The state of Tamil Nadu is out on the streets, gathering to protest against the ban on a traditional sport called Jallikattu.  After Pongal, (January 14) the movement to get the SC to overturn their judgement banning the sport had been gaining steam.

 

In the past two days, the crowd swell has been great. Holidays have been declared in many places in the state, schools have been given three days off, trade unions, traders, hoteliers and others in the service sector have announced a dawn-to-dusk bandh in support. Colleges are already shut in the capital.

 

 

Pharmacists, hoteliers, theatres, cinema halls have announced a bandh from 6am- 6pm on January 20. Even doctors at the Madras Medical College will be staging a protest in the name of Jallikattu for an hour in the state.

 

The opposition DMK, the Left and the VCK have planned rail blockade for the day, forcing the Southern Railway to divert several South-bound trains via alternate routes and cancellation and partial cancellation of a few other services.

 

On Thursday (January 19), as an image in The Hindu shows, hundreds of students and youths blocked a Coimbatore-Nagercoil passenger train in Madurai demanding an immediate revocation of the Jallikattu ban. The train that was stopped at around 2:30 pm was halted for more than five hours despite several top revenue and police officials trying to negotiate with the protesters.

 

 

Look at all these instances reported in the various national media. All highlight how the Jallikattu protests brought life in Tamil Nadu to a standstill. Every strata of life has been affected because of this mass outpouring. But the question that lies unanswered is “ Is it all worth it?”

 

TN has justified these protests on the grounds of upholding ‘Tamilan culture, tradition, identity and pride”. Is the state’s pride so brittle that it will break if they do not hold Jallikattu?

 

 

When demonetisation happened, there were protests in the country, highlighting how businesses and life in the country had been jeopardised by the ban. The states and centre had incurred huge losses because of disruption of business, trade and every aspect of normal life. How different is your protest then Tamil Nadu? While schools kids and professionals have nothing much to lose in these unprecedented holidays, think of the others whose life depends on the running of the state machinery. Bravery in the name of tradition is good, but when it  becomes stubbornness and inability to see reason, there will be a problem.  

 


 

Schools and colleges closed  - it is almost time for Board examinations and other important state exams to be held in the country, closure and hampering of exam and school schedule will cause irreparable damage to the future of students.

 

Trains diverted, railway tracks closed, sections of highways closed – hitting the nerve points of the country’s road and rail network does not justify this so-called ‘peaceful agitation’. In one corner the state is calling for #JusticeforJallikattu but what about the injustice caused to the passengers travelling on these routes. Why target them? Surely a skewed perception of justice.

 

 

Tamil Nadu has been declared drought-hit and is not yet out of the woods. There is a major agrarian crisis staring at it, business in the state is still shaky post demonetisation and Jayalalithaa’s death. Can the state afford this shutting down of institutions and other businesses? No.  

 

They may call it ‘sacrifice in the name of Jallikattu and tradition’ but what about these long term damages the state is bringing upon itself? Tomorrow, the state may succeed in overturning the ban, but to what cost? Will this mean all your problems are solved?

 

Clearly the Supreme Court is not a biased judiciary. They have cited justifiable reasons for banning of the sport. While the state has the right to express dissent in any manner possible, has the state thought how it is driving the nail into their own coffin? Pick your issues carefully, today’s protest might backfire in the worst way possible. One can highlight million other reasons your agitation would have helped the country, that is the true Tamizh Veeram, not the one that holds the state at ransom.