‘Occupy Marina Beach’ was about protecting indigenous tradition from the game plan of imposing western ideas for negating whatever that is Bharatiya. Beware of non-Bharatiya forces who look apolitical, actually having definite political agenda, is the only option for us
Finally, Jallikattu is legally protected though an ordinance. Though it is again being challenged in the court of law, a swift action by the Tamil Nadu Government in close coordination with the Centre prevented situation going out of control. Taking a clue from anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare in 2012, many tried to interpret it as ‘Tamil Spring’ or another beginning of anarchic movement. Some even tried to equate it with anti-Hindi movement of 1960s and attempted to give it a secessionist colour. If we go into the deeper analysis of the issue and the agitation that was built around it, we get few clear insights.
Firstly, the way public opinion was built up in favour of the bull taming sport all over the country, it is clear that it was not about just a sport or Tamil pride. Of course, Jallikattu is an integral part of Tamil culture and Pongal celebrations but the outrage against banning the celebration was for indigenous culture and festivities. Similar celebrations are there all over Bharat closely associated with agrarian ecosystem, whether it is Kambala (buffalo race) in Karnataka or bullock-cart competition in other states. Progressive and anti-liberalisation people speak about rural distress but they forget that these traditions along with the traditional handicrafts are equally important in holding the rural economies together. Therefore, ‘Occupy Marina Beach’ was more about reclaiming the Bharatiya thought process, which is live with nature, rather than win against the nature.
On positive side, if the Centre and States work in
tandem to address the public concern then all issues can be solved amicably is another important lesson of this
incident. Instead of pushing ball in each other’s court, State chose to pass the ordinance and send it to the Centre while the Government in Delhi, without wasting any time, cleared it for the Presidential assent. As the issue was pending in the Court, it was legally a delicate issue. Centre without going into contemptuous posturing patiently handled the situation and helped the State to do so.
On a scary side, recently Cauvery water sharing issue and the saddening demise of popular leader J Jayalaithaa has provided enough fodder to destabilise the established norms in Tamil Nadu polity. Now ban on Jallikattu with initiatives from animal rights activists provided golden opportunity to play the regional identity card. Secessionists along with jihadists immediately tried to exploit the situation and reignite the artificial Aryan-Dravidian divide. “Hindia against Tamil Nadu” was the sloganeering by some with malicious intention of cornering the Centre and turning it into anti-Modi government agitation. With spread of social media, new means of mobilisation are very easy to use, so are the options available for rumour mongers. The divisive elements with anti-Bharat ideological designs are all pervasive and they are looking for every opportunity to vitiate the atmosphere.
It was the RSS which stood by the indigenous sport since the discussion started in 2014. The Government also tried to amend the law which was not possible due to judicial intervention. The organisations like PETA that are working for the agenda driven from outside Bharat have always selectively targeted local traditions. Even if there are certain customs that are not in tune with the present age, a social dialogue is necessary and not mere legal provisions. The votaries of animal rights never do that. The success of Jallikattu protest does not mean that we should stand by anything in the name of tradition. We need to be aware of this trend and always have to be on toes to counter such miniscule but effective anarchist groups operating loosely all over the country under different mascots. When Bharat is marching ahead with reinventing the roots, these non-Bharatiya mindsets will try to spoil that ‘Bharat-story’ directly or indirectly guided by the foreign thinking. We need to rise above caste and regional lines and to fight out with apparently apolitical but deeply political, anarchist, and anti-cultural rhetoric.