I have been an animal lover all my life. I keep two dogs and four cats at home. In fact I don’t even watch movies in which animals get killed, even those idiotic movies in which some animals are portrayed as villains. The most horrific scene in the horror movie "Omen" for me was the scene in which a cute Rottweiler, allegedly an agent of devil, gets killed. I never bothered to watch the movie for a second time, even on TV. So I must have strong views on the demand for lifting the ban on Jallikattu, the supposedly heroic bull running sport of Tamils that takes place during the Pongal festival right? Well on this let us start from the beginning. The first time, I came across the sport was in my fifth standard Tamil textbook in which it was extolled as a showcase of Tamil heroism. The lesson on Jallikattu also outlined the rules of the game. The first one was the bull should not be hurt in any way, second one was it should be confronted from the side and front and not from the rear. And pulling the tail of the poor animal was considered cowardly unbecoming of a heroic Tamil. And it is not even a bullfight strictly speaking. It is more a game of speed and skill. The aim of jallikattu was to (Yes was. I don’t know what is its aim now) untie gifts like cash and clothes tied to the neck of running bulls that are roused to anger by loud sounds of drums and wind instruments. No physical attacks on the animal was permitted as it was considered the mount of Shiva. It was also known as Eru Thazhuvudal (embracing the bull). The participants have to hoodwink the bull and not hurt it. Traditionally it was not performed in an arena as it is done now for the amusement of tourists. The bulls, mostly huge temple bulls that do nothing but eat and sleep (Kovil Kaalai or Temple Bull is a term used in Tamil to discuss useless people who do nothing useful except to eat and make merry) were let loose on streets to the sounds of loud drums that would enrage the animals. People would watch the show safely from their balconies and windows with only those with enough guts to make a go at the gifts being on the streets. But like everything that has become touristy, Jallikattu degenerated too. Just see the poor scrawny creatures in the videos and how people harass them by pulling their tails and nearly 15 to 20 guys jumping on them at the same time. Allegedly the bulls are tortured with chilly powder rubbed into their rear s so that they get enraged. Now is that a reason for totally banning the sport?. My view is no. What matters is strictly adhering to the traditional rules of the game. The quality of bulls must be checked and poor , skinny creatures must be kept out. The bulls must be approached only from the sides and front (the latter strictly for the suicidal) . Also the number of people confronting one bull must be limited to five or six, so that some twenty guys don’t jump on the poor animal and hurt it seriously. The number of venues must be limited so that they can be easily controlled and the show supervised through CCTV cameras and any infringement of the rules must lead to cancellation of the license to hold the sport at a particular venue. Also any act of cruelty must be punished with heavy fines and rigorous imprisonment. In fact supervision must start before the event itself. Before the bulls are sent on the run they must be subjected to thorough medical examination to see whether they have been hurt or tortured in any way to arouse their rage. Only 100% healthy, well maintained bulls must be qualified to participate in the event. Is it possible to implement such strict rules? If yes, we can go ahead with the sport, supposedly the pride of Tamils. Otherwise let us say goodbye to it. After all “tradition” is no excuse for holding on to anything Even Sati and child marriage are traditions. Should we hold on to them too?