Kambala: Organisers, lovers welcome Centre's move

The Kambala organisers and lovers in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district have welcomed the move of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issuing a gazette notification (dated January 7) allowing Jallikattu and some other traditional bull-related events in other parts of the country by altering a notification issued in 2011.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi District Kambala Samithi Honorary Advisor Gunapala Kadamba said, “Kambala is a part of the traditional culture of the region. It is not just a sport for entertainment, but a ritual to prepare the field for sowing.

“The traditional Kambala has a history of 600-700 years. In the past, people used to have buffalo race after the cultivation of second crop of paddy. Modern Kambala was started at Bajagoli near Karkala, named Lava-Kusha kambala, in 1969-70.”

“The Kambala race buffaloes get a special treatment throughout the year. The buffaloes are very valuable to the owners. In fact, we are also against cruelty towards animals. When the government had imposed restrictions on Kambala, we had to organise Kambala with fear,” he said and thanked the Union government, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and the elected representatives from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts for supporting the Kambala organisers. Around 24 Kambala races are held in two districts between November and April.

“This sport has connected me with my roots,” a businessman, who owns three pairs of buffaloes, said.

Barkur Shantharam Shetty, an organiser of Jodukere Kambala, said he is happy with the Union government’s order. “As the buffalo race is attached to the traditional, spiritual and religious culture of the people in Tulu Nadu, it would have been a huge tragedy if the sport was completely banned. Cruelty in the buffalo race is stopped following the recent controversy. The organisers restrict the participants from torturing the animal. Hence, there is no question of the cruelty against animals. The District Committee has already taken a decision. Besides, it is also an entertainment sport in this region. Attempts would be made to educate people against the conditions put forth in the government order to sustain the age old tradition.”

Heeranje Sudhakar Shetty of Brahmavar, another organiser of traditional buffalo race, said he is not happy with the government’s order due to its rigid conditions which would prove detrimental to traditional buffalo race. He, however, said he is partially satisfied that the folk sport is not completely banned.

The tradition, which is being followed since ages, has the spiritual and devotional significance.

Especially, when it comes to the traditional buffalo race, the performers organise the event as part of their service to God.  The conditions would affect the folk sport against its pastoral form, which is its originality. There is no cruelty of animals in Kambala, he added.
 

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