Selvarani Kanagarasu, a daily wage labourer from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has shunned marriage so that she can take care of a prize-fighting bull. BBC Tamil’s Pramila Krishnan talks to her about her life.
Ms Kanagarasu, now 48, was only a teenager when she decided that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, who raised bulls that competed in the state’s traditional bull taming contests known as Jallikattu.
Jallikattu has been popular for centuries in Tamil Nadu and is traditionally practised during the harvest festival of Pongal in January. Thousands of men chase bulls to grab prizes tied to their horns.
The sport was not practised for two years, following a ban by the Supreme Court on the grounds of animal cruelty. But following mass protests in the state, the federal government cleared the way for it to resume in January 2017, bypassing the ban.
“My father and grandfather both raised bulls and also considered them their children,” she says.
The task of continuing the family tradition would have ordinarily fallen to Ms Kanagarasu’s brothers, but she says they did not have the time to look after the animals. So she decided to step in.