The great game in Jallikattu

Tamil Nadu is a major battleground for the Church where it is has been able to establish deep institutional control. The battle for Jallikattu has to be seen in that light.

Some months ago, I had written about Project Thessalonica, an evangelical project that systematically aims to attack Hindu festivals and institutions.  Tamil Nadu is a major battleground for the Church where it is has been able to establish deep institutional control. The battle for Jallikattu has to be seen in that light.

What is Project Thessalonica?

Project Thessalonica aims to stop or limit Hindu activity by converting people, who form the pillars of Hindu culture, festivals, traditions and activity…They are making environmental groups raise the voice so that Ganesh processions, Kumbh Melas and Jagannath Rath Yatras are limited…”[1]

Native festivals are part of a social ecosystem that binds people to native traditions. This is one reason native festivals have always been attacked as part of establishing Christian dominance.  Let us look briefly at the timeline for the Jallikattu ban.

In 2006, a judge in the Madras High Court suo moto banned Jallikattu, even though she was hearing an entirely different case and no one had petitioned against the sport.

As, The Hindu reported, based on the lawyer Shaji Chellan’s interview [2]:

“Pointing out that he had actually filed a writ petition seeking permission for rekla (bullock cart) race at Thaniankootam in Ramanathapuram district, the lawyer claims that Justice R. Banumathi (now a Supreme Court judge) expanded the scope of the case on her own and banned rekla race, oxen race and jallikattu.

‘…High Court had already allowed similar writ petitions and granted permission for rekla race in other districts. To my rude shock, Ms. Justice Banumathi took a differing view and questioned how could such races be conducted against the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,’ he recalls.”

Not only did the Judge on her own add Jallikattu to the case, she also overturned the precedence of earlier judgments to ban multiple festivals in one go. The judgment itself was passed, without any notice, and without allowing anyone in favor of Jallikattu to plead.

“Mr. Chellan says the judgment was passed immediately after lunch break on the day of admission itself without notice being issued to any party.”

Who was this judge, and how did she manufacture a judgment out of thin air? The Judge is Justice R Bhanumati, and according to an article in VigilOnline, she is a Christian.[3] However, that does not automatically imply any kind of bias, unless such bias is evident in her work.  Apart from unilaterally banning Jallikattu, without any petition to do so, Justice Bhanumati appears to have passed harsh judgements on other Hindu matters as well.

Justice Bhanumati ruled against the right of  Podhu Dikshidhars, traditional Hindu priests at the fifth-century Natarajar Temple at Chidambaram to manage their own affairs.

“In February 2010, she justified the government takeover of the administration of the famous fifth-century Natarajar temple in Chidambaram saying, ‘Administration of temple is purely secular and the state can intervene and regulate the administration if the secular activities of the institution are mismanaged.’ The judgment, however, was overturned by the Supreme Court earlier this year.”[4]

The Supreme Court found reason to overturn her judgment in the Natrajar temple case. Another exceedingly harsh judgment was passed by Justice Bhanumati against a Hindu Sadhu,

“Making it clear that he would not be eligible for any remission or early release, she said in the judgment that he would serve his second life term after completion of the first life sentence. The order was meant to keep the godman in jail forever. He died in jail in February 2011.”

In yet another case, Justice Bhanumati ruled against grandparents, who sought custody of a child, who was allegedly being converted into Christianity by the other grandparents, when her Hindu parents died.[5]

Without trying to impugn on the motives and judgment of Justice Bhanumati, there is at least prime facie evidence that her extraordinary intervention to ban Jallikattu, without any petition, may be part of an intolerance towards Hindu festivals and institutions, reflected in Project Thessalonica.

While a regulation was passed by the TN government to circumvent the Madras High Court ban in 2009, the Congress Party’s role in this has been equally dubious.  In 2011, Congress’ Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, banned the use of bulls in sports, with an eye to ban Jallikattu.

“Chairperson, Humane Society International, Nandita Krishna said that by its historic verdict, the Supreme Court has vindicated Ramesh’s position and upheld the ban. ‘I must particularly mention and thank Ramesh who, as Minister for Environment and Forests, banned the use of bulls as performing animals in 2011’.[6]

While the UPA government was still in power, the Supreme Court, in its subsequent order in 2014 banned Jallikattu altogether[7].

Waking up late, it was not until January 2016 that the BJP government was able to pass a notification reversing the earlier one from 2011, promulgated by Jairam Ramesh of the Congress, and allowing Jallikattu to take place. However the Supreme Court, despite a heavy case backlog of nearly 50,000 pending cases, over a thousand of which are pending for over 10 years[8], decided that it must urgently protect bulls from their owners and stayed the regulation.

In May 2016, the Congress Party, in its manifesto in Tamil Nadu, perhaps with an eye on evangelical support, specifically included upholding the ban on Jallikattu.[9]

The Congress which is criticising the Narendra Modi Government for the ban on Jallikattu, had in its manifesto for the Tamil Nadu Assembly Election in May 2016 had declared that it would ban the Jallikattu. “The party supports the ban on Jallikattu,” said the Congress manifesto.

“Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2016: Congress releases manifesto, promises ban on Jallikattu”, the dailies had carried banner headlined reports the day after the manifesto was released by Mukul Wasnik, AICC general secretary.

Former PM Manmohan Singh, in a letter to NG Jayasimha, managing director, Humane Society International, a NGO based in Secunderabad had said that he was for banning the bull fight. “The Humane Society Internationale India has a worthy objective and certainly we have to work to discourage bullfights which provide a cruel form of entertainment. I wish you all success in achieving your objective,” said Manmohan Singh in his letter dated December 15, 2015.

Note that Human Society International is another foreign-funded NGO, just at PETA, both of which were major advocates for the ban.

The case against Jallikattu was pleaded by Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, who called the sport “wanton torture[10]” leading the Supreme Court to reinstate the ban in July 2016.

Other questions that arise

Apart from the role of the Congress Party, the part played by the Courts and the nexus between the Courts and foreign-funded NGOs also comes under scrutiny. The Supreme Court judge, KS Radhakarishnan received the PETA man of the year award for his 2014 judgment banning Jallikattu.

The language used in the judgment is also instructive[11]: “international community should hang their head in shame, for not recognizing their rights all these ages, a species which served the humanity from the time of Adam and Eve.” 

First, we should be clear that the Supreme Court is a colonial institution. While English Common Law is based on centuries of English traditions, the Indian Constitution and Laws have little or no relation with Indian traditions. Indeed they are antithetical to these. The Supreme Court operates only in English, a grave injustice in a land where less than 10% people know English with any degree of proficiency. It also looks upon the Indian tradition with colonized eyes. As such it is easy prey for the “rights” discourse pushed by foreign-funded NGOs.

Second, it is important to understand why attacking Hindu festivals and traditions is important to the Conversion War. Unlike Book religions, which coalesce around Church or Mosque, driven by monotheistic zeal of insider and outsider, native traditions have no such glue. The glue that there is, is present in festival and ritual, and the same festival will have diverse expressions throughout India. Where it is Pongal in one, it is Lodhi in another and Makar Sankranti in a third area. Attacking these festivals is an attempt to cut these bonds; a rootless people are a much easier target for the conversion war.

Third, Jallikattu is not just a sport, it is an ecosystem that sustain indigenous bovine breeds and values male calves that may otherwise be slaughtered. The fight against Jallikattu has a veneer of animal rights, but the reality is the ban will create slaughter and extinction. This is a result of the lopsided ideological “rights” discourse that the West generates, quite different from the natural harmonious native balance that it seeks to destroy. There is a good thread on this here.

As far as PETA goes, its endorsement of the veal-eating Pope Francis as “Man of the Year” should be enough.

Acknowledgments. Thanks to @a_r_j_u_n‬ and @vivekbabaji ‬ for links on Twitter and an unattributed picture with a timeline sketch.


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Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness,suitability,or validity of any information in this article.
Sankrant Sanu is an entrepreneur, author and researcher based in Seattle and Gurgaon. His essays in the book “Invading the Sacred” contested Western academic writing on Hinduism. He is a graduate of IIT Kanpur and the University of Texas and holds six technology patents. His latest book is “The English Medium Myth.” He blogs at .
  • vidyanand Shetty

    understand that you are being targeted for your writing.. we are with you and we will fight it in and out of judiciary

  • vidyanand Shetty

    hats off to you for this article..

  • Arun

    PETA is an extremist organization. Taking them serious about animal rights is like taking the Taliban or Lashkar-e-Taiba seriously about minority rights. Indians who fall into PETA’s spell are, plain and simple, idiots.

    Here is an animal lover & animal rights activist in the USA explaining (please read the whole article, not just the excerpts below, to get a sense of the author):

    e.g., quoting from the above:

    {Lisa Lange, a senior vp at PETA} went on to urge me to never use any animals
    in movies or television again. When PETA means “any,” it means no cats
    or dogs. Zero animals, ever. That is its position.

    PETA’s position is obviously extreme and one that would never yield
    results. But that has been its metier for many years. For example, in
    2008, PETA sent a letter to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream suggesting that
    it stop using cow’s milk to make its product and instead use human
    breast milk. It has protested various video game makers for cruelty
    toward digital animals in their video games.

    More troubling, PETA has been against the growing “no-kill” movement to
    spare the lives of unwanted pets in shelters by advocating for and
    facilitating pet adoption. No-kill has vastly reduced the number of
    euthanized animals in cities around the country. Conversely, according
    to The Washington Post, at a shelter in
    Virginia, owned by PETA, the euthanasia rate was 80 percent and in some
    years the rate has been as high as 90 percent (the rate in Los Angeles
    city shelters, thanks in large part to The Best Friends Animal Society’s
    “No Kill LA” program, has dropped by 66 percent to about 16 percent).
    That Post article contained a quote from another senior vp of PETA, who explained that “there are many fates worse than euthanasia.”

  • rsb

    Cheap attempt to target another community. Bakhtspeak from big brother to divert attention from recent failures.

  • Shubhangi Raykar

    A very enlightening article. The Christian menace is real and strong in Southern states, Kerala is already a gone case Andhra and Tamilnadu are on the way. Karnataka is the next. Has this been on the rise with the blessings of the Gandhi dynasty at the center? Modi govt has to protect Hindu traditions.

  • IndiannotAmused

    The Christian church is relentless in its attack on Tamil people- both in India and in Sri Lanka. The Christian church hijacked the LTTE and the Eelam movement through planted stooges in Tamil as well as Simhali political as well as military leadership in Sri Lanka. Something similar was attempted in Tamil Nadu-Indian union,through the likes of the Son-of-a thousand-bitches Periyar and his ilk. The Sri Lanka church bid has been contained. The Tamil Nadu- India bid will also be defeated. Thanks Sankrant Sanu and IndiaFacts for the piece.

  • The nexus of the Dravidian parities with the Church is well documented in contemporary works, including “Breaking India”. First hand, I have witnessed the transformation on Tamil Nadu into a Christian state with Christian actors at all levels of administration, public outreach, media, and private enterprise. This is a phenomenon that has accelerated greatly over the last 15 years. Sankrant Sanu documents several facts of theological ruling by just one Christian Judge. Can you imagine the impact when multiplied by lakhs of theologically-driven Christian activists? Karnataka is a shining example of accelerating Christianization over the past 15 years. The character of the state has been pervasively changed by the Christian UPA government led by stooge, Siddaramiah, whose brilliants acts of Christian piety include facilitating chicanery expert Benny Hinn’s visit to Bangalore, and the selective banning of Hindu practices as superstitions, inclusion of Christians as OBC for Hindu-taxpayer-paid handouts, spending Hindu-taxpayer money on Churches (, Hindu taxpayer handouts to Christians ( Karnataka has shown how Congress cultivates Christianity as a vote-bank, thereby tapping into powerful foreign church money as a means to achieve political power. As I have written often in the past, this foreign religion should be brought ruthlessly to heel by the central institution of a new Church of India, and making every church in India to be under this administrative body, run by a secular administration. The writing is very clear on the wall – if the Modi/BJP govt does not urgently institute reforms (in addition to the demonetization that has hit missionary activities) that target the Christianization of Indian society, we are doomed to become a third-class vassal state of the West, supplying cheap Christian labor of slaves, priests, nuns and nurses, and a pliable market for Western goods and pop consumerism.

    • IndiannotAmused


      “The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others. The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc. At a conservative estimate, these amount to more than 500 million dollars in the U.S.A. alone.
      … In a statement published in connection with a bond prospectus, the Boston archdiocese listed its assets at Six Hundred and Thirty-five Million ($635,891,004), which is 9.9 times its liabilities. This leaves a net worth of Five Hundred and Seventy-one million dollars ($571,704,953). It is not difficult to discover the truly astonishing wealth of the church, once we add the riches of the twenty-eight archdioceses and 122 dioceses of the U.S.A., some of which are even wealthier than that of Boston.
      … Some idea of the real estate and other forms of wealth controlled by the Catholic church may be gathered by the remark of a member of the New York Catholic Conference, namely ‘that his church probably ranks second only to the United States Government in total annual purchase.’ Another statement, made by a nationally syndicated Catholic priest, perhaps is even more telling. ‘The Catholic church,’ he said, ‘must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighborhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government.
      … The Catholic church, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The Vatican, independently of each successive pope, has been increasingly orientated towards the U.S. The Wall Street Journal said that the Vatican’s financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time.
      … The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment.
      … The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassment of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century. No one can realistically assess how much he is worth in terms of billions of dollars.
      …The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations… The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others.”

  • M. Kapil Aravind

    Justice Bhanumathi was a Hindu who became a pentecost christian. You can imagine how prejudiced a new convert will be.

  • Ratul Nadar

    This article is so misleading and fake. The writer has no understanding of ground realities and spins webs of ridiculous stories to advance his silly agenda.

    How are these even facts? Please do your research Sanu. Real research please.

    For the real story please hear this video online. You will need to know Tamil to understand it though!

  • Prasad

    Thanks very much Sankrant !

  • R. Singh

    To the author .:

    How on earth is torturing animals dharmic and enlightened ?

    • Torture is your spin. The bulls are raised lovingly and it is a feat of strength like the American Rodeo. It is an agrarian festivals, people have close relationship with the animals. Unlike bullfighting, there is no intent to kill the bull. Hundreds of thousands of bulls are killed in bullfighting. Here, any injury is accidental, as in any sport.

      The ecosystem makes male calves valuable. They would otherwise be slaughtered. Is that more “dharmic”?

      • R. Singh

        Your’s is the spin.

        How does frightening and scaring the sh** out out of helpless beings,and torturing them lead you to the dharmic goal of enlightenment.?

        A bit like the Muslims, lovingly raising the lambs and goat kids for Bakra Id…

        Your spin is an Abrahamic spin – No difference

        • Rishikesh Shenoy

          Ever seen a true Jallikattu live ?? not on the videos. Do you know what the rules are ? ? Dont just talk nonsense.

        • rayapfr

          Hi Sankrant Sanu,

          Private interest on baning Jallikattu is driven by brahminist agenda! Check out the links in the attached image.

          I hope you known Radha Rajan and Co who is advocating Jallikattu ban.

          Is Radha Rajan working for Church agenda? You have to confirm it.

          Other side of the spin, Subramaniam Swamy calls Tamil protesters as LTTE and anti-nationals, also calls them Poruki (Google it if you dont know the meaning of the word).

          So its purely political agenda of BJP & brahminist to score brownie points in TN and to show that they support jallikattu (in the background BJP/RSS worked towards banning jallikattu, Need to find out ISKCON involvement in this case).

    • gk

      Bulls that are employed for farming are traditionally castrated. That is how India was all these years. Isn’t ploughing torture ? Aren’t bullock cart torturous ?

      • R. Singh

        working an animal and treating it well is one thing.

        Terrorizing it, frightening it, for pleasure is another.

        How would you like being stripped naked , manhandled, frightened, tortured for some jerk’s pleasure?

        • gk

          No it is not different. No animal is there for your sake. I mean no animal. No animal wants to be your pet too. It does not want to do plouging, drag you on a cart and what not. You cannot eat it too because it does not like it either. So from an animals standpoint you have to stay away completely. Can you pass laws to do that ? Can you declare meat eating illegal ? Who said the animal is not suffering when it gets killed especially through halal. You cannot pick and choose when you want to consider the feelings of the animal and call yourself a liberal. Bharat is a pluralistic nation, here top-down morality does not work. But the colonial judiciary is tailored to that. That is the crux of the problem.

          • R. Singh

            Same argument raised by Owaisi, Jinnah, Azam Khan!

          • vivek kj

            Very clever to evade the topic about riding on horse or collaring the pets. How is it any different when you never know whether the animal likes it or not/painful for them or not. Whatever purpose be the case, animals or hurt when humans intervene. Even pulling the cow’s udder for drinking your milk causes pain to them. Human’s are the only animals who drink other animals milk. But it suits your need and it’s ok for you. Just don’t spit cowdung in the name of sensible discussion.

          • R. Singh

            Cow dung is used in every Vedic Havan .

            It is the cleanest burning fuel.

            It is also used as fertilizer to grow crops since time immemorial.

            Why would you denigrate it?

          • vivek kj

            Oh you took it literally. What I meant is bos Taurus bull’s dung which is BS. Not bos indicus which has all the properties you mentioned.
            You couldn’t understand the difference?

          • R. Singh

            Why can Hindus only have power with Islamic practices and Islamic support?

          • gk

            People who want to ban native cultural practises using narrow-minding centrally controlled syndicated morality imported from the West have more in common with Islamic practices. Hindus have always practised such customs. You did not answer my question, is riding a bullock cart torture or not ? or riding a horse even ? or dragging a pet with its collar chain.

          • R. Singh

            There is difference between

            Riding a horse

            and DRAGGING a pet by its collar.

            Strange that you do not notice the difference.

          • gk

            Of course there is a difference. But the animal did not chose how it got treated in the first place. Horses don’t voluntarily enrol to carry humans on their backs. Why are they whipped, why are there still horse races. The problem here is because of Macaulay’s education, we use westen colonial frameworks are standards to measure our cultures and classify them as barbaric and non-barbaric. This is certainly not Hindu. Hinduism does not ask us to hurt animals, even doing Jallikattu is voluntary. But you do not have the right to moral police the rural cultures of India using colonial frameworks of cruelty. This is cultural imperialism.

        • Chandra Shekhar

          Why do u Xian idi0ts eat meat, then? Stop eating meat first and then talk.

        • Naked animals?!! Stripped of even their underwear? Oh, the horror of it all.

          • R. Singh

            Enjoy being striiped of your underwear.

            Volunteer as a bull, and see how it feels

      • Chintan Žâvérî

        One day people will say that JEE or any other competitive ecams are torture to students.. So stop that… First think about t humans

  • Vichinthitha

    These are facts that would never come into public domain except from articles from people who are concerned about dharma. Thank you for the timely information.