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More than 2,000 bulls in Tiruchy get trained ahead of Jallikattu
Apart from providing nutritious diet from a young age, the bulls are taught swimming as part of an exercise regime.
With the Pongal festival around the corner, the people in the State are not only gearing up for the harvest festival but also awaiting the biggest game – Jallikattu, the rustic brave sport that is very close to their hearts. Bull owners who take pride in their herd are already preparing their cattle for the special day and have started to train them to make them fit for the event to win the competition andearn them a name amongst other villagers.
For the jallikattu sport, specific breeds of bulls like Kannavaram, Kangayam and Baraguru, that are considered as the owners’ pride, priced at around Rs 3.5 lakh are trained for the sport. Other breeds like Sevalai, Marakkalai, Parattai and Vellayan can cost between Rs 1 lakh and 1.5 lakh. While the organisers prepare for thesport throughout the year, the bull owners train them on regular basis, but when the Pongal season nears, the bulls are trained vigorously.
The jallikattu bulls are fed a nutritious diet from the time they are calves to grow into strong, sturdy beasts. “We train them to swim for exercise. The calves, once they reach adolescence, are taken to small jallikattu events to familiarise themselves with the atmosphere. Specific training is given to Vadam, Manju and Mirattubulls to understand the restraints of the rope,” says Rangasamy, a bull owner from Punganur in Tiruchy.
Rangasamy who owns two Sevalai variety bulls, continues to train his bulls daily, thereby maintaining their body to be sturdy. “He seems to be calm now, but once he is released, then their instinct takes over. To get the bull charged up, we take them to a heap of mud or sand within the field and tie them there. Here the bull ploughs through the mud with itssharp horns. This part of the training is to get it battle-ready to go after a bull-tamer lying prone on the ground,” Rangasamy further said.
“Initially, the bulls are trained to gore the heap of sands to encounter the players. The more ferocious, more the prize value. The bulls are kept tough till the event takes place,” O Kumar (35) of Kallukuzhi who has been rearing jallikattu bulls for over 15 years said.
“We have a Marakkalai (skin resembling the wood) for years and he (the bull) goes fiery when it is in the rings during the event. But at home,before and after the event, he remains calm,” said Sekar, Sengalakudi village, which is on the boarder of Tiruchy and Pudukottai districts.
“There are more than one lakh jallikattu bulls across the State, among them at least 2,000 are found in Tiruchy district alone. This year, the number of bulls have increased since the jallikattu sport was allowed with some restriction,” said T Ondiraj , State secretary of Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Pathukappu Nala Sangam.
Minister’s announcement of ambulance for bulls welcomed
The recent announcement by the Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar who announced to station animal ambulance in the venue of jallikattu sport has been lauded by the bull owners. This would certainly help the animals get treated instantly. “On some occasions, the bulls get injured when they run amok while taming and do not hinder to its owner’s commands because of fear and pain. If such an ambulance is stationed, we take them for on time medication to avert unfortunate death,” said P Senthil Manickam, who owns four bulls including one Kangeyam variety and a Sentharai. He urged that medical experts who are well aware of the animal’s condition be appointed