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President approves ordinance allowing Kambala in Karnataka

President Pranab Mukherjee has approved the promulgation of The Prevention of cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 by the Governor of Karnataka in pursuance of Article 213 of Constitution.

The promulgated ordinance legalises Kambala, bullock cart races and bull runs as traditional sports involving animals and exempt them from The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

Background

In November 2016, the Karnataka High Court had banned the kambala along with bull-cart race in the state while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty. The high court had stayed these traditional sports in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu.

Following protests by people and kambala organisers, Karnataka Assembly had passed an ordinance Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 in February 2017 to allow Kambala. In April 2017, the Union Home Ministry asked the state government to modify the Bill (ordinance). The state government made the modifications and sent it back to the union government. Earlier in June 2017, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice had cleared the modified bill (ordinance).

About Kambala

Kambala is the traditional slush track buffalo race that is held annually in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area. Slushy/marshy paddy field track is used for Kambala. The sports season generally starts in November and lasts till March. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in two seprate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.

In the traditional form of Kambala, buffalo racing was non-competitive and buffalo pairs ran one by one in paddy fields. Besides, there was also ritualistic approach as some agriculturists race their buffaloes as a means to thank the god for protecting their animals from disease. But in recent times, Kambala has become an organised rural sport.

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Prime Minister inaugurates International Basava Convention

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled translated volumes of Vachana in 23 Indian languages on the occasion of Basava Jayanti. The 23 Vachana volumes were edited by late M M Kalburgi and have been translated into other languages by more than 200 people. Prime Minister also released the digital version of the work. This is the first ever celebration of Basava Jayanti at the national level in New Delhi.

The translated volumes of Vachana was commissioned by the Basava Samithi at a cost of 2.5 crore rupees of which the Karnataka government has contributed 1 crore rupees. The celebrations also coincide with golden jubilee of Basava Samiti that was set up by former Vice President B D Jatti 1964 to spread in Basavannas message.

Vachana is a prosaic form very much popular in the Kannada literature. It propagates values of universal brotherhood. It was penned by Basavanna and other saints. The 12th-century social reformer Basavanna used this style of writing to spread social awareness and bring equality in the 12th-century society.

Basavanna

Basavanna was a 12th-century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer who lived in Karnataka during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I. He served as the chief minister of his kingdom.

Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals. During his tenure as Chief Minister, he introduced many new public institutions like Anubhava Mantapa (“hall of spiritual experience”) that would facilitate men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to have a healthy and open discuss on various spiritual and mundane questions of life. A 13th-century sacred Telugu text, the Basava purana by Palkuriki Somanatha offers a full account of Basava’s life and ideas.

In 2003, former President of India Abdul Kalam inaugurated Basaveshwar’s statue in the Parliament of India. In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of the river Thames in London.

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