Years old tradition come to an end
Udaipur : The city administration and police has asked the Nathdwara Temple Board to refrain from Bull fight, a much celebrated annual event, on Friday, marking the occasion of Gopashtami festival. After a Supreme Court decision in May this year, condemning bull fights and shows like “Jallikattu” held in TamilNadu and bullock cart race in Maharashtra as cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty against Animal Act- 1960, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had issued strict instructions to all state governments to ensure compliance of the order. “Though the temple board have assured to adhere to the court order, we will keep a close watch during the rituals” police said. On Goverdhan Pooja too, a large police force had been deployed in the temple courtyard premises to ensure that cows were not hurt during the Gau kreeda rituals.
Gopashtami is a festival that commemorates the day Shri Nathji was promoted to cowherd from a herder of calves. On the anniversary of this day, herders bring bulls and male calves to Nathadwara from nearby barns owned by the temple. The beasts are decorated for the occasion, they are painted, their horns are gilded, and they wear ankle bracelets and splendid peacock-feather crowns. As the herders drive the animals through the narrow streets of Nathadwara, men and boys tease and harry them in a riotous rite called “cow play.” The angry animals charge their hecklers, who beat a hasty retreat only to return and start the play again as soon as the beasts have calmed down a bit. Finally the bulls are driven to Puja Courtyard where they are rewarded with a feast of sweet dishes specially prepared for them. “ There is difference between the cow play held on Goverdhan puja and bull fight organized on Gopashtami” explained Manjeet Singh, the Circle Inspector at Nathdwara police station. “ The strongest species of male calves and bulls (used for breed reforms) are brought here and induced to fight each other while a huge crowd uproar and incite them” he said. Rajsamand collector K.C Verma, SP Shweta Dhankhad had recently met the CEO of the temple board and urged them to refrain from the bull fight ritual which has religious sentiments of the Vaishnavites attached with. However, at Kankroli, Goswami Brijesh Kumar Maharaj of Dwarkadeesh Temple announced the mere exhibition of decorated animals so as to fulfill the rituals.
THE SC DECISION
A double bench comprising of Justice K.S. RadhaKrishnan and Justice Pinaki Chandra Bose had given the decision against inciting any animal to fight against other animal or human being. “ Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or Bullock-cart Races in the State of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country. AWBI and Governments are directed to take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on the animals, since their rights have been statutorily protected under Sections 3 and 11 of PCA Act ” the order said.