JALLIKATTU (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Art and Culture)

News-CRUX-10     18th January 2024        

Context: Recently, two individuals, including a minor boy, were tragically gored to death in a jallikattu event.


  • About: The term Jallikattu is derived from the combination of two words - ‘Calli’ (coins) and ‘Kattu’ (tie), signifying a bundle of coins tied to the bull’s horns.
  • Ancient Tradition: Jallikattu, a competitive bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu, boasts a history of 2,000 years. Participants aim to tame a bull for a prize, and failure results in the bull owner claiming the reward.
  • Cattle Breeds for Jallikattu: Kangayam, Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Bargur, and Malai Maadu are among the native cattle breeds specifically raised for Jallikattu, showcasing the diversity in the sport's participants.
  • Historical References to Jallikattu: The origins of Jallikattu can be traced back to a seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, dating between 2,500 BC and 1,800 BC. In ancient times, it was known as Eru Thazuval, meaning "embracing the bull."
  • Jallikattu in Tamil Epics: Jallikattu finds mention in Silappadikaram, one of the great Tamil epics from the Sangam age, further emphasizing its deep-rooted cultural significance.

Controversy over Jallikattu

  • HC Verdict: In 2006, a Madras High Court ruling prohibited the conduct of events such as rekla race and jallikattu, including safety concerns.
  • Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act (2009): The Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act was enacted in 2009 to introduce regulations and safety measures for the conduct of jallikattu.
  • Jallikattu and Mass Agitations in Tamil Nadu: In Tamil Nadu was the Supreme Court's ban on jallikattu and similar sports involving animals, citing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, in the landmark Welfare Board of India vs A. Nagaraja (2014) case.