Kambala| A Rural festival

Kambala, a rural festival, is an annual traditional festival that includes buffalo race. Mainly people of Southwestern Indian state Karnataka celebrate this festival. The season of its celebration starts in November and ends in March. Kambala Samithis organizes kambalas and about 45 race competitions take place in Karnataka and other villages Vandaru and Gulvadi.

History of Kambala: A Rural festival:

This festival’s origin states its celebrations back to more than a thousand years. This festival named karada in early times but now known as Kambala. Kambala came from Kampa-Kala. Kampa means slushy and muddy field and Kala is related to the field.

It is a traditional sport which entertains people in rural areas. Buffalo races take place in a slushy paddy field and handled by a whip-lashing farmer. During the celebration of this traditional festival, races were non-competitive. But in the modern Kambala festival, races take place in the competition of two pairs of buffaloes. In early times, winner pairs were given coconuts and bananas as a prize. But now, owners of buffalo pairs get gold and silver coins or some cash prizes.

Kambala Samrakshane Nirvakhana Tarabeti Academy:

At Kambala Samrakshane Nirvakhana Tarabeti Academy (Kambala Conservation, Maintenance, and Training Academy) people get training to become jockeys. Graduates, agriculturists, and statisticians work in the government department and learned to direct the buffaloes with a sponge at the end of a bamboo cane or betha to protect them from injuries.

Buffaloes pass through a 12-day training program to do workouts, race practices, feeding, oiling, bathing, preparation of ropes, and bamboo decoration.

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Kambala Rural festival: cruelty ground:

The animal welfare board of India banned this festival by considering its cruel event in November 2014. Then authorities recorded races to observe if there is any cruelty and bad behaviors of owners. After keeping races banned, the Karnataka government passed the ordinance, and races resumed in November 2017 because of the ordinance.

About 5000 people, involved in organizing this festival, suffered because of ban. And this sport considered an important factor in agriculture and the source of entertainment.

PETA’s vision on Kambala Rural festival:

Animal rights activists protested against Kambala because of the cruel behavior of owners. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ) was not satisfied with the instruction and direction are given by the Karnataka government. Then PETA investigated the race in 2017 and disclosed the fact that owners beat buffaloes badly on their faces and back. The organization examined the whole situation and concluded that animals get injuries because of the cruel behavior of owners. Organisation also stated that “Cruelty is inherent in Kambala”. The organization aims to take a major view on this issue and try to stop it.

Protest against buffalo race
Decoration and buffalo:

Different colored jhuls and stunning head-pieces seem beautiful on buffaloes. Paavade, a special towel, used to cover buffalo’s back.

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Amna Rizwan

This is Amna Rizwan working as a content writer.