Indian Temple Preserves Tradition of Bird Fighting

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And also in India: What happens when two aggressive, hungry songbirds are put face to face? Let’s take a look.

The Hayagriva Madhava temple in the northeastern state of Assam has kept alive a centuries-old tradition of bird fighting.

The combatants are songbirds.

Since bird fighting was introduced by Muslims and staged at a Hindu place of worship, it is regarded as an event that brings the community together.

Hundreds of Muslims and Buddhists also visit the Hindu temple.

Locals capture the birds from forests and keep them at home and tend to them with the utmost care.

Once the fight is over, the birds are released back into the forest.

Villagers feed the birds with a special preparation of herbs to make them aggressive, and they are kept hungry one day prior to the fight.

[Babul Mazumdar, Bulbul Fight Organizer]: (Hindi, male)
"Animal activists had come here and they argued with us that this bird fight should be stopped and they told us not to organize this fight but we said that this is our tradition which dates back 1,000-2,000 years and we are working to keep the tradition alive."

One participant says the bird fights highlight a special friendship since the Mughals introduced it and the Hindus have kept up the tradition.

The intoxicated birds which had been starving for a day, are made to fight, targeting a banana and with the stronger bulbul emerging the winner.

The organizers are required to ensure that the birds are not injured during the duel, and a veterinarian is always present on the spot.

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