The volatile jallikattu issue in Tamil Nadu is growing by the day as Pongal approaches and there's no legal way, yet, for the traditional sport to be conducted in the state.
Under the circumstances, anyone speaking against the practice of jallikattu or seen to be supporting PETA, an animal rights organisation backing the ban, has come under fire from protesters.
Actors like Kamal Haasan and Silambarasan have been vocal in their support for the sport. However, some of their colleagues from the industry who have supported PETA causes and appeared in photo-shoots for campaigns, have been targeted for doing so.
Photographs of Dhanush and Trisha (Sunny Leone too) wearing PETA T-shirts are doing the rounds on social media and attracting the attention of trolls. While the anger of those supporting jallikattu is understandable, given the many arguments that have been made in its favour, the kind of violent abuse that the issue has unleashed is disturbing. Actor Vishal, who has said that as a law-abiding citizen, he does not believe in criticizing the Supreme Court's verdict, has also come under attack. So has actor Arya who tweeted "What is Jallikattu?" and was trolled for his "ignorance".
Recently, a fake poster announcing Trisha's "death" has surfaced on social media, displaying just how ugly things have become. Trisha has had a long association with PETA and is known to support animal rights. According to reports, pro-Jallikattu protesters have allegedly stormed a venue in Karaikudi where Trisha was shooting, forcing the shoot to be called off!
The poster lists cause of death as "HIV affected", hinting that Trisha is sexually promiscuous. It also goes a step further and abuses her parents, calling her father a "poramboku" (wastrel) and her mother a "peethasirukki" (boastful woman). Some have been sharing the link to PETA's earlier campaign with Hollywood celebrities who appeared in the nude to protest the use of fur, snidely commenting that this is why PETA has chosen someone like Trisha.
This meme says, "One woman in this got drunk and brought Tamil Nadu's honour to the roads. The other one spread "culture" all over the world."
Just as jallikattu has had a long history in the state, so has misogyny. Attacking a woman's character because she has differing views is not new to Tamil Nadu - whether it's Khushbu, Jothimani or now Trisha. Calling their morals to question and abusing them in sexually loaded language - as bitch, whore, slut - comes naturally to many of the "veera thamizh magans" of the state. Is this justified in the name of "culture" too?
Those who claim to be sensitive about preserving indigenous breeds and saving farmers can surely do better than to resort to such means to make their point.