Jallikattu, Identity and Aspirations

Somehow I have a feeling that Jallikattu, the issue of reservation for women in urban local bodies in Nagaland and the issue of triple talaq are interrelated.

Jallikattu: The confronting views are “Cruelty against animals” and “Tamil tradition”. One side had the backing of the highest legal authority. But traditionalists successfully showed its strength and won over the executives. Legal hurdles are removed and  now Jalikattu is back.

Interestingly all political parties are with the “people of Tamil Nadu” which essentially means that all political parties oppose the ban on Jallikattu.

It may not be inappropriate to note here that  Jalikattu is also linked to Makar Sakranti, a Hindu festival. Also  it is known that the Jallikattu movement led to Tamil separatist sentiments which was admitted by  the  BJP’s own man Subramanian Swamy.

Urban Local Bodies in Nagaland : Unfortunately and surprisingly a move to provide 33%  reservation for women  in  urban local bodies in Nagaland has clashed with Naga traditional values and special constitutional status  given  to Nagaland under article 371 (A). To the best of my knowledge Naga society upholds  gender equality.  Therefore can we assume that affirmative actions like reservations are not required in Nagaland? Alternatively we would have loved to see Nagaland assembly working towards 50% reservation for women proving  Nagaland to be different  from other Indian states.

The ruling party in Nagaland is an ally of the BJP and it is for 33% reservation for women in urban local bodies. The position of national political parties is unclear on the issue. But none of the parties has stated that it is with the “people of Nagaland”.

Triple Talaq: The BJP quite often raises the issue of “Triple Talaq” along with the need for a uniform civil code in the country. The stand of the Congress party has been unclear all along. It reminds us of the Shah Bano case, handling of which did not help the Congress party in the long run. But the Congress party also refrains from saying that it is with “Muslim citizens” of India.

Some intellectuals view that religion and tradition should not be equated. But can we deny the fact that traditional practices have roots in religions?

The three issues clearly show that identity based aspirations are very strong across the country and any deliberate move towards uniformity may be counter productive.

An afterthought : Triple Talaq adversely affects Muslim women. Reservation in urban local bodies will affect Naga men or Naga women.But in case of Jallikattu the affected entity is a bull, which I believe can not be Tamil ( with due apologies to all concerned) !


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