ibnlive » India

Jan 17, 2008 at 01:12pm IST

Assam celebrates Bihu with buffalo fights

Guwahati: Tamil Nadu is excited about Jallikattu where people try to tame a bull but in Assam buffalo fighting is a popular past time.

On Bihu about 50 animals were made to fight on even as the crowd cheered in Assam's Ahatguri.

"The fights have been held for a long time now in different parts of the state but it was only in 1973 that such a large scale tournament was organised," Nathuram Hazarika, president of Ahatguri buffalo tournament, says.

The rules of the game are rather simple. The animal that gives up and takes to flight loses and is often chased by the victor. Buffalo owners train their animals for days for the fight.

"They are given special diet and kept off the regular work till the fight," a buffalo owner Minram Saikia says.

The end result is often a profusely bleeding animal but neither the organisers nor the participants find it cruel.

Notwithstanding the ethical aspect of buffalo fight, the supporters say this actually helps down to bring down the level of aggression in animals once they go back to their farms.

"It ensures that the animals stay calm for the rest of the year or else they start attacking people randomly. Once they finish fighting they become easy to handle," Saikia adds.

But there is no way to tell if that is just an excuse to make the animals fight.