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‘Kaalai’ Vanakkam

By : T R Jawahar, E-Mail :
Saturday, 21st January 2017

This moment and movement belong to the young who are inhaling the fresh, free air of post-J TN for the first time. No one asked them to; they just did. Conspiracy theories of agent provocateurs are passe; the tsunami that is hitting Marina and beyond is so strong and spontaneous that it has even swept away all the usual suspects who habitually hit the streets at the drop of a, er, dung.


As a cultural right, Jallikattu is perfectly legitimate. The anger and protest are natural, the anguish aggravated by the selective mis-treatment of TNsentiments ‘tradition’ally and the resultant sense of alienation. The law of the land as well as its long arms cannot leverage regulatory lapses to throw the bull out with the bathwater and ban the sport itself.


But protests and strikes are addicting, the cause often getting relegated to the shadows. An impressionable and easily ignitable gen with powerful tech tools at their command, should be watchful that righteous mass mobilisation should not degenerate into mob mentality that insulates malafide motives and methods. There are many mischief mongers in our midst carrying lighted matchsticks.  


The youth, protesting with admirable restraint and responsibility,  did not solicit and rather rejected political and other support. Only the strike-happy unions and sundry associations have brought life and livelihoods to a standstill in an already paralysed State. And herein lies an off-campus lesson for the young protestors. Scooting from studies and work for long is neither good for them, their cause and the country. Public sympathy has an even lesser threshold than public memory. We don’t want future India stranded in the beaches. And they wouldn’t want their families suffering for lack of food, medicines, mobility and the mandatory movies, either. Surely, the young ones are imaginative enough to think up novel ways of protest, even while in office and classes!


That much said, I would prefer to slip through the horns of the larger dilemmas of the issue. So with a ‘big heart’, I now open this exclusive and ‘precious’ space of mine to a few young journo colleagues. Since it is their world and view that is paramount now, let this column too be theirs this week. But just this week alone, mates:


Sricharan R
None in the country has ever witnessed such a silent and an active protest, post-independence. Youths have gathered together just to save our tradition and culture. Thoughts may differ, ideologies may differ, but coming together for a cause is worthy of appreciation. This agitation offers optimism for the future, provided the political forces don’t queer the pitch in any manner. 


K V Navya
In our country, most of the crucial aspects including independence were gained only after protests. That is the only medium to voice the agony and anxiety of the people. In fact, this fight for Jallikattu will set an example for everyone to give up violent ways to express their emotions, which in many cases, always overflows in a country like India. But it also remains to be seen how this agitation pans out, and what the denoeument actually is. That is where the many ifs lie.  

M Balasubramani

Many like me support the protest not only because a traditional sport was banned but also to show that humanity is all about coming together, showing solidarity that if there is a problem we will all stand together. Jallikattu issue has given the spark to unite people, especially the youth. On Jallikattu itself, the sport must be allowed with certain rules and regulations.

Abinesh H

The idea of protest goes beyond the world of Jallikattu. It’s an identity crisis, we were denied land (Katchatheevu), water (Cauvery dispute) and finally we have to pin our hopes on a sport. Democratic protests without being a problem for others have to be welcomed as it reflects the general maturity of the society. Dissent and protests, as long as they are civilized, are not bad words. Also, we as Tamilians cannot be marginalised by the rest of India. This outburst of emotions is for the past, present and future of Tamil people.


I think this protest is the outcome of  frustration that Tamils have been nursing for a long time. We often feel victimised. This is the outburst of continuous negligence. 


The protest is a result of a mass conformity. The uprising of an unthinking mob. Unfortunately, our society often falls victim to the eagerness to fit in. When the younger generation gave up bursting crackers during Deepavali and burning tyres during Bhogi, why not Jallikattu be seen in the same rational way? Tradition and culture are important, but they are not cast in stone or something that cannot be tweaked around. Commonsense approach is the key. Unfortunately, the mass mood seems to think otherwise.


Santhosh Mathevan
I have been witnessing the protest right from its commencement, there is lot of emotion in it. Which is good to start off, and but beyond a point, those feelings have to become practical and realistic. Once the euphoria dies, the protesters have to grapple with the idea of what next, There has to be a constructive purpose to whatever ensues.


S Anu Sathya
We may be  Indians for the past 70 years, but we are Tamils for the past 2000 years. The culture and tradition of Tamils are being destroyed day by day. One among them is Jallikattu. It is not just a traditional sport, it is our cultural identity. Culture is the cornerstone of any civilization. A healthy society cannot come up on debris of culture.












About Columnist

A chartered accountant and a cost accountant by qualification and a person of friendly disposition but someone who values his and others privacy, T R Jawahar was not cut out for journalism. But how Jawahar has ended up as one of the most prominent journalists in Chennai and the creator of some important big news brands at such a young age is the stuff of destiny and the dint of hard work.

Born to that doyen of journalism and a legend in these parts, T R Ramaswamy, well known by the affectionate acronym TRR, Jawahar no doubted has inherited his analytical and writing skills from that great man. Apart from this, the father and son duo share another important quality that define their entire world-view, which is humanism. A warm empathy for all beings in the world is the core of their beings.

After the passing away of TRR in the late 80s, T R Jawahar took over the helm of the Chennai’s most popular English eveninger, News Today, and seen it grow through both good and bad times. Through the unceasing publication of News Today, Jawahar is continuing the legacy of his father who founded the paper as a social commitment as well as an entrepreneurial venture.
Jawahar further perpetuated the journalistic memory of his father by founding the popular Tamil eveninger Maalai Sudar. The two papers have carved a unique niche for themselves through an adroit mix of news and views, which help the readers to retain their Indian cultural identity.

Apart from this, the biggest and the most path-breaking journalistic venture from Jawahar is Talk Media, that publication stable that has now become the talking point in the city with a slew of neighbourhood weeklies covering the length and breadth of Chennai. His Point Blank column in the Talk Media is hugely popular for its most forthright views conveyed in cheeky and witty manner.   
To discuss Jawahar just in journalistic terms would, however, amount to doing a huge disservice to his rounded personality. Endowed with a sunny sense of humour, Jawahar is a connoisseur of movies both in Tamil and English. He is a virtual treasure house of knowledge on Tamil film music and Tamil poetry. He is a history buff and a keen reader of English and Tamil works, which is counter-pointed by his fetish for modern gadgets. A willing traveller, he has brought to bear those varied experiences in his trips in India and abroad on his writings.

Despite his professional achievements and his focussed administration of a company which employs over 500 people, Jawahar remains essentially a family man, a caring husband and a doting father. He derives his strength from his wife and daughter, and his home and office forever remain his temples.      


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