Activists and Vetrimaran of Aadukalam Celebrated December 25th with Cockfights in Thanjavur village

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– Gameness til the End

Roosters wake Thanjavur village up to some real thrilling action

Dec 25, 2011, 12.41AM IST TNN

THANJAVUR: Residents of the usually calm Vandayar colony in Thanjavur woke up to frenzied activity in their locality on Saturday. Amidst the noise of cars and bikes coming to a screeching halt, what stood out was the flipping of wings and crowing of roosters – bright red, black and white.

Hours later, the residents got an even bigger surprise when that gentleman landed at the spot. It didn’t take much time for the people to recognise Vetrimaran, director of the national award winning flick Aadukalam -built around the theme of cock fight. Who could be a better person than Vetrimaran to inaugurate a grand cock fight?

But then, it was ‘Suruli’, ‘Velu’, ‘Ayyanar’ and their ilk of three-foot-tall roosters that stole the limelight for rest of the day. The cocks that appeared calm and composed in the arms of their bosses, turned fierce and aggressive the moment they were let into the arena, a 10-square-foot area marked by white powder. The combat lasts for one hour with a 15-minute rest at regular intervals. “The cock that forces out the opponent out of the arena is declared winner. Sometimes both the cocks would continue the duel for the whole hour and would not get exhausted drawing the match. A few would be extremely ferocious and attack the opponent brutally,” said 51-year-old A Joseph Durli, a functionary of Vetrukkal Seval Kalai Nanbargal Kuzhu (Unarmed Cock fight Friends Group) that organises the cock fight.

Around 1,000 cocks from across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and Maharashtra were brought to participate in the event. “Usually the number would be more. This year we could not inform them well in advance due to a litigation pending in the high court,” Joseph said.

Joseph says cock fights were held in Thanjavur for centuries and their group itself was organising it for the past 25 years. But last year, the authorities refused permission to conduct the event, forcing the organisers to approach the high court.

Hearing the petition of the organisers, the bench comprising Justice K N Basha and Justice M Venugopal recently gave the nod for the event, but made it clear that the birds should not suffer injuries. “A team of five doctors conducted checks on the birds before and after the event,” said Arun Prasad, an advocate who fought the case in the high court.

The organisers said that in some places, knives would be tied to the limbs of the cocks. “In such cases the fight would not last for even a minute as one of the birds would be killed by the time. But we don’t do that,” said Joseph. The training for the birds started a month back with daily sessions of swimming and running besides a sumptuous diet of badam, pista and dry fruits.

“The general criticism is that cocks are harmed during such fights. But I don’t see any harm being done to the birds during the event. There are abundant references to cock fights in our ancient literatures. We should continue this tradition,” Vetrimaran told the gathering.

Cockfight resumes after legal battle in Thanjavur

December 25, 2011 By S. Irshad Ahamed DC Thanjavur

If bull taming in a jallikattu is famous in many villages in other parts of the state, ‘sevalkattu’ or ‘rooster duel’, is a particular attraction in Thanjavur.

Come Pongal, and the residents of in Thanjavur wake up to frenzied activity organised by Cholamandalam friends association at Vandayar colony, in Srinivasapuram.

During the two-day event, roosters in red, tan, black and white – reared especially for the fights – are brought from across the country.

Rooster duel is a traditional sport that has been conducted in the area for over 250 years except in 2010 when it was banned by the then DMK government. Usually, the duels last two days and each day would see thousands of fights witnessed by small groups of people squatting and standing in circles at the village, says coordinator A. Joseph Dhurli, 51.

“Rearing a rooster requires a lot of training and discipline,” said Mr Dhurli. As the sport was banned last year, Mr Jahangir of Thanjavur filed a writ in the HC. Subsequently, the HC granted permission to conduct the cockfight sans knives and under the direct supervision of revenue and police officials.

The two-day traditional sport began on Saturday.




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