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Indian Heritage & Culture


  • 18 Feb 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

  • The Kambala jockey who was compared to world record holder Usain Bolt after a video went viral showing him ‘finishing 100 metres in 9.55 seconds’, has refused to participate in athletics trials.

Key Points

  • Kambala is a traditional buffalo race in paddy fields filled with slush and mud which generally takes place in coastal Karnataka (Udupi and Dakshina Kannada) from November to March.
    • Traditionally, it is sponsored by local Tuluva landlords and households in the coastal districts.Tuluva people are an ethnic group native to Southern India. They are native speakers of the Tulu language.
    • During the race, the racers try to bring the buffaloes under control by holding their reins tight and whipping them.
  • Tradition: In its traditional form, Kambala was non-competitive and buffalo pairs raced one after another in paddy fields.
    • It was also observed as thanksgiving to gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
  • Concerns: Animal activists criticize the sport and argue that the Kambala involves acts of cruelty on animals which are not physiologically suited for racing and they run in the race due to fear of being beaten.
    • According to them, it violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. The Act prevents practices which involve unnecessary pain to the animal amounting to cruelty.


  • The Supreme Court had banned jallikattu, bullock-cart races, and kambala events in its judgement on May 7, 2014.
  • The judgement upheld the Constitution of India read with legislation under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and provided animals with the fundamental right to be treated with compassion and dignity and to be free from unnecessary pain and suffering
  • However, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 approved the organising of kambala event, provided steps are taken to avoid cruelty to the participating bulls.


  • Jallikattu is a traditional bull-taming event that is organised in the Tamil Nadu every year as part of the harvest festival Pongal.
  • The sport requires fighters to pounce on a running bull, try to hold on to its hump and move along with the animal without falling or getting hurt.

Source: TH

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