attorney General spoke and till the time the state Governor approved it, it took may be 26 hours. And, I don’t see any difference between passing an ordnance and passing a law.
If this is the speed with which a law can be passed, why are we stuck in red tape? Is it just the correct motivation or moving the correct levers?
Well, this is the legal situation we are in, now –
1. An ordnance is passed, meaning it can live only for six months. What happens after six months?
2. State has promised to pass a bill over this soon. Note the word soon. When is that soon?
3. Supreme Court is asked to delay the judgement by a week. In the meanwhile, the state government will file a caveat. What’s going to happen when someone takes up the ordnance as a contempt of court? And if court rules against the ordnance? We are back to ground zero again.
The people protesting are questioning this now, and are not ready to call off the protest till they get a final answer. The question, then is this. You have made the government bend to your will. Do you seriously think the government can dare to act otherwise? Call off the protest and wait to see what the government will do. By doing that, you are respecting your government and are telling it that we can resume it any day if you renege your promises. By doing that, you will have the respect of the people by ending the protest at the right time. We want this threat of protest to hang on to the government, we don’t want this to be a one time show. And don’t forget the vested interests – this is clear in the tweets from today morning. It’s up to the people protesting to think about it now. We are just outside supporters trying to do whatever we can to highlight the cause.

Jallikattu Ban Protests – The Human Sea at Marina

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The question is simple. There are a few articles in the Indian Constitution. With regard to Jallikattu, I will categorize them into two groups, the first group supporting it, the next group opposing it.

Group 1. It says, because Jallikattu is a tradition linked with religion and which had royal mandate in the past, it can’t be deemed illegal.
Article 51A(f) – to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture
Article 29(1) – Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same
Article 25 – Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion
(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.
(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law—
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;
(b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
Article 13(3) – In this article, unless the context otherwise requires law includes any Ordinance, order, bye law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usages having in the territory of India the force of law; laws in force includes laws passed or made by Legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India before the commencement of this Constitution and not previously repealed, notwithstanding that any such law or any part thereof may not be then in operation either at all or in particular areas

Group 2. This group asks us to show compassion to all living, and making state laws illegal, which contravene central legislations. Note that Jallikattu act was declared as in contravention of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Article 51A(g) – to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
Article 254(1) – (1) If any provision of a law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament which Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of an existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List, then, subject to the provisions of clause
( 2 ), the law made by Parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void
Article 21 – Protection of life and personal liberty No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

Added to this, there is this Congress mischief of banning bulls in performances.

If, two sets of articles in Constitution completely contravene each other, which one will take precedence? Who will decide that?

Now, look at what’s happening in Tamil Nadu today. The whole state is up in protest. This is the first time I have seen people coming out in numbers in the IT corridor. I myself have seen more than a thousand at a single protest site and there are at least 4-5 major protest sites. It’s not that these people are vagabonds trying to hog some limelight. They are college going students and job holders who have got very less time to spare. Estimates are that there are above 60000 people on the Marina beach. Government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges tomorrow.

If the state is up in arms in such a way, it simply means the something went wrong. Why are the people of the opinion that the courts erred?

The argument put forward by PETA is,

Jallikattu exploits bulls’ natural nervousness as prey animals by deliberately placing them in a terrifying situation in which they are forced to run away from those they perceive as predators. As PETA India has documented in Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)–authorised inspections, the bulls become so frightened by the mob of men who participate that they slip, fall, run into barriers and traffic – and even jump off cliffs in their desperate attempts to escape – frequently leading to broken bones or death. 

As can be seen in the documentation, jallikattu participants purposely disorient the bulls by forcing them to consume alcohol; twist and bite their tails; stab and jab them with sickles, spears, knives and sticks; cause them intense pain by yanking their nose ropes; and punch them, jump on them and drag them to the ground. 

PETA India has also documented that during races, bulls run because people hurt them. They’re hit with everything from bare hands to nail-studded sticks, and their tailbones are broken at each joint. This is as painful to the bulls as it would be to us if someone were to break our fingers joint by joint. 

In bullfights, the round ends when one of the frightened and injured bulls manages to flee – or is killed. 

Participants and spectators are also at risk. From 2010 to 2014, media outlets reported that there were some 1,100 human injuries and 17 deaths caused by jallikattu-style events, including the death of a child. The actual number is probably higher since many injuries likely weren’t reported in the news.

If this is not true and exaggerated, where are the counter arguments? Were they forceful enough to put forward their view? Or it is just a whimper as a formality? Now the question is this. Jallikattu is a traditional event. If there are some random and unplanned mishaps in it’s execution, do you plan to regulate it? It looks like Tamil Nadu government formulated some rules to regularize it, including health checks for both the contestants and the bulls, number of participants against a bull. PETA argued, people are not following the rules. Let’s say, if people are not following road rules, will you ban the roads? Or will you enforce a regulation? That is where the crux of the argument lies. Based on some random accidents, you cannot ban a sport. You will have to regulate it and make it workable. There are some arguments over selective breeding(only the bulls which stand untamed after the bout are considered for breeding increasing the vitality of the race) and the arguments over milk(casein argument) and the likes.

Greenpeace is charged with denting India’s development in the name of disturbing ecological balance(their success rate in India vis-a-vis the globe is an indication of that). Caesin argument over PETA is also of the same league. Is there any truth in that? If yes, what are we going to do?

The situation, as it stands today, is thus. There is a Supreme Court judgement which people are not happy with. People are not happy with the government’s efforts in this regards. But, fortunately, the anger is against PETA, which people feel, manipulated the court to give such a judgement. Something needs to be done, and done fast to assuage the public anger. The courts and the governments should command respect and authority from the people. They cannot be slighted and that’s for India’s good. It’s upto them to decide what to do.

PS: An interesting discussion over PETA’s arguments.

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Nasik Prasasti of Gautami Balasri

Nasik Inscription of Gautami Balasri, the mother of Gautamiputra(obvious, right?) Satakarni) is such a famous inscription, known by it’s famous name Nasik Prasasti is one of the most important ones over Satavahana history. Well, everyone knows the name and none knows what it contains, especially in these days of euphoria of the Telugu movie over the Emperor. Ironically, it’s not even available that easily. The inscription is located in Cave 3 of Pandulena Cave Complex commissioned by Gautami Balasri. This is an inscription of propaganda with some serious information over the empire – the extent of his empire, his religion being Hindu and the most important, exterminator of the race of Khagarata, assumed to be Kshaharata(Western Khsatraps). Well, the other line, the Kardamakas took their place almost immediately making his conquests not so permanent. People won’t be happy at this negative note, but, well, the inscription below. The inscription is by comparing wikipedia with an entry in a historic book and let’s hope it’s the correct one.

nasik

This cave temple, a benefaction, the greatness of which is not excelled by the best of Vimanas, is caused to be constructed on the summit of Trirasmi, which is like the summit of (??) on the 13th thirteenth day, in the 2nd second fortnight of Grishma, in the year 19 nineteen of the King Sri Pudumayi, the son of Vasishthi, by the Great Queen Gautami, the presiding genius of power, taking delight in veracity, charity, forbearance, and abstinence from killing, devoted to religious austerities, self-restraint, vows and fasts, and acting in every way as befits the title of daughter of royal sages and the mother of Satakarni Gautamiputra, the King of Kings, whose might is equal to that of the mountains Himalaya, Meru and Mandara; who is King of Asika, Asmaka, Mudhaka, Surashtra, Kukura, Aparanta, Anupa, Vidarbha, Akara, and Avanti, and lord of the mountains Vindhyavat, Pariyatra, Sahya, Krishnagiri, Malaya, Mahendra, Sreshthagiri and Chakora; whose orders are obeyed by the circle of all kings, whose pure face resembles the lotus blown open by the rays of the sun, whose beasts of burden have drunk the waters of the three seas, whose look is as graceful and lovely as the full disk of the moon, whose gait is as pleasing as that of an excellent elephant, whose arm is as stout, rounded, massive, long and beautiful as the body of the lord of serpents, whose fearless hand is wetted by the water poured in granting asylums, who serves his living mother, who has well arranged the times and places proper for the triad, whose happiness and misery are the same as, and not different from those of his citizens, who has quelled the boast and pride of Kshatriyas, who is the destroyer of the Sakas, Yavanas and Palhavas, who spends the revenue got from taxes levied only according to the law, who does not like to destroy life even in the case of enemies who have given offence, who has increased the families of the best of Brahmans, who exterminated the race of Khagarata, who has established the glory of the family of Satavahana, whose feet are adored by the whole circle of kings, who has stemmed the confusion of the four castes, who has conquered the host of his enemies in innumerable battles, whose great capital is unapproachable to his enemies and has its victorious flag unconquered, to whom the great title of king has descended from a series of ancestors, who is the abode of learning, the support of good men, the home of glory, the source of good manners, the only skilful person, the only archer, the only brave man, the only supporter of Brahmans, whose exploits rival those of Rama, Kesava, Arjuna and Bhimasena; who holds festive meetings on the occasion of the summer solstice, whose prowess is equal to that of Nabhaga, Nahusha, Janamejaya, Sagara, Tayati, Rama and Ambarisha; who conquered the host of his enemies in the brunt of battle in a curious and wonderful manner in virtue of his innumerable worships and observances, and by means of rites concerning the wind, Garuda, Siddhas, Yakshas, Rakshasas, Vidyadharas, ghosts, Gandharvas, Charanas, the moon, the sun, the constellations and planets; who erects his neck high in the sky like mountains and trees and who has brought prosperity to his race. The great Queen, the mother of the Great King and the grandmother of the Great King, gives this cave to the congregation, the host of mendicants of the Bhadrayaniya school. The Lord of (??)patha, desirous to please and to serve the venerable lady, the great Queen, grants a village on the south-western side of the Trirasmi mount for the sake of the Chaityas in the cave temple, in order thus to prepare a bridge for the fame and religious desert of her father and husband

Poking at Aryan Invasion Theory – Two Inconsistencies

The standard argument put forward is that the so-called Aryans, some barbarians, raided India and burnt the Indus Valley Civilization to ground and took their place. They created an artificial language, a proof of which is not found even after hundred years, they  selectively picked and interpreted sections from the Vedas to fit their definition. Well, there are some which question what they are saying. If the Aryans were outsiders, they won’t talk about praying Saraswati River to see that they never leave it’s banks.

Rig Veda 6.61

This hymn praises Saraswati. It clearly tells the river coming out of the hills, it’s might and it’s reference to the seven rivers(seven sisters). Specifically calling out this river indicates this is either the mightiest or the most important. And look at this section at the end

juṣasva naḥ sakhyā veśyā ca mā tvat kṣetrāṇyaraṇāni ghanma ||

Gladly accept our friendship and obedience: let us not go from thee to distant countries.

This tells, we are here, don’t let us migrate from here(may be an allusion to the river shrinking). If they know Saraswati as a mighty river in conjunction with seven other rivers(Indus, Sutlej, Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, Beas and Yamuna?), they for sure are in this area long before the river dried up, which is well before Indus Valley Civilization turned extinct.

Baudhanya Srauta Sutra – 18.44

This talks about the children of Urvasi and Pururavas. Urvasi, after having children, threw them away. The king Pururavas questioned Urvasi one day. Note that it’s very similar to the birth of Bhishma in Mahabharata. Below is the section which talks about what happened after that.

sāyuṃ cāmāvasuṃ ca janayāṃ cakāra
sā hovācemau bibʰr̥temau sarvam āyur eṣyata iti
prāṅāyuḥ pravavrāja
tasyaite kurupañcālāḥ kāśividehā iti
etadāyavaṃ pravrājam pratyaṅ amāvasus tasyaite gandʰāraya sparśavo ‘rāṭṭā iti tad āmāvasavam

She generated two sons-Ayu and Amavasu. She said, “If you rear them; they shall live the full life.” Ayu moved towards the east. Kuru-Panchala and Kasi-Videha were his regions. This is the realm of Ayu. Amavasu proceeded towards the west. The Gandharis, Sparsus and Arattas were his regions. This is the realm of Amavasu.

One son went East and the other went West. Let’s forget the further ones like Aratta(Sumer) or Kasi. Kuru is Delhi area and Gandhara is Kandahar area. If Kandahar is West and Delhi is East, we can easily box the are a where Pururavas ruled and surely, it’s not Helsinki or Berlin as what the Europeans dreamt. Well, it can be if they are capable of identifying the same place names in that area.