Environment and Cow
Being part of farming, food, medicine, and industry, cow also contributes to the health of environment.
- Ancient scripture state that “Suryaketu” nerve on cow’s back absorbs harmful radiations and cleanses atmosphere. Mere presence of cows is a great contribution to environment.
- India has approximately 30 crore cattle. Using their dung to produce bio gas, we can save 6.0 crore ton of firewood every year. This would arrest deforestation to that extent.
- Cow dung has important role in preserving environment.
- When we burn cow dung, it balances atmospheric temperature and kills germs in the air.
- Cow dung has antiseptic, anti radioactive and anti thermal properties. When we coat the walls and clean the floors of house with cow dung, it protects the dwellers. In 1984, gas leak in Bhopal killed more than 20,000 people. Those living in houses with cow dung coated walls were not affected. Atomic power centres in India and Russia even today use cow dung to shield radiation.
- African deserts were made fertile using cow dung.
- We can reduce acid content in water by treating it with cow dung.
- When we offer ghee in fire as part of ritualistic sacrifices, it strengthens the ozone layer and shields the earth from harmful radiations from Sun.
- A relationship between increasing number of butcher houses and earth quakes is being proven.
Indian agriculture has variety. There is no farm-product that we don’t cultivate. Our land grows all kinds of grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, flowers, cotton and silk.
About 70% of our population has embraced agriculture as profession. Majority of them are small farmers, owning one or two acres of land.
Our agricultural landscape is diverse and vivid – in land topology, soil type and quality, irrigation method and frequency of harvesting.
Cattle are integral part of this huge canvas of agriculture. We use oxen to plough, to pick and move harvested crops, in irrigation, cow manure as fertilizer, and cow urine as insecticide.
Unique Role of Cow in Agriculture :
- In our country with small holdings and small scale farming, there is no better alternative to employing cattle in farming.
- While ploughing, the oxen stride with gentle gait, not harming the surface of the earth, unlike tractors.
- Even as they plough the land, the oxen defecate and urinate, fertilizing the land.
- Cattle Manure : organic manure, green leaf manure, earth-worms, and slurry manure with cattle manure bond with the nature and make the land fertile. They do not create the challenge of chemical waste.
- 99% of the insects in nature are beneficial to the system. Insecticides prepared from cow urine or well fermented butter milk do not affect these helpful insects.
- Dung from one cow is adequate to fertilize 5 acres of land and its urine can protect 10 acres of crop from insects.
- As per the Supreme Court, cow dung produced by one oxen can support a family for 4 years.
- Oxen do not pollute the atmosphere.
India has more than 6,00,000 villages, many which do not have asphalted motorable roads. In hilly regions where even a horse cannot tread, oxen can pull their carts with ease.
Superiority of Ox Carts :
- Boasting of the largest rail road network of the world, Indian Railways transported 55.7 crore tons of goods in 2004-05. In the same year, the humble ox carts transported 278.5 crore tons!
- In that year, trains moved 511.2 crore passengers while ox carts had 2044.8 crore customers!
- Oxen have carried up to 14 ton goods non-stop 24 hours, without water and food.
- Most importantly, the carts do not produce air or sound pollution.
Food from Cow : from the start to end of a meal
A mother nursing her infant depends on cow’s milk for her own nourishment. A mother feeds her child for a year or two; then cow is the lifelong refuge for us all. Cow feeds its own calf and spares plenty for us too.
Uses of cow products :
- Different popular beverages like coffee, tea, etc. require milk as an important ingredient.
- Scores of sweet dishes are milk based.
- Curd, butter, and ghee are essential part of Indian meal. Taste of items deep fried in ghee is unmatched.
- Butter milk quenches thirst in addition to being a base for many popular dishes in our cooking.
World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as a combination of physical, mental, spiritual and social wholeness. WHO has also predicted that bacteria will become immune to antibiotics by the year 2020. That does not scare us! We can depend on Panchagavya – milk, curd, ghee, cow urine and cow dung. These have excellent medical qualities individually as well as a concoction, without any adverse side-effect. In addition, if we are already under some other medication, consumption of panchagavya acts as a catalyst.
Health from Panchagavya :
- Milk : Charaka Samhita states, “Milk is the best life strengthener.” While Casin protein in milk helps growth of infants, calcium and sulphur strengthen our bones. Milk is also rich in vitamins D and B-complex.
- Curd arrests diarrhoea, controls fat, and resists cancer.
- Ghee improves intelligence and beauty. It is used to treat eye diseases.
- Distilled cow urine is effective in treatment of flu, arthritis, bacterial diseases, food poisoning, indigestion, oedema, and leprosy.
- Panchagavya Mix : Various medical formulations like Panchagavya Ghrita, Amritasara, Ghanavati, Ksharavati, Netrasara etc. are invaluable medicines in Ayurvedic system.
Cow in Industry
Milk and milk products from cow are used in preparing wholesome dishes and food products. Cow products are effective in treatment of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, neurological problems, psychological problems, skin diseases, ENT problems, fever, cold, hair loss, etc. They can also be used in cosmetic products like soap, shampoo and beauty aids. They help in farming and provide manure and insecticides. We can get cooking gas and electricity from cow dung.
Cow Industry is Practical:
- India leads the world in milk production. In 1998 – 99, India produced 7.5 crore ton milk. 70% of this produce is from small farmers.
- South India has more than 75,000 gobar gas installations, achieved by the S.K.G. Society of Kolar.
- A scientist named Bug Jones established Inland Energy Corporation in California. They collect 1500 ton cow dung a day from the neighbourhood and produce 50 MW of electricity.
- Gujarat State Government purchases cow urine at Rs. 3 per kg and cow dung at Rs. 2 per kg.
Role of Cow in the Battlefield
Apart from responding to our daily needs, cows have fought for us in battlefields!
Recorded Battles :
- When Hyder Ali was ruling the Mysore State, the Nizam of Hyderabad attacked Chitradurga Fort. Hyder Ali had a fleet of Amrit Mahal oxen in his army! He tied burning torches to the horns of 237 of these oxen and let them attack Nizam’s army, resulting in the defeat of 3,000 strong attacking army.
- Captain Javinson had Amrit Mahal oxen in his brigade in Afghanistan. As recorded by him, when his troop travelled in narrow valleys of Teri hills in 1842, the oxen were cheerful even after pulling the carts for 16 continuous hours.
- Commanding Officer Lord Wellesley credits the Amrit Mahal oxen for his victory over Napoleon in Peninsular War.
- Amrit Mahal oxen were part of the troop deployed in Mesopotamia in First Word War (1914 – 1918). They surprised the people by walking faster than camels, crossing narrow valleys and bridges with tact, adapting to adverse weather conditions and fighting with even reduced feed.
Cow in Religious Rituals
Our culture has retained a strong relationship between cows and temples.
- Cow is accepted as divine.
- Day dawns with worship of cow.
- Worship and feeding of cow is part of daily rituals.
- Cow has precedence in festivals at home.
- There are several festivals where cow is prominent.
- Many temples have cow sheds at the entrance, enhancing the divine feelings.
- Traditionally we have used Panchagavya to cleanse and purify.
- God’s idols are washed with milk, curd and ghee.
- For lighting holy lamp we use ghee. We also give offering of ghee to deities.
- Preparation of various offerings to the God use ghee and milk.
- Butter is used in decorating deities.
- Economy Hearty Touch…
- Mother’s Kindness
Cow’s Role in Economy
- 70% of our people depend on agriculture. 98% of them depend on cattle based agriculture.
- India produces more milk than all other countries.
- Goods carried by ox carts is 4 to 5 times as much as by trains. This saves considerable foreign exchange. E.g., Transportation worth Rs. 50,000 crore was done by ox carts in 2005.
- By expanding cow based industry, cow would have a defining stature in our economy. Sadly it’s already important position is not accepted by our people.