INDIA ABROAD Feburary 3, 2017 23 INDIAN AMERICAN AFFAIRS
By Ritu Jha
ndia’s Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act,
1960 has been amended to
exempt Jallikattu from its
provisions, making the tra-
ditional Pongal sporting
event permanent in Tamil Nadu.
The state Assembly passed the
amendment on Monday, Jan. 23.
The bill’s language also
includes other sports involving
bulls —manjuviratu, vadamadu
and erudhuvidumvizha —
performed in different parts of Tamil
The lawmakers’ actions came
just days after numerous protests
in India and elsewhere in the
world. In San Francisco, hundreds of Indian-Americans
swarmed the Indian Consulate in
defense of the traditional Tamil
Nadu sporting event, with many
of the protesters from the non-profit Bay Area Tamil Manram.
The protest on Jan. 21, like so
many others, was a response to
controversy in India after a
protest by animal-welfare groups
led to a case in the Indian apex
court. Jallikattu, a traditional
bull-taming contest, is part of
the harvest festival of Pongal
and takes place on the third day.
The Guardian newspaper reported on Monday, Jan. 23 that widespread protests erupted in Tamil
Nadu after politicians there
passed an emergency order that
lifted a Supreme Court ban on
Guna Pathakkam, president of
the Bay Area Tamil Manram, said
the gathering in San Francisco
was “to show our support and
solidarity to people back home.”
Pathakkam called Jallikattu a
“bravery sport” with cultural significance.
“We are very serious about
our culture and the traditional
values. It’s symbolic so we make
sure we are responsible and sup-
port whatever happens in our
native place,” he said.
Similar protests in the U.S.
were held in New Jersey and
Seattle in Washington.
Pathakkam discredited efforts
by PETA to have the sport halted.
“PETA and other organizations
has no idea about Jallikattu and
its cultural significance and val-
ues. Not even a knowledge how
it’s been done,” he said.
He described Jallikattu as a
challenge to tame a bull and capture the prize money tied to the
horn. “It is nothing more than
that,” he said. “This sport is
known for bravery because it
about controlling the big bull.
People definitely get hurt but
[only] if the person participating
has not well-prepared or practiced.”
Taming Public Outcry Over Tamil Nadu Tradition
By George Joseph
avika Bhagath Singh,
known for her charitable
work in Washington’s
Her death was announced in a
press release from Shudh
Parkash Singh, INOC chairman.
“It is indeed people like Mrs.
Lavika Bhagath Singh who are
real strength of the Indian
Overseas Congress. She had
worked very hard to spread the
ideology of the Congress Party,”
said Rahul Gandhi, vice president
of the Congress Party in India.
A native of Delhi and daughter
of a former solicitor general
there, she came to the U.S. in
1995. She was the owner of an
entertainment and consulting
“I have lost my loyal and sin-
cere friend. Despite a very hard
life taking care of a handicapped
son, she always had a smile on
her face,” Shudh Parkash Singh
said. “We are proud of the work
Lavika had done for the INOC in
the last 15 years as Washington
D.C. chapter president and
national president. She was a
fun-loving, cheerful and bold
lady who always thought big…
She will be missed dearly by us
all not just for her contributions
to INOC and charities but also for
her total personality of a super
Gurmeet Singh Gill, Punjab
chapter president of INOC,
recalled her popularity in the
D.C. area for her community and
charity work. She was also well-
known for hosting many success-
ful Bollywood shows.
“We have lost our dynamic
leader,” said INOC General
Secretary Rajender Dichpally.
She is survived by daughter
Angelica, son Heiman and hus-
band Deshpal Singh, a business-
man. Her sisters, uncles and
other close relatives also live
nearby in Virginia.
Her funeral services were held
in Washington, D.C. A prayer
meeting will be scheduled soon
in New York, according to INOC
senior vice presidents Phuman
Singh and Kalathil Varughese.
In San Francisco, hundreds of Indian-Americans swarmed the Indian consulate in defense of Jallikattu
Lavika Bhagath Singh, group’s national president, remembered as dynamic and charitable
Indian National Overseas Congress Leader Dies
On Jan. 21, hundreds of members of the Bay Area Tamil Manram, a non-profit organization, protest outside the Indian
Consulate in San Francisco holding placards saying “I support Jallikattu, Ban PETA, We want Jallikattu.”