Drought-hit farmers rescued by the popularity of their bulls in Tamil Nadu
Vishnuvardhan, Sudeep, Darshan Thoogudeepa, Yash, and Duniya Vijay are not only popular Kannada film stars – all of them are also sturdy bulls from Karnataka that are taking Tamil Nadu’s Jallikattu by storm, with some of them selling for as much as ₹12 lakh, and earning their breeders a neat profit.
The bulls, reared and trained in the semi-arid Shikaripur taluk of Shivamogga district, have acquired a reputation for agility, speed and sturdiness. They are in great demand in Tamil Nadu following the resumption of Jallikattu in the State.
Shikaripur’s racing bulls are fetching almost double the money the farmers invested on purchasing the calf, and rearing and training it.
Trained for local sport
The bulls get trained in the local bull-catching sport, ‘Hori Habba.’ In Shikaripur taluk alone, more than 120 Hori Habba events are held between Deepavali and Sankranthi. The sport involves making bulls of the ‘Amruth Mahal’ and ‘Hallikar’ breeds run in the ring. Whoever succeeds in catching or taming them wins. Mr. Kumaranna, a farmer from Gandhi Nagar village of Shikaripur said that it costs him around ₹12,000 a month to keep the bull fighting fit. Four years ago, he bought a six-month old male Hallikar calf for ₹50,000. Recently, he sold it to a Jallikattu enthusiast from Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district for ₹12 lakh. Another bull reared by Zakir Saab in Narasapura was sold to a buyer from Alanganallur in Madurai district for ₹11 lakh.
Nandan Sommananavar, who is doing research on Hori Habba in Kuvempu University said that in the past six months enthusiasts from Tamil Nadu bought more than 60 bulls from Shikaripur. The bulls are typically named after Kannada films (Mylari, Raja Huli, Tagaru, Hathavadi, Saarathi) and film stars.