The Abrahamic war on Paganism has been perfected over the centuries and the recent ban on Jallikattu is a direct consequence of this old and perfected missionary tactic. One of the essential stage during the spread of Abrahamic religions over the world has been destruction of paganism from Europe to Latin America or Africa. And the best way to kill paganism is to strike at its root by disconnecting the natives from their roots i.e. turn sons against father, society and native religion. The cookbook of turning people against their forefathers has been refined over the centuries by these imperialistic religions. But how do you disconnect the people from their roots?
The best way to achieve this objective is to chop down on native social traditions ranging from festivals, feasts, sacrifice and every social activity which defines the local society. Sometimes this objective was achieved in an overt fashion as exemplified by Mohammed destroying the idols of Arabic pagan Gods on his return to Mecca. With this single masterstroke, Mohammed completely disconnected the Mecca residents from their traditional culture which revolved around their pagan deities. Without common identity, customs and rituals to bind them, the old pagan society crumbled under Islamic barbarity in Arabia. If the sword was not powerful enough to censor ritualism, other mechinations were deployed to achieve this objective.
But Islam only picked up these techniques later, much after when Chritianity had used them for several hundred years and was already a prominent religion. So, it is important to look at the methods used by early Christians to destroy pagan societies and see whether Jallikattu ban follows the old Church template. The only difference being that now western governments use secular institutions like NGOs and think-tanks to denounce native practices and de-link people from their traditions. Such societies then become easy fodder for the proselytization attempts by the Church.
The suppression of Olympic games by the Church
The ancient Olympic games were the most important part of Greek identity but in 380 AD when the emperor, Theodosius I announced Christianity to be the official state religion of the Roman empire, the Olympic games became the first victim of zealous Christian clergy. In 391 AD and 392 AD, Theodosius I further issued edits to outlaw the pagan practices of sacrifice, libations, garlands, and divination throughout his territory. This would prove to be the final nail for the Olympics, celebrated in honour of Greek God Zeus, and other sports in their outwardly pagan forms. Finally in 426 AD, Emperor Theodosius II finished the work started by his grandfather and burned down the Temple of Zeus and other Olympia buildings including the great stadium of Olympia.
The burning down of the temple of Zeus was the last step in establishing the supremacy of the monotheistic Christian God. But as mentioned above the work to discredit pagan beliefs began much earlier as the Church actively used state power to ban different pagan practices. For eg. in 392 AD, Theodosius prohibited circus games on Sunday so that people are not distracted from Sunday mass. The gradual decline of Gladiatorial fights under Constantine I, Constantine II, and complete closure under Honorius in 404 AD also happened under the influence of Christian council as Roman kings restricted their soldiers from participating in these events as well as decreased the frequency of these events.
All these actions paved the way for removal of statue of Zeus from Olympia. This statue was one of the primary attractions of the city and the Olympic games were discontinued soon after these events. No surprise that Olympia became Christian town by 5th century with its buildings falling into ruin or taken over by Church. I will quote from the book by Sofie Remijsen:
The accommodations for the athletes and guests were at this point no longer used for their original purpose. Blocks from the gymnasium gate and perhaps from the palaistara too, and statue bases from the nymphaion were reused in the church.
The template thus used by the Church was very simple- look down upon all native traditions and either ridicule them to stop them covertly or use the power of the state/mob and suppress overtly. A gripping account of destruction of ancient pagan culture and along with it the scientific temper was the subject of movie “Agora” released in 2009:
But it was not all easy for the Church as the pagans did fight back for some time. There was a brief period between Constantine 2 and Valentinian where Julian, the apostate, did his best to revive paganism by reviving games and festivals but the poor fellow failed because the church had become deeply entrenched in the Roman power structure and society by then. Paganism lost hold on Greek minds as they became victims of rational philosophy, escapist mystery cults & reforming zeal of Christians who stamped out the pagan sacrifices, idolatry and rituals.
The suppression of sports and rituals in India
The targeting of Akali Nihangs & decline of Sikh martial traditions under the British Raj also followed the same template. Gatka, which was predominantly a battle art, was turned into performance art as the British hanged and imprisoned the Ustads and hunted down the Nihangs out of Punjab. This was done with such clinical precision that not only Sikhs forgot and gave up their traditional practices but also became one of the most loyal servants of the British.
The British made other similar attempts and banned Ayudh Puja as well as most other martial arts traditions like Silambam and Kalaripayat. Although, these decisions had the objective to protect British colonialism in India but one should not miss the cultural aspect that the British had deep desire to civilize the local Satan worshippers.
The recent fashion to rid Hinduism in its original pagan form while absorbing Hindu spirituality in the name of secularizing Yoga, Advaita etc. should also be seen under this light. Once these philosophies are de-linked from their Hindu roots by banning the outward pagan rituals, the task to lure people into monotheistic creeds or hedonistic consumerism becomes much more simple.
The forces behind these bans
The current attempts to ban Jallikattu should be seen as a continuation of the past attempts to suppress local traditions in pagan societies. The only thing that has changed is the players in the game. Instead of overt participation of the Church, now we have NGOs and other pressure groups who want to subvert local traditions. No surprise that in almost all the cases, the customs and rituals under scanner have an association with Hinduism, the last citadel of global paganism.
Most Hindu traditions are local in nature and closely related with the local social life. This makes them easy target as it is difficult to rally support of other Hindus in case of suppression by the state. Given the past success of proselytization attempts post destruction and vilification of native pagan traditions, one should expect that these attempts will only increase in the future in India- sometimes under the garb of animal protection and other times to promote equality, gender or otherwise. The recent judgements against temple elephants, Dahi Handi during Mumbai Gokulashtami celebrations or the Sabarimala/Shani Shingnapur worship traditions are the disjoint pieces of this puzzle that one needs to put together to understand the big picture.
In this whole drama the most worrying aspect is the fact that most of these decisions have come from the Supreme Court which has no mandate to interfere selectively and pass judgements against some local traditions while closing their eyes on other more reprehensible social practices. This probably gives a sense of infiltration of the deep state or current liberal memes in Indian judiciary. Also, the hurry shown by the SC to entertain such PILs, when many other important cases are pending, only leads to further distrust in the institution.
To counter this propaganda and given the hold of Marxist thought process in popular parlance in India, there is an active need on part of Hindus to thwart any such attempts against local traditions. Given the presence of Social Media, it is much easier to identify and target the hypocrisy of individuals who want to ban Jallikattu while enjoying a piece of steak for dinner. But it is not enough as Hindus usually try to brush the strength of the enemy by citing that they have survived this onslaught for more than 2000 years. A cursory look at the epitaphs of various pagan societies from around the world should be enough to ring an alarm bell that they are not any special and many other civilizations have been destroyed using similar techniques. So, every attempt to ban and ridicule local rituals and traditions, no matter how small, should be thwarted at every level of the society.
Christianity and the Roman Games – Richard F. Devoe
The End of Greek Athletics in Late Antiquity – Sofie Remijsen
Some noteworthy articles on Jallikattu ban: