Abha Dawesar Blog

Family Values has been released! Babyji is now available in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, and Thai. The Hebrew and French translations of That Summer in Paris are also out. My site: www.abhadawesar.com
I also have a FRENCH BLOG.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bull and man

Unlike the Spanish corrida (bullfight) which reeks of both cruelty and cowardice the Course Camarguaise is a local version in which the bulls are not hurt and are let into the arena to run with full vigor. A group of local lads (obviously utterly mad) with an insane appetite for danger enter the arena and try to get as close to the bull as they can. The objective is to remove the 3 attributes of the bull: ribbons tied close to the bull’s horns, glands that hang from these ribbons and a miniscule little rosette that hangs between the two horns and is well integrated into the hair in the front. To remove these attributes from the bull and score points they end up touching his horns and the front of his face many times; since the bull is not standing idly they must race to the edge of the arena and in one whooping leap cross over the fence and jump over to the balustrades to avoid getting gored.

Within the first few minutes of the Course on Tuesday one young man had already hurt his knee. The flying leaps over the arena are no joke even if there were no bull. Younger smaller bulls are also able to follow the raseteur across the arena and jump the red fence. It turns out that bulls are repetitive animals—once they discover they can jump over the fence, they do it again and again even if there’s no raseteur leading them there. There is a narrow track outside of the fence for the bull and ground level spectators are protected from this by wooden planks. Nonetheless the bull, his breathing, the sand he is kicking up, are all within smelling distance from the spectators at ground level. The bull’s charge vibrates through the wood.

The culture of the Camargue is centered on the taureau. Each village has its own votive festival lasting a week. Bulls are brought in everyday to the arena in the morning in a ceremony called the abrivado where a group of horses prevent them from veering off course. The course in the arena usually begins late afternoon when it is still quite hot; it typically involves 6 bulls that come on for 15 minutes each. The raseteurs must sustain their stamina through the whole show as the bulls progressively get heavier, stronger, and more aggressive. On Tuesday’s course de ligue the last bull didn’t wish to return to the bull pen once his 15 minutes were up. A simbèu (the docile bull of the herd which usually leads it through river crossings and passages) was sent out to herd the bull back to the toril. In Tamil Nadu during Pongal a similar event, the Jallikattu, is held. Unarmed men ride wild bulls to untie what’s tied to the bull’s horns. Of course, security barricades are entirely missing in the Indian version as the photos show making the event extremely dangerous and death tolls high. The Supreme Court even banned the Jallikattu for a period a result of injuries. The debate is extremely heated, with similar arguments being made by proponent of tradition and culture in Tamil Nadu (as in Nîmes and Arles).

At the end of the course a group of restless horses wait with their riders for bulls to be released from the toril. As each bull charges out the riders must swiftly gallop ensuring that the bull doesn’t take the wrong street in the village. After the course the bulls are even more aggressive. The audience which has emptied the arena to watch the send off or bandido must stay behind metal barriers. One man bent forward and got a gash on the side of his head.

The fête votive in Vauvert continues through till Sunday when it ends in a trophy event and a bandido with 20 bulls charging through the village before they get to the field. Cautionary signs everywhere of les manifestations taurines are not to be taken lightly that evening.

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Blogger priti aisola said...

Interesting. Your blog post - a good way to experience places and events that one may not know or get to see.
Thank you.

2:19 PM  
Blogger claude said...

i live in Paris but i was born in Gard. I'm glad that one of my favourite author had spend some times in my homeland !!!

10:49 AM  
Anonymous P C Vinoj Kumar said...

Found your blog via facebook.Nice post. Just to add that the Tamil Nadu government is doing its bit to regulate the sport. Things have improved much at some of the venues in south Tamil Nadu where the sport is held traditionally. You may read my article in Tehelka - done in 2007..

1:04 AM  

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