Five transwomen among bull owners
Transwoman Keerthana is setting an example by preparing the bulls that participate in Jallikattu in Madurai hard. Bull and bull owners and tamers have been involved in intensive training for the Jallikattu events at Avaniyapuram, Palamedu and Alanganallur to be held in Madurai district on January 15, 16 and 17 respectively. The bull owners who submitted their applications include five transwomen from Madurai.
Social prejudice broken in 2019
G Keerthana, T Akshay, N Priyamani, S Rajeev and S Anjali have been rearing Jallikattu bulls for the last four years. In a report in The New Indian Express, Keerthana said, ‘I come from a family of cattle rearers, I had a natural love for Jallikattu bulls since childhood. But as a transwoman, I faced a lot of prejudice. In such a situation, the first Jallikattu bull was bought in 2019 itself.
Bullocks bought with savings money
Regarding Jallikattu, a men’s sport, Keerthana says the transgender group bought seven more bulls after 2019 with the money they saved. Also bought two calves and 12 cows (mostly Pulikulam breed). Keerthana rears her cattle at Varichiyur, 10 km from home. He has made elaborate arrangements for cattle on three cents of land. Varichiyur Jallikattu is famous for raising bulls.
What about the choice of breed?
On the transwomen who are preparing to send bulls to Jallikattu, these natives of Madurai and Sivagangai districts said that they have chosen Pulikulam breeds. The maintenance of the cattle costs Rs 3,500 per week. Most of the money is earned by selling the milk of their cows. Keerthana said that there is a huge demand for the milk of Pulikulam breed of cow.
‘Partnership made easy with digital tokens’
Keerthana tells about her first Jallikattu that when ‘Chinna Muthiah’ ‘Vadi Vasal’ ran and announced the name of his bull in the meeting, he was in tears. He said, in the last four years, we have participated in many events and one of my bulls won a motorcycle in Jallikattu held in Chinna Kattalai village in 2022.
Happy and proud to be a part of Jallikattu
His team used to train the bulls in Varichiyur with the help of local villagers. Keerthana said the latest addition to their bulls is one-and-a-half-year-old ‘Mayandi’. It was saved from being killed in a slaughterhouse and bought by his team. Keerthana tells that in the next few years ‘Mayandi’ will also participate in Jallikattu. T Akshay, another transwoman along with Keerthana pointed out that it has always been difficult to get tokens to participate in Jallikattu, but digital tokens have been introduced this year. There is every hope of getting tokens for the three main events in Madurai. “We are happy and proud to be a part of Jallikattu, which is a part of our Tamil culture. Our bulls will bring us fame. I am just waiting to see them out of Vadi Vasal,” she added.