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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The AMUL-PETA controversy! Is cow just a valuable cog in our dairy industry or can it take care of an entire village’s farmlands with its other miracles? Find out why we call a cow “gaumata” !

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Today is World Environment Day & I wish to take this opportunity to give my 2 cents on the AMUL- PETA controversy.

We all know how PETA gave AMUL the unsolicited advice to switch to vegan milk & AMUL asked GoI to ban PETA. PETA seems hellbent on destroying our dairy industry that’s contributing to a third of rural income & adds to India’s GDP by 4 %

We consider cow as “gaumata”. There’s a perpetual discussion on how beneficial milk is, how products like ghee, curd & buttermilk are like Amrit, or how consuming gomutra has numerous health benefits.

But how many of us know that the cow does more than that?

How many of us know that one cow can take care of the fertiliser needs of an entire village – giving nutrients that no chemical fertiliser in the world can match?

A kg of cow dung is enough to fertilise 1 acre of land. A cow gives 10 kg cow dung every day. Land needs to be fertilised every 30 days. So, a cow can fertilise 30 acres of land.

Remember that a cow’s gut is much longer than ours – it contains billions of microbes that are UNIQUE to the cow’s digestive system- these microbes can’t be found anywhere else in the gut of any other animal(that we know of) or any chemical formula.

So every gram of cow dung contains millions of unique microbes that can provide numerous benefits to our farm.

Know how we ferment foods like idli, dhokla, etc.? Fermenting helps multiply the good bacteria.

Similarly, one can ferment the cow dung – filter it to remove seeds, then mix it with a proteinaceous powder like chana daal aata & something sweet like jaggery, sugar cane pieces or fruit pieces & keep overnight to multiply the good bacteria by fermentation & then spray in the field.

Remember, it’s not the plant but the soil that needs to be nourished. The soil nourishes more than just the plant. Cow dung can make even barren land a forest in a few years.

And the exceptional part is that it’s the cow dung of an old non-milk producing cow that gives the most fertile cow dung.

Even Gomutra is added to the fertiliser mix to give benefits- the older, the better. Gomutra, as well as diluted buttermilk, are known as excellent methods to do organic pest control.

Sadly, today, farmers have forgotten the traditional knowledge passed on for generations & want to get quickly rich – so they use chemical fertilisers that gives bumper harvests in the first few years but then the yield goes down as the soil gets poisoned by the remains of the chemicals & lack of crop rotation.

Today, many farmers just keep the cow tied up in the cowshed the entire day, giving it a lot of food but no exercise. There’s talk about cow farts that produce copious amounts of greenhouse gases! But you know who farts a lot? One who eats all day & does no exercise- the same rule applies to human beings as well as cows! Many farmers sell off the cow or abandon her once she stops producing milk. Let’s not forget how or why India is one of the top exporters of beef…

Have you heard about the best cowherd?

It was Lord Krishna! He took the cows out for grazing freely, played soothing bansuri that gave them peace that increased their milk production & loved them by gently caressing them. Today, hugging cows is even scientifically proven to be beneficial for us & them, but we have forgotten these teachings of our Sanatan dharma & remember them only after validation by “western scientific research.” So modern farmers use antibiotics to keep cows disease free & give them oxytocin injections to increase milk production instead of keeping them in company of their calves, caressing them & making them feel tranquil like Bhagwan Krishna did. These antibiotics & oxytocin are then present in the cow’s milk that we consume.
This brings me to a second topic – Jallikatu, a game played during Pongal in TN where village youths are to tackle the bulls. Opposers don’t understand the logic or reason behind this practice – it is to find the strongest, most virile desi bull to impregnate the cows so that we get superior quality of the next generation. But fact is that some unscrupulous bull owners do anger the bulls by devious methods like putting chilli in their private parts or hurting them – but to demonise all farmers & the festival itself is devious & can lead to the extinctions for our local cow species.

In our greed for yield, we have forgotten our desi breeds like Gir, Sindhi, etc, that give us A2 milk, which is superior in nutrients & better to our digestive system than the A1 milk of the imported Jersey/ Holstein cows. The benefits of milk & its products mentioned in Ayurveda are for A2 milk of our desi cows. Milk products must also be extracted in a particular manner. Ghee from churning curd of desi free-ranging cows by the bilona method (wooden hand-churned) is superior to that obtained from factory methods.

Most of the solutions to our life problems are found in the practices of our Sanatan Dharma. A cow is a treasured member of our family- let’s not treat it as a disposable item, as just as a milk producing machine. The best way to worship a cow is not just to pray in a temple, or become a gaurakshak, but to support such gaushalas that are run in the right way, to buy A2 milk & products & support those farmers using organic means to give us chemical-free food – that would be a real tribute to our gaumata 🙏🙏

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