My cousin-in-law, a native of East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, is an avid cocker and visited the Philippines for the first time. Unfortunately, cockpits are closed due to the pandemic but he couldn’t believe what he is witnessing in the country when talking about cockfighting.
After 2 weeks since he arrived in the Philippines, he is spending more time watching “online sabong” than being together with his 8-year-old son and I told him to watch the online gambling moderately of his Filipina wife (my cousin), will leave him 🙂
Kidding aside, Preet is a big fan of cockfighting during Makar Sankranti where cockfighting is allowed as part of its tradition.
Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan or Maghi or simply Sankranti, also known in Bangladesh as Poush Sankranti, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, dedicated to the deity Surya (sun). It is observed each year the day Sun enters the Capricorn zodiac which corresponds with the month of January as per the Gregorian calendar. It marks the first day of the sun’s transit into Makara Rashi (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.
Makar Sankranti is one of the few ancient Indian festivals that has been observed according to solar cycles, while most festivals are set by the lunar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar. Being a festival that celebrates the solar cycle, it almost always falls on the same Gregorian date every year (January 14), except in some years when the date shifts by a day for that year (January 15). As a result, it can fall on a different date of the Hindu calendar each year. Although cockfighting is banned all over India, the Sankranti cockfight is one of the biggest featured events during the eve of this annual festival.
Makar cockfights feature different gamefowl breeds and I asked Preet during our hours of conversation about cockfighting and I got a handful of information on cockfighting in India.
According to him, there are over 20 varieties and bloodlines of fighting roosters including Kaaki, Setu, Nallamachala Setu, Parla, Savala, Nalla Savala, Kokkirayi, Kowju, Myla, Poola, Telupu Gowdu, Yerupu Gowdu, Pingali, Nallabora, Yerrapoda, and Kaaki Dega Kaki Nemali . The last two are the best and most popular among the mentioned varieties.
Kaaki Dega and Kaki Nemali – the best Indian gamefowls
Kaaki Dega and Kaki Nemali look closely similar to Asil and Shamo and are far different from other gamefowls. They are more aggressive, ferocious, large, and tall.
“I made more lakhs of rupees every time I put my money in any of these two fighting cocks since I started cockfighting more than 12 years ago,” Preet told me.
The Kaaki Dega and Kaki Nemali have the same fighting styles and are believed to be closely related to each other. They only differ in height and color as the former is a bit bigger and taller than the latter. They fly high and attack their opponents while in the air and never back off.
Kaaki Dega and Kaki Nemali are named according to the color of their feathers, size, and stance. While some roosters are ferocious in the morning, some are more aggressive during evenings this si why many native cockers believe that planetary influences work on these gamefowl breeds. They believe that planetary, solar, and lunar movements have impacts on the blood circulation of the roosters and determine the time when they fight best.
Cockfighting in India is prohibited under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the AP Gaming Act, 1974. Bird lovers oppose cockfight events as thousands of roosters die in the bloody sport.
There are several doubts over whether cockfights come under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 or not, as the police have been registering cases against organizers and punters under the AP Gaming Act.
The Hyderabad High Court admitted yet another petition alleging that gambling on cockfights was going on on a large scale. The court has sought a report from the district administrations and the police.
But despite the nationwide ban, like in the US and North America, illegal cockfighting events are still alive especially in rural areas, and Kaaki Dega and Kaki Nemali will continue to hold the top spot as India’s best fighting roosters.
Is Kaaki Dega and Kaki Nemali available in the Philippines?
If we look closely, there is no difference between Kaaki Dega, Kaki Nemali, Asil, and Shamo and since the last two (Asil and Shamo) are widely available in the Philippines, it is possible that other owners of these birds are selling their gamecocks as Kaaki Dega and Kaki Nemali. There is no definite answer to this question unless an Indian gut from Andhra Pradesh actually brings these birds here. So, if you are in the Philippines and looking to buy either Kaaki Dega or Kaki Nemali, get ready to settle with Asil or Shamo as these are the closest you could get!
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