An interest in capturing the relationship between man and animal drove L Selvaprakash, a photojournalist, to the streets on Madurai during the Pongal of 2008. His focus?The iconic Jallikattu. With camera in hand and a curious mind, he documented every moment of the age-old tradition.
"While I was working in Madurai, back in 2002, I was assigned to cover the sport. But it was not until 2008 that I really wanted to document the event. So, I took a short break from work and headed to Madurai to capture the event. The in-depth documentation pushed me to not only cover the event, but also created a kind of curiosity about what happens to the bulls in the off season," Selvaprakash explains.
The curiosity led to the photographer to a number of Tamil Nadu villages (known to organise the sport) during the non-Jallikattu season.
"I met a few bull owners and understood that the cattle involved in the sport are taken good care of. Families belonging from economically weak sections of society also make an effort to keep the cattle healthy and unharmed," he notes.
After his detailed visual analysis, what is his take on the situation? Selvaprakash questions, "Any domesticated animal goes through some form of cruelty. Then why object only to the bull and Jallikattu?"
He feels that the rate of cruelty varies, but at the end of the day, it is cruelty. "Everyone wants to see whatever they want to see," he adds.
Through his pictures, you will understand why he chose to make a feature on this particular sport. Take a look at the magnificent pictures from the sporting event and behind-the-scenes and decide for yourself, do you support the ban or are you against it?