BENGALURU: The recent Jallikattu protests at Marina Beach in Chennai, is an excellent example of what can happen when people mobilised and come together for a cause. It is one of the most organised citizen’s protests in recent times and is worth commending how people got together, supporting each other in solidarity for over six days.

The city has time and again shown its ability to come together during difficult times, like the floods in 2015 and the cyclone in 2016. However, once a hotbed for student politics and activism, Chennai seems to be losing its spark and the causes for which the people of Tamil Nadu get mobilised seem largely problematic - to an outsider.

While people from across the state came together at Marina Beach demanding that the ban on Jallikattu be removed, the people of the state have remained silent and failed to show solidarity for crimes against women, caste atrocities and oppression, corruption by the office bearers and farmer suicides within the State.

Where were these protestors when Shankhar - a Dalit boy was hacked to death in public for marrying a girl outside of his caste in March last year or when Dalit villages were burnt down? Where were these protestors when Swathi, an Infosys employee was stabbed to death by her stalker in broad daylight at the railway station? Where was the anger when Tara, a transwoman’s body was found burnt outside a police station in mysterious circumstances?

Several celebrities and individuals have come forward and said that the protest is not just about Jallikattu, but a culmination of anger against several other unresolved issues as a cause of authoritarianism exercised by constitutional structures such as the Centre and Supreme Court. While acknowledging that this discontent arises is a result of the paternalistic attitude of the Central Government towards the state; it begs to be asked why silence has been maintained in the case of atrocities against minority communities and women.Despite their ability to mobilise so fantastically, why have youth and the people of the state not come forward and demanded justice for their fellow citizens?

For an outsider, who is neither in favour of nor against Jallikattu, it appears as though that ‘cultural pride’ is more prestigious than human life for the people of Tamil Nadu, with their activism seeming entirely misplaced.

(Cover Photograph: Video grab of a Dalit boy being hacked to death at a bus stop in full view of all just because he had married a girl from another caste)