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Monday, 23 January 2017

Lessons from the Jallikattu saga

I once watched a Tamil movie at the insistence of my son. The story line was not really unique: a hooded and masked vigilante fighting to eradicate the evil powers-that-be responsible for trafficking of women, corruption and terror attacks. However, a scene in the climax of the movie stayed with me, because of the hero’s address to all the people assembled to witness a supposed miracle to be performed by him. Of course I don’t remember the words, so I looked it up online….           

For those who don’t get Tamil, a simple translation:

All of us eat to appease our own hunger, sleep when we’re drowsy and laugh to express our own joy. Yet, when we feel anger, we suppress it and keep waiting for someone else to come and express our outrage. Why????

As I listened to RJ Balaji’s speech at Marina Beach during the peaceful, dignified yet spirited protest against the Jallikattu ban, I felt a stirring of hope. That perhaps, here was the answer to that movie hero’s angst. Finally, it seemed like the people had woken up from the slumber of waiting for some vigilante and decided to act in their own interests.

Yesterday, I listened to 'Hip-Hop Tamizha', Adhi, a musician who was one of the well-known faces of the protest, explain why he had backed out of the Jallikattu agitation. As he spoke of the anti-national hue the protest was taking on, the strongest vibe I caught from his video was one of disbelief that this could actually be happening.

Today, we’ve been told that a #Jallikattu bill has been passed unanimously in the TN assembly. Yet, there was a mindless vandalism that surely could not be the handiwork of simply college-going youngsters who formed the majority of the protesters. It appears like a concerted move to hijack this people’s movement and at this moment of truth, it seems uncannily similar to the plotlines of many a potboiler.

As we take stock of things, it is vital we stay alert. More important is to not grow cynical or lose hope. Unfortunately, whether it is TN or any other state, there are multiple issues that continue to sap at our collective resources. 

Which is why, in a way, this peculiar turn of events in the Jallikattu saga may yet prove to be a blessing in disguise. 

Because, it can teach our youngsters one vital lesson – that in actual life, there is no ONE climax scene to put an end to problems. 

Let’s leave the chutzpah-fuelled dialogues for the movies and keep pressing on to raise a voice when confronted by issues. 

For, in the real world, true grit is what will ultimately decide who wins.


  1. Nice article madam, opens one's eyes about how a peaceful protest can be hijacked by unscrupulous and distrutive elements of the society.

    1. Thank you, Sir. That's the real danger that we all need to be wary of.


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