With Andhra Pradesh police increasing its patrol near Makar Sankranti, let us look at the tradition of cockfighting in the state, what occurs differently there, and the legends associated with it.
Crux of the Matter
Andhra Pradesh police recently seized 482 knives. These knives are tied to cocks’ feet in cockfighting popular in the state.
Cockfight is a “blood sport” between two roosters (cocks). The fight goes on till one of them dies or gets critically injured.
Kodi Pandalu In Andhra
The 3-days Sankranti period is celebrated by cockfighting in Andhra Pradesh known as Kodi Pandalu. It has been famously called “illegal ‘Super Bowl’” of India by The Washington Post.
Cockfighting is illegal in India, yet mass attendances are recorded in Andhra, with people from all over India as well as NRIs visiting. It is also attended and funded reportedly by politicians across all political spectrum.
- Makar Sankranti – the first day of the sun transitioning into the sun sign Capricorn (Makara).
- Also celebrated as harvest festival – kites flown in several Indian states.
- Birds are trained for weeks.
- Large bets are placed on roosters in the event.
- Knife tied to roosters’ leg – renders fight more vicious.
- Losing rooster traditionally taken by the winner’s owner for consumption.
- Cockfighting betting said to generate ₹2000 crore transaction (2019).
- Enormous arenas are built for the event – but also done in fields if required.
- Kukkuta Sastra is a text widely claimed to be followed for cockfighting.
- It reportedly guides regarding astrology of betting, nurturing and classification of chickens, horoscope of chicken etc. for a favourable result in the fight.
Cockfighting was reportedly popularized in the state by the ‘battle of Palnadu’ (between 1178 and 1182 AD) between King Nalagamaraju and his stepbrother Malidevaraju.
2 accounts of the battle are reported:
- Malidevaraju was sent to exile after losing in cockfighting to the King (similar to the dice game in Mahabharata). This sparked the animosity which ended in the war
- The other account is that cockfighting was the ‘decider’ of the battle between the two.
- The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). Since 2004, the game has been played on the first Sunday in February. The Super Bowl is the second-largest day for US food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most-watched American television broadcast of the year.
- A blood sport is a category of sport or entertainment that involves bloodshed. Activities characterized as blood sports but involving only human participants, including the Ancient Roman gladiatorial games.
- Cockfighting is an ancient spectator sport. There is evidence that cockfighting was a pastime in the Indus Valley Civilization. Based on his analysis of a Mohenjo-Daro seal, Iravatham Mahadevan speculates that the city’s ancient name could have been Kukkutarma (“the city of the cockerel [kukkuta]”).
- The News Minute – Ahead of Sankranthi, 482 knives used in cockfights seized in Andhra
- GQ – Inside Andhra Pradesh’s underground world of cockfighting
- The Washington Post – Inside India’s illegal ‘Super Bowl’ of cockfighting, where the roosters wear razors
- The Hindu – A favourite pastime
- Deccan Chronicle – Rs 2,000 crore at stake as bets placed on cockfights