Sankranti means transmigration of the Sun from one Rāshi (constellation of the zodiac in Indian astronomy) to the next. Hence, there are 12 Sankrantis in a year. Each Sankranti is marked as the beginning of a month in the sidereal solar calendars followed in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Gujarat. On the other hand, in the sidereal solar Bengali calendar and Assamese calendar, a Sankranti is marked as the end of each month and the day following as the beginning of a new month.
Makar Sankranti: Marks the transition of the Sun into Makara rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path, and the six-month Uttarayana period. Makara Sankranti is also called as Uttarayana – the day on which the sun begins his northward journey The traditional Indian calendar is based on lunar positions, Sankranti is a solar event. The date of Makar Sankranti remains constant over a long term, 14 January or occasionally, 15 January as the Sun begins to rise in Makara Rashi.
Mesha Sankranti: Marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Hindu Solar Calendar. On this day, the sun enters the sidereal Aries, or Mesha rashi. It generally falls on 14/15 April. Regional New Year festivals also take place on this day: Vaisakhi in the Punjab region, Pana Sankranti in Odisha and on the day after Mesha Sankranti, Pohela Boishakh in the Bengal region.
Dhanu Sankranti: celebrated on the first day of lunar Pausha month. In Southern Bhutan and Nepal it is celebrated by eating wild potatoes (tarul)
Karka Sankranti: July 16, marks the transition of the Sun into Karka rashi (Cancer). This also marks the end of the six-month Uttarayana period of Hindu calendar, and the beginning of Dakshinayana, which itself end at Makar Sankranti.
– Gameness til the End
The Quint | The News Minute
First Published: November 30, 2015, 7:08 am
Andhra Pradesh is set for another season of ‘cockfighting’.
(Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)
With the festival of Sankranti less than two months away, Andhra Pradesh is set for another season of its popular ‘cockfighting.’ This time, however, the sport has moved to the internet.
Though there are several restrictions imposed by the government, and a Supreme Court order, it is a loved sport and a tradition for many people living in rural areas and coastal Andhra.
The trend is picking up fast in urban areas too, as classified websites are now filled with advertisements of the birds, some bred especially for the fights.
As of now, the cost of birds varies from a little over Rs 1,000 in Hyderabad to Rs 10,000 in Vijayawada and Rs 12,000 in Tirupati.
Bird Sales Soar
A report in The Deccan Chronicle says that even a posh location in Vijayawada hosted a cockfight event organised by local legislatures last season, hinting that there was a growing craze for the cockfights in urban areas too.
With the festival set to take place in the second week of January, many people have started selling and buying the birds on the internet, to prepare them for the fights.
“We started preparing our roosters soon after the last festival season. Only such well-fed roosters turn strong contenders in the fight and take on the enemy.”
– L Venkata Rama Rao, a villager from Gannavaram Mandal to the Deccan Chronicle.
Prices Shoot Up
However, the last week of December and the first week of January see the activity reach unprecedented heights, as prices keep shooting up with each passing day. Some estimates suggest that a few thousand crores exchange hands during the festival.
The apex court in January this year, set aside the Dec 29, 2014 order of Andhra Pradesh High Court, which directed police to take action against those organising cockfights, which involved betting, sale of liquor, gambling and subjecting animals and birds to cruelty, during the festival.
The order had banned bullfighting, bullock-cart races and others sports cruel to animals and cited the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
However, the Supreme Court maintained that the ban on cockfights is still in force, and any violation will amount to contempt of court.
The fights between the specially bred and trained cocks are organised in an open location where hundreds gather to watch them. Three to four inch knives are attached to the cocks’ legs and the fight continues till death.
BJP leader Raghurama Krishnam Raju, one of the main petitioners who challenged the HC order, made a case for a knife-less, gambling-free fight and said that “Cockfighting is a traditional sport that has been going on for thousands of years. Association of gambling with the sport, however, is wrong and I do not deny that. The knife is worse than betting on the fight.”
Every year, the police conducts raids and seizes specially bred birds, but the sport continues.