Saturday, 24 March 2012

Goshala rescues the animals

VRAJRAJ GAUSHALA (or Goshala) is the sanctuary or the abode for old, sick, abandoned and stray animals, especially cows and its progeny.

Apart from this, the Goshala also rescues the animals meant for illegal and merciless slaughtering, after being transported in cattle lorries under extremely cruel conditions with no food and water for days, standing huddled together, stamped to unconsciousness or death, made to walk for miles with starvation.

The Goshala is run in the town of Rithi, Katni (located in the Central  Indian state of Madhy Pradesh ) and an effort to care for these kind, innocent, gentle and lovely animals, that today are the victims and a gainful conduit for so many unlawful means.



Cow Protection
Place Of The Cow
THE COW is a poem of pity. One reads pity in the gentle animal. She is the mother to millions of Indian mankind. Protection of the cow means protection of the whole dumb creation of God. The ancient seer, whoever he was, began with the cow. The appeal of the lower order of creation is all the more forcible because it is speechless. (YI, 6-10-1921, p. 36)

…The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads before us on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: 'you are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian'. (YI, 26-6-1924, p. 214)

I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. (YI, 1-1-1925, p. 8)

Mother cow is in many ways better than the mother who gave us birth. Our mother gives us milk for a couple of years and then expects us to serve her when we grow up. Mother cow expects from us nothing but grass and grain. Our mother often falls ill and expects service from us. Mother cow rarely falls ill. Here is an unbroken record of service which does not end with her death. Our mother, when she dies, means expenses of burial or cremation. Mother cow is as useful dead as when she is alive. We can make use of every part of her body-her flesh, her bones, her intestines, her horns and her skin. Well, I say this not to disparage the mother who gives us birth, but in order to show you the substantial reasons for my worshipping the cow. (H, 15-9-1940, p. 281)
The Cow In Hinduism
The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection. Cow protection to me is one of the most wonderful phenomena in human evolution. It takes the human being beyond this species. The cow to me means the entire sub-human world. Man through the cow is enjoined to realize his identity with all that lives. Why the cow was selected for apotheosis is obvious to me. The cow was in India the best companion. She was the giver of plenty. Not only did she give milk, but she also made agriculture possible….....
Cow protection is the gift of Hinduism to the world. And Hinduism will live so ling as there are Hindus to protect the cow…… Hindus will be judged not by their TILAKS, not by the correct chanting of MANTRAS, not by their pilgrimages, not by their most punctilious observances of caste rules, but their ability to protect the cow. (YI, 6-10-1921, p. 36)
I would not kill a human being for protection a cow, as I will not kill a cow for saving a human life, be it ever so precious. (YI, 18-5-1921, p. 156)

My religion teaches me that I should by personal conduct instill into the minds of those who might hold different views, the conviction that cow-killing is a sin and that, therefore, it ought to be abandoned.
(YI, 29-1-1925, p. 38)

Cow slaughter can never be stopped by law. Knowledge, education, and the spirit of kindliness towards her alone can put and end to it. It will not be possible to save those animals that are a burden on the land or, perhaps, even man if he is a burden. (H, 15-9-1946, p. 310)

My ambition is no less than to see the principle of cow protection established throughout the world. But that requires that I should set my own house thoroughly in order first. (YI, 29-1-1925, p. 38)

Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. (YI, 7-5-1925, p. 160)

But lit me reiterate….that legislative prohibition is the smallest part of any programme of cow protection. …People seem to think that, when a law is passed against any evil, it will die without any further effort. There never was a grosser self-deception. Legislation is intended and is effective against an ignorant or a small, evil-minded minority; but no legislation which is opposed by an intelligent and organized public opinion, or under cover of religion by a fanatical minority, can ever succeed. The more I study the question of cow protection, the stronger the conviction grows upon me that protection of the cow and her progeny can be attained only if there is continuous and sustained constructive effort along the lines suggested by me. (YI, 7-7-1927, p. 219)
Preservation of cattle is a vital part of GOSEVA. It is a vital question for India . . . There is urgent need for deep study and the spirit of sacrifice. To amass money and dole out charity does not connote real business capacity. To know how to preserve cattle, to impart this knowledge to the millions, to live up to the ideal oneself, and to spend money on this endeavor is real business. (H, 17-2-1946, p.11)

In so far as the pure economic necessity of cow protection is concerned, it can be easily secured if the question was considered on that ground alone. In that event all t he dry cattle, the cows who give less mild than their keep, and the aged and unfit cattle would be slaughtered without a second thought. This soulless economy has no place in India, although the inhabitants of this land of paradoxes may be, indeed are, guilty of many soulless acts.
Positive Measures
Then, how can the cow be save without having to kill her off when she ceases to give the economic quantity of milk or when one becomes otherwise an uneconomic burden? The answer to the question can be summed up as follows:
1. By the Hindus performing their duty towards the cow and her progeny. If they did so, our cattle would be the pride of India and the world. The contrary is the case today.
2. By learning the science of cattle-breeding. Today there is perfect anarchy in this work.
3. By replacing the present cruel method of castration by the humane method practiced in the West.
4. By thorough reform of the pinjrapoles [institutions for aged cows] of India which are today, as a rule, managed ignorantly and without any plan by men who do not know their work.
5. When these primary things are done, it will be found that the Muslims will, of their own accord, recognize the necessity, if only for the sake of their Hindus brethren, of not slaughtering cattle for beef or otherwise.
The reader will observe that behind the foregoing requirements lies one thing and that is ahimsa, otherwise known as universal compassion. If that supreme thing is realized, everything else becomes easy. Where there is ahimsa, there is infinite patience, inner calm, discrimination, self-sacrifice and true knowledge. (H, 31-8-1947, p. 300)

Why Protect The Cows?

Why Protect The Cows?
Advantages of organic farming over conventional farming.
A key principle of cow protection involves breeding bovine animals to obtain bulls that are engaged in working the land, as opposed to excessively expanding the herd to obtain byproducts such as milk.
The awareness that Organic yields are no where lower than those of the genetically modified crops used in conventional farming should be spread far and wide if we are to conserve our cows and culture.
In fact Organic farming is better able to withstand droughts, and is also relatively immune to the upcoming and inevitable shortages of petroleum supplies. In contrast, commercial agriculture depends heavily on petroleum-based chemical inputs, in the absence of which conventional crop yields would fall sharply.
Organic agriculture can play an important role…
  • In averting future crop failures of the world.
  • Organic practices markedly improved the quality of the soil and keeps the yield high even in the face of a drought.
How can organic farming withstand petroleum shortage?
Not only is organic farming better able to withstand droughts, but it is also relatively immune to the inevitable shortages of petroleum supplies. Industrialized agriculture, in which vast amounts of land are plowed, planted, and harvested using diesel or gasoline powered farm machinery in place of human and animal labor, is not a sustainable substitute for cow protection.  Commercial agriculture is particularly vulnerable to rising costs of petroleum, including natural gas, which will be depleted at approximately the same time as oil.
Intensive animal agriculture, a production model that is being steadily adopted throughout the world, is a vast user of fossil fuel, mainly for the production of feed.  For example, One acre of corn production in the U.S. requires approximately 140 gallons of oil The adoption of new seed varieties has intensified the dependence on petroleum-based chemical inputs. Natural gas is an ingredient for manufacturing the chemical fertilizers that support high crop yields in modern agriculture, while oil is a raw material for producing pesticides.  The high yielding seed varieties (HYV)are more productive because they respond strongly to petroleum-based chemical fertilizer.
The most heavy price that humans pay by practicing conventional agriculture.
Industrial livestock farming systems are in fact incubation centers for disease outbreaks.  Seventy five percent of emerging diseases in humans are of animal origin, and humans are at risk of being killed in large numbers by cross-species transmission of illnesses between, pigs, humans, birds, and other animals. Over the past 25 years, 38 illnesses have jumped to humans, as disease-causing pathogens have mutated and moved up the food chain.
Challenges before Indian organic farming.
India has been meeting its growing demand for food and fiber through organic farming systems in which bovine animals are bred to obtain bulls that are used to provide draft power. Surprisingly and sadly this practice is slowly dying out due mass slaughtering of cows and cow family.
The solution to India’s challenges lies not in the abandonment of compassion towards the cow, but rather in a fundamental reordering of agricultural production systems as well as a correct understanding of cow protection.  Specifically, the underlying principle of cow protection is to engage and employ bulls to work the land, implying that cows are bred only to the point where the bovine population meets the demand for draft power, rather than the demand for the byproducts, e.g., milk.  In sharp contrast, raising cows for the purpose of producing milk is an egregious error — the cow will not produce milk unless it has calves, and since half will be male, the result is an excess bovine population that is costly to support.  Farming practices that do not engage the bulls will essentially condemn them to the slaughterhouse, since they will have no economic value other than their meat.

The Cows Should Not Be Killed

The Cows Should Not Be Killed
The cow is the mother of all living entities of the earth. In fact the cow is the back bone of human culture. For all the sects be it the Vaishnavas, the Shaktas, the Boudhas or the Sikhas ; cow has been respected, honors and conserved by all from the times immemorial.
It is not just the duty but also the dharma of each human being, irrespective of his Varnashram dharma to consider cows to be divine and protect them to their best capability. Cows is such a visible god who has been showering her divine mercy and grace on human society irrespective of their belief and differences. The person who desire wealth and opulence should worship and serve the cows.
The Cows Should Not Be Killed
The Cows Should Not Be Killed
The Vedas declare-
The cow is the mother of Rudras, sister of Adityas, and treasure of Nectarian ghee or Ghruta. Therefore I address to all those humans who are conscious and intelligent that do not kill the cows.
Thinking practically the cow being the provider of nutrition and health, is our mother and the bull, the plougher of the land helps us to sustain our economy is our father. Are the mothers and fathers killed just because they get old and economically unproductive?
In fact the cows are our good luck because the impart fortune and aid in our religious, political, agricultural, economical and medicinal works. therefore these cows should be protected and conserved for human development and sustenance.
The Vedic society conferred death sentence on the people who killed and slaughtered the cows or the cow families the bulls and oxen too.

Cow Protection What Does It Mean In Real Sense??

Cow Protection What Does It Mean In Real Sense??
The actual philosophical reason for cow protection is very simple; all living entities deserve protection from slaughter. Not only cows, all animals have souls the same as we do. They are all children of Krsna, all dear to Him.

History Of Cow Protection
Cow’s have always been our mothers and all mothers should hold a position of respect, and since one does not kill and eat one’s mother, the cow should not be killed and eaten. Likewise, the bull is our father because he can plow the earth to produce food grains. One does not kill and eat one’s father and mother – not even when they are old and less economically useful.
5000 years ago, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared on earth to protect His devotees and to demonstrate His pastimes. Among those pastimes was his childhood role as a cowherd boy. The cows were very dear to Him because of their affectionate and gentle nature as well as their contributions to human society ( one may be amazed to learn that cows have medical, ecological, agricultural, socio political and religious value), and He was kind to them in return and protected them. We should follow His example.
Our Limited Intelligence
We make a blunder mistake when we limit our intelligent in thinking that the cow should be protected because typically, her main usefulness is seen as milk production, and she will not give milk unless she first has a calf. Half of all calves are bulls who will never produce milk. The expense of feeding the bulls will be a deficit to the farmer unless he realizes their potential for alternative energy by employing them in tilling the fields and hauling. Otherwise, the farmer, in most countries throughout the world, acquires his economic profit by selling them for meat either directly to the slaughterhouse, the meat industry’s feedlots, or to the veal industry where he lives a short life crammed into a small crate not much bigger than him.
The cow is also sold for meat when she cannot produce the required quantity of milk. Regardless of milk production, even the dung and urine of a cow or bull is valuable. Instead of slaughtering these cows and bulls who do not produce milk, why not utilize their dung and urine in fertilizers, compost, pest repellent, medicines, cleaning products, pancagavya, and biogas fuel to name a few useful and saleable items?
“It has been found by chemical examination that the cow dung contains all antiseptic properties as already mentioned in ancient text that even the cow’s urine and dung are purifiers.
Since the modern system of agriculture does not realize the alternative energy potential of the bull calf nor the variety of useful bovine dung and urine products. Therefore, slaughtering becomes the only economically viable means of management. People dont realize that the overall value of the ox is greater when he is utilized for work than when he’s slaughtered for meat, and even when not productive a cow or ox produces useful urine and dung.
The present system is full of ironies and very wasteful. Everyone laments the loss of the small family farm. But economic forces today require quantity control – which is dependent on expensive tractors, polluting fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, and heavy mortgages – and the small farmer is driven out of business.
Some practical solutions-start employing the oxen.
First, breed cows not to provide milk with calves as the by-product, but to provide a team of oxen for every family farm with milk as the by-product. There will be neither excess milk nor excess calves. The oxen will be out in the pastures eating simply, and naturally fertilizing the soil, saving the farmer the cost of the tractor, fuel, and fertilizer. The oxen will be quite content to use their big muscles in such wholesome work, and the humans can become healthy vegetarians.

The Need To Protect The Holy Cows

The Need To Protect The Holy Cows

The topic of Cow is an ocean and any numbers of words are not enough to describe completely its contribution to mankind. Kamadhenu is a gift of God to mankind and He expects us to take good care of it. As mentioned in the vedas-
“Dharathi Vishwam iti Dharmaha”
That which protects the Universe is Dharma.
Dharma can be practiced by a person established in Satva Guna and devoid of Raja and Tamo guna. When we look at the source of Satva, Cow emerges as one of the major source. So Dharma and Cow protection are firmly linked together. Cow’s milk, Ghee, Butter are Sattvika in nature and help enhance the Satva guna in us when consumed regularly. When the Satva guna increases in a human being he naturally becomes peaceful, truthful, and free from greed. These are the principles on which Dharma is established.
Today nobody who has sound intelligence can negate the contribution of Cow to Human health. Aroygya Dharma states-
Dharmarthakamamokshanam Arogyam Moolamuthamam
Health is the fundamental requirement to achieve the four goals of human life viz., Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha(liberation). This can only be achieved if human beings take the responsibilty of protecting the cows. Cow protection is everyone’s business, it is everyone’s responsibility. This is being written down as varnasrama dharma. If one does not contribute or participate directly in cow protection then he should know that he is neglecting his dharma. In other words he is adharmic.

Benefits of Cow Serving….

Benefits of Cow Serving….
  • The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna advises go-rakshya, which means cow protection in His instructions of Bhagavad gitä Cows are dear to Lord Krishna. That is why Krishna is also called Gopal that is saviour of the cows.
  • It releases from past sinful reaction
  • Protection from both moral and spiritual degradation.
  • Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained, and without brahmanical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.
  • The cow products (panchgavya)are used to perform yagna sacrifieces, the prescribed duties of humnas described in Vedas
  • Cow protection brings happiness and perfection in life.
  • Cow protection is the most important business of human society.
  • Cow killing is the only reason of wide spread terrorism.
  • Perfect way to give some relief to this world by following the path of serving humanity shown by God.
  • Because of innumerable benefits of cow products i.e. the milk, curds, ghee and even the urine and dung which have medical, agricultural and industrial application the whole humanity is benefited.
MEDICAL Benefits
  • (urine & dung) provide the right solutions for most of the diseases, that are considered incurable.
  • Cow urine has natural disinfectant and antiseptic qualities. It helps in curing Cancer, AIDS, Asthma, Diabetes, Psoriasis, Eczema, Heart Diseases, Hypertension, Piles, Prostate, Liver, Kidney, Female Diseases, Hepatitis, Acidity, Fits, Ulcer, Spleen, Ear, Sexual Disorders, Nose, Eye, Cough & Cold, Migraine, Headache, Gout, Sodalities, Sciatica and other chronic ailments.

  • Allows us to lead a simple & pollution free life.
  • Manures from cow urine & dung, makes the soil fertile, for yielding more nutrient fruits & Vegetables for healthy life. Helps in overcoming the negatives of Chemical fertilizers.
  • Helps in maintaining the quality of underground water
  • Usage of Cow Panch-gavya products is the more simple and Practical approach to serve the Cows.
  • Panchgavya can be used in energy productions such as BIOGAS AND ELECTICITY, which surpasses the harmful effects of production of energy through conventional sources like burning of fossil fuels and nuclear fuel.

  • The bulls have traditionally been used to plough the field.
  • The cow dung in the best alternative to artificial fertilizer that has so many harmful effects on the environment.
  • Helpful in pursuing organic farming.

Friday, 23 March 2012

गो सेवा के चमत्कार - दाना भगत

गो सेवा के चमत्कार
दाना भगत
सौराष्ट्र गुजरात के गो सेवको में दाना भगत का नाम विशेष है. वे जीवन भर गायो का झुण्ड लेकर सौराष्ट्र के गाँव गाँव घुमते रहे और गो माता  की जय जयकार करते रहे. लोग उन्हें घुमक्कड़ गोभक्त कहते थे
उनका जन्म विक्रम संवत १७८४ में सौराष्ट्र के अमरेली जिले के  चालला नामक गाँव में हुआ था . वे जन्म से अंधे  थे. प्रकृती  ने उन्हें सुमधुर कंठ  दिया था. उनके पिता गोपालन  करते थे. बचपन में वे अपने पिता के साथ गायो को चराने जाते और पढ़ के नीचे बैठकर भजन कीर्तन करते. कभी कभी दोपहर के समय गाये भी उनके आस पास आकर बैठ जाती और भजन कीर्तन सुनती.
कहते है एक बार किसी संत पुरुष ने बालक दाना को गायो के बीच कीर्तन करते देखा वे कुछ समय वह रूक गए और भजन सुनने लगे. जब उन्हें पता चला की बालक देख नहीं पता तब वे दयार्द्र हो गए उन्होंने बालक के पिता को अपने पास बुलाया और एक गाय की और संकेत करते हुए उसे दुह लेन का आदेश दिया. फिर महात्माजी उस दूध  से बालक दाना की आखे धोने लगे. कुछ ही क्षणों में बालक चिल्ला उठा - मै देख सकता हूँ. मुझे सब कुछ दिखाई देता है.
बस  उस दिन से दाना ने अपना जीवन गो सेवा के लिए समर्पित कर दिया. गो माता की सतत सेवा और गो दुग्ध सतत सेवन  से उन्हें अलौकिक सिद्धि प्राप्त होने लगी. 
एक बार दाना भगत गयो के साथ गिरनार पर्वत के आस-पास घूम रहे थे. गाये चरती हुई ऐसे स्थल  पर पहुच गयी जहा  पानी का आभाव था. वे पाने के लिए भटकने लगे. कुछ लोगो ने बताया यहाँ पानी मिलना कठिन है आप गायो को लेकर शीघ्र ही पर्वतीय प्रदेश के बहार निकल जाए, नहीं तो ये प्यास से मर जायेगे.
वे पानी की खोज करते रहे लोग भी कुतूहल वश उनके साथ चलने लगे. कुछ देर बाद भगतजी एक बड़े पत्थर के पास आकर रूक गए और लोगो से कहने लगे - आप लोग गो माता की जय बोलकर यह पत्थर हटा दे. इसके नीचे पानी का सोता है 
लोगो ने पत्थर हटाया तो उस गड्ढे में धीरे-धीरे पानी ऊपर आने लगा. भगतजी ने गयो को पाने पिलाया और दुसरे गाँव की और चल पड़े.
गिरनार पर्वत के जंगलो में आज भी वह सोता पानी से भरा पड़ा है और दाना भगत की गो सेवा की साक्षी दे रहा है.
गो सेवा से उन्हें कई प्रकार की सिद्धिय परत थे और अनेको चमत्कार की घटनाएं इनके जीवन से judee थे. सौराष्ट्र में आज भी गोसेवक दाना भगत का नाम बड़ी ही श्रद्धा से लिया जाता है.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Providing food, shelter and care for the abandoned cows

Providing food, shelter and care for the abandoned cows in VRAJRAJ GAU SEVA SADAN


 व्रज राज गौ शाला का निर्माण कार्य प्रगति पर है

मध्य प्रदेश  के कटनी  जिले के रीठी कसबे में गायो  के सरक्षण के लिए गौ शाला का निर्माण कार्य कार्य जा रहा है. इसमें  गौ वंश जो काटने के लिए जाते उनको  तथा बूढ़े, अपांग, लूले-लगदे आदि जानवरों को रखा जाएगा.
इस पुनीत कार्य के लिए पंडित जय प्रकाश अवस्थी ने ग्यारह हजार रूपये, दिनेश उपाध्याय ने पञ्च हजार रूपये, देकर काम प्रारंभ करने की प्रेरणा दी.

इसी के साथ जिन्होंने ने सामग्री दी उनके नाम इस प्रकार है
विजय जैन - एक ट्राली गिट्टी 
उत्तम पटेल - एक ट्राली गिट्टी 
पुष्पेन्द्र मिश्र - एक ट्राली रेत 
विनय जैन - एक ट्राली रेत 

मूक पशु के सरक्षण के लिए लोग आगे आकर सहयोग दे रहे है 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Cows and their offspring on the long forced march from auction in Tamil Nadu to slaughter in Kerala...
...collapse on the way, are beaten and have hot chili peppers rubbed into their eyes to make them get up.  If they don't, they are piled into trucks...
BY Dr. Michael W. Fox

India has the largest concentration of livestock in the world,(250-300 million cattle, 60 million water buffalo, 120 million goats, and 40 million sheep), having one-third of the world's cattle on approximately 3 percent of the world's land area. India is the world's second largest milk producer, with over half its milk coming from buffalo. Seventy-six percent of Indian people are rural, living in some 600,000 villages. The economic and social values of cattle are so great that cattle have long been seen as religious symbols and are regarded as sacred.
In India's villages today, one can see the close relationship between cattle and their owners who have high regard for their animals as individuals, as vital family-providers, if not also actual family members. Hence the strong resistance to killing and eating such close animal allies. But this symbiotic alliance is breaking down as larger modern dairies are established and animals' individuality is lost, and as venture capitalists purchase bullocks and carts to be rented out, or leased to individuals who are complete strangers to the animals, and who have no emotional or economic interest in them.
India's "white revolution" began in 1970, a nationwide dairy cooperative scheme called "Operation Flood" that was initiated to increase milk production and to help the poor with low interest loans for purchasing milk cows. The World Bank and the World Food Program provided most of the funds, but this scheme has caused many problems, (Crolty, 1980). Less grain and lands are available to feed people since more are diverted to feed dairy cattle owned by the rich. Also, fodder prices have increased, creating difficulties for poorer cattle owners and landless cattle owners.
But now, according to Prof. Ram Kumar of the India Veterinary Council,( personal communication), that there is only sufficient feed for sixty percent of India's cattle population. This means that of an estimated 300 million calves, bulls, and bullocks, some 120 million of these animals, especially in arid regions, and elsewhere during the dry season and droughts when fodder is scarce, are either starving or chronically malnourished.
While Moslem, Christian, Sikh, and other Indians eat meat (buffalo, sheep, and goats, whose slaughter is permitted) the majority of Indians are Hindus, for most of whom the killing of cattle and eating of beef is unthinkable because this species is regarded as the most sacred of all creatures.
Cow Worship
Cow and bull worship was a common practice in many parts of the world, beginning in Mesopotamia around 6,000 B.C. and spreading to Northwestern India with the invasion of the Indus Valley in the second millennium B.C. by Aryan nomadic pastoralists who established the Vedic religion. What is remarkable is that such worship has persisted uniquely in India to the present day. Lodrick (1981) concludes that revulsion against sacrifice, the economic usefulness of cattle and religious symbolism ( especially as the Mother-provider) were factors contributing to the formulation of the sacred cow doctrine, but it was ahimsa (the principle of non-violence/non-harming) that provided the moral and ethical compulsion for the doctrine's widespread acceptance in later Indian religious thought and social behavior.
India can be seen as two nations in one: a majority of Hindus, for whom vegetarianism is linked to caste and ritual purity; and the meat-eating Moslems, who are seen as unclean and their touch polluting, (Simoons, 1961). Moslems regard Hindu worship of temple images heathen and immoral and their democratic views contrast with the caste system of Hindus. The Hindu elite abstain from eating meat. From an ecological viewpoint and an economic one, Hindus and Moslems are highly complementary when it comes to cattle. One eats the male calves while the other takes the calves' milk.
Cow protection has become a highly politicized core of the Hindu religion. What was once a compassionate, symbiotic human-animal bond linked with virtuous behavior (personal purity) that brought with it such principles as ahimsa and vegetarianism for Hindus, and for Moslems the ritual codes of animal sacrifice that helped affirm community and family ties, has now come to serve political ends.
Religious beliefs that ultimately contradict nature's reality and which see the nature of other creatures as unclean or immoral, become life-negating rather than life-affirming, and cause great harm, (Fox 1996).
Cattle Welfare Concerns
Because of a seasonal and regional lack of fodder (and water), and because of overstocking and overgrazing, many cattle suffer from chronic malnutrition. This in turn weakens their immune systems and makes them susceptible to parasitic infestations and other diseases. Large numbers of poorly nourished cattle create a potent medium for outbreaks of infectious diseases which necessitate costly vaccinations, which are too often ineffectual due to inadequate refrigeration.
There is also the widespread belief that there is no real cattle surplus, and that India would do better with even more cattle because their organic manure is so valuable to agriculture. The environmental damage in some regions from overgrazing is especially caused by "scrub" cattle that are kept simply as manure-makers before they are driven to slaughter or die. Their sad existence in semi-starvation, often also chronically sick, will continue without mass public education and government assistance.
The overall cattle population must be reduced; and health and productivity enhanced through genetic improvement, and by better nutrition by establishing emergency fodder banks and sources of water to see them through the dry seasons; and alternative sources of income provided for farmers who are reliant upon cattle manure as a major product, as by raising milk-goats and producing more fodder.
According to India Today (January 11, 1996), "As long as 1955, an expert committee on cattle said in its report: 'The scientific development of cattle means the culling of useless banning slaughter...the worthless animals will multiply and deprive the more productive animals of any chance of development.'"
Shepard (1996) criticizes one anthropologist who wrote a long article defending the sacred cow on 'ecological' grounds as a consumer of weeds and plant materials that otherwise went to waste, because this view of the sacred cow is a flagrant but familiar abuse of the concept of ecology as maximum use instead of a complex, stable, bio-centric community.
Seeing the increasing desertification of pasture lands caused by overgrazing, and cattle having less and less grazing land as good land is put under cultivation, environmentalist Valmik Thapar foresees that if the cattle problem is not soon corrected, "Finally there will be a clash because the land mass of the country can't sustain the growing human and animal population. Then the question will arise as to who is going to eat. Man or cow?" (India Today, January 11, 1996)
Cattle Shelters
The first animal shelters in India began with the advent of Buddhism, to whom King Ashoka (269-232 BC) converted. Ashoka ruled over much of the Indian subcontinent, converting millions to accept Buddhism, and was the first to set up shelters and animal hospitals, although some historians believe that Buddha himself was the first to do so. Ashoka put compassion into action, by caring for animals in need, and into the law also, setting up wildlife preserves and punishments for those who abused and killed animals.
Gowshalas and pinjrapoles are located throughout India and are supported by taxes and charitable donations from the business community. Gowshalas are refuges for cattle, often linked with the Hindu cult of Krishna, while pinjrapoles serve as a refuge for a more diverse animal population, including birds, other wild animals, and even insects and microorganisms in collected piles of household dust. A 1955 government census found there were 3,000 animal shelters maintaining some 600,000 cattle and thousands of other animals from deer to dogs and camels to cats.
Even though Indians know that the buffalo is a better quality milk producer than most varieties of cows, buffaloes are rarely found in gowshalas because they are considered unclean and not worthy of the same respect as cows.
The Gowshala Development Scheme implemented in the 1957-1961 five-year plan to provide subsidies to improve existing gowshalas were more successful during some periods than others since their implementation.
The prevailing view that such a fate as starvation is better than having cattle defiled by the butcher's knife, does little to encourage local public support. Levying a tax on milk, hides, manure, bone and meat meal fertilizer, and taking a percent of the profits from wholesalers of these cattle products to help defray the costs of running a gowshala that serves the community, is the kind of initiative that is needed, but which politics in many regions would preclude. (Bone meal from urban cattle who live in high density traffic areas, where leaded gasoline is used, becomes potentially toxic with accumulated lead.)
According to Lodrick's study (1981),all gowshalas that keep dry cows and cattle that cannot be rehabilitated for draught work, operate at a deficit. Attempts to make them more productive are not likely to significantly reduce this deficit and so without adequate community and government funding, as is the case throughout much of India, cattle suffer a fate surely worse than the butcher's knife.
The antipathy toward cattle slaughter can have absurd and cruel consequences. For example, according to the Indian Express (Coimbatore, February 25, 1997), local authorities "tied up a huge wild bull on the rampage." It was decided to auction off the creature for slaughter, which fetched much opposition from the devout. Someone killed the bull with some poison during the night to "save it from being defiled by the butcher's knife."
In spite of the excellent research, scholarship, and dedicated field work visiting animal shelters throughout his homeland, Lodrick says nothing about the suffering of cattle in gowshalas or of other species in pinjrapoles. Lodrick sees, in spite of their economic inefficiencies, gowshalas and pinjrapoles persisting in India because cows are held to be sacred and because of the principle of ahimsa that prohibits killing, even for humane reasons. This prohibition is motivated less by compassion than by the belief that to kill is to make oneself spiritually impure.
Cattle Death Drives
Millions of old, spent cows, exhausted bullocks, and young male calves are driven on foot up to 300 miles, or are crammed into trucks for transit into Kerala, or in railroad cars to West Bengal, the two sates where cattle slaughter is legal. Their often bleeding, worn down hooves make hardly any sound as they pass by. Veterinarian Dr. Ghanshyam Sharma from Sikkim, in the Northeast of India where cow slaughter is also legal, sees cattle coming in from Jamma, Kashmir, Bihar, and Nepal. He observes, "Often entire hooves of these animals are snuffed out and gunny bags are tied around the wounded stumps and this way they walk." Many sustain injuries being loaded and off-loaded during part of the journey or die in transit. Some collapse on the way, are beaten, and even have salt and hot chilies rubbed into their eyes and have their tails hammered, twisted, and broken to make them get up and keep walking. Some of those being transported get trampled and suffocate, or have an eye gouged out by another's horn. Water and fodder are rarely provided during their long journeys, and even at rest stops. An estimated one million cattle are taken every year into Kerala from other southern states to be slaughtered", (India Today, January 11, 1996).
Journalist Subhashini Raghavan, in his expose of these cattle death marches, found a complex network of middlemen traders, "who are calloused by constant exposure to cruelty" and they develop the attitude that "if an animal is slotted for slaughter, it ceases to be a living being with pain, hunger and terror." Raghavan found that vast numbers of cattle are made to walk hundreds of miles through pedestrian side-roads to escape checkpoints, en route to regional markets from local markets and then on to transfer points where they may then be put into trucks. He concludes his article stating that, "throughout the length and breadth of this birthplace of Ahimsa, the tragic march of the condemned continues unabated -- a poignant symbol of our callousness, in even denying the last comforts and dignity of those who lived their lives serving us."(The Hindu, April 16, 1995)
Cattle shelters -- gowshalas and pinjrapoles -- cannot possibly absorb all the unwanted cows, calves, and bullocks, since the cattle population is constantly increasing because a cow must have a calf to produce milk. The ecological damage of overstocking, overgrazing, and of millions of low-yielding milk cows and "manure" cattle is turning some parts of India into desert, devoid of trees, topsoil, and wildlife. India's 40 million sheep, 120 million goats, 60 million buffalo, and expanding human population now estimated at 930 million, further compound this environmental devastation.
Cattle Slaughter
Belief in ahimsa (not harming) and in aghnya (not killing) possibly arose as a reaction against the Vedic religion and social order that sanctified animal slaughter, the Brahmins being the highest priestly order in the Hindu caste system that supervised the killing according to Harris, (1991).
Between the eighth and sixth centuries B.C. a new wave of philosophical treatises emerged that included references to ahimsa, and also reincarnation and karma, that were not included in the Vedas. These treatises, along with the emergence of the religious traditions Buddhism and Jainism that espoused ahimsa, were a challenge to orthodox Hinduism and may have led to the Brahmins prohibiting cow slaughter and promoting ahimsa. Yet still today thousands of animals -- buffalo, sheep, and goats especially -- are slaughtered in Hindu temples.
Except in West Bengal and Kerala, where cattle slaughter is permitted, the Cow Slaughter Act prohibits the killing of cattle under 16 years of age. The penalty for illegal slaughter of cattle is rigorous imprisonment for two years and a fine. Article 48 of the Constitution of India, Part IV, Directive Principles of State Policy, Article 48--Organization of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, says: "The State shall endeavor to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle
According to one government study, 50 percent of small animal slaughtering and 70 percent of large animal slaughtering is illegal, taking place in clandestine facilities where there is no supervision of hygiene, animal welfare, or meat safety inspection,( Report of the Expert Committee, 1987).
Of the 3,600 licensed abattoirs in India, only two are mechanized and hygienic, and these are facing strong public opposition (India Today, January 11, 1996).
Article 51-A (g) of the Constitution of India states, "It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment ... and to have compassion for all living creatures." This is not in keeping with the predominantly religious sentiment that interprets compassion for living creatures as "rescuing" cows and other abandoned cattle from slaughter and putting them into death camps where they starve to death or die slowly from infections and parasites.
Euthanasia of suffering animals, according to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, is allowed if "it would be cruel to keep the animal alive" but only if the court, other suitable persons or police officers above the rank of the constable concur. Because of the religious opposition to euthanasia, even of dying animals in severe pain, there is no legal requirement that the owner of such an animal should have it killed. Many orthodox Hindus and Jains oppose the killing of animals for any reason because they feel it is wrong to interfere in any way with another's karma or destiny. It would seem that the doctrine of ahimsa as it relates to the treatment of cattle has been corrupted to serve the interests of social status, caste distinctions and politics, since lower Hindu castes, tribal peoples and others do kill and consume cattle and other animals, be they healthy or in a condition that calls for immediate euthanasia.
Indians have reasoned with me that killing a sick cow is like killing your own mother and that is unthinkable, (see also Simoons, 1961).
The Animal Welfare Board of India, the chronically understaffed and under-funded government agency without any power to enforce animal protection laws, does help subsidize local Blue Cross and SPCA animal shelters and hospitals. But without more support from the central government and from foreign animal protection organizations, the plight of India's animals will worsen as the human population increases and resources become ever more scarce and costly.
Vegetarianism, Religion and Politics
Vegetarianism in India, like ahimsa, has as much, if not more, to do with concerns about reincarnation, one's personal degree of spiritual purity, and place in society (caste) than with immediate concern for animals. But it is not total vegetarianism, since dairy products are consumed by most Hindus and Jains. Few are pure vegan (eating no animal products.) Some Jains have agreed with me that to be consistent with their religious beliefs and with the ecological and economic dictates of the current situation, veganism is an ethical imperative. Abstaining from all dairy products would be more consistent with the principle of ahimsa that they hold so dear, than "saving" spent dairy cows, calves and bullocks from slaughter and condemning them to slow death by starvation in gowshalas or pinjrapoles.
Yet it is in Jainism that the principle of ahimsa was first espoused, most notably is Mahavira (599-527 BC), a contemporary of Buddha, although earlier Jain leaders (tirthankaras) well before the time of Buddha, like Parsvanatha (circa 840 BC), renounced the world and established an ascetic community that practiced ahimsa. Some contemporary Jains get around the problem of ahimsa by becoming land owners and having others do the farming, clearing the land and killing wild creatures, ploughing the land and killing worms, and using all manner of pesticides.
Jainism reached its peak between the 5th to 13th centuries AD, spreading across much of India, then was superseded by Hinduism, and then by Islam following the invasion of the subcontinent by the Moguls in the 11th century. Moslems killed and ate cattle, which was anathema to the non-tribal, upper castes of Hindu society. Cow protection and worship then gained political importance and popularity in opposition to Moslem rule and influence. Hindus and Jains will confide today that it is better to put a calf in a gowshala than have a Moslem eat it.
Cow protection became a political icon for Hindus in their conflicts with Moslems and also when under British rule. Moslems settled in India around the 13th century and can trace their roots to Mogul pastoralists and Arab-Islamic values. Their ritual slaughter of buffalo, sheep and goats is looked down on by Hindus, some castes of which, nonetheless, eat meat. According to Srinivas(1968), the whole Brahminic caste is vegetarian. Of the non-vegetarian castes, fish-eaters look down on those who eat goats and sheep, who in turn look down on eaters of poultry and pigs, who look down on beef-eaters.
Moslems, under British rule, fought successfully to have their religious freedom of ritual slaughter upheld. The British wanted pre-slaughter stunning for humane reasons, but this was not part of sacrificial ritual slaughter under Islamic law. Pre-slaughter stunning eliminates the need to cast the animal onto the ground prior to having its throat cut, thus eliminating much fear associated with being cast.
For Mohandas Gandhi, cow protection was an important aspect of Indian independence from British colonial rule, figuring in the return to traditional values. He wrote:
The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection. Cow protection to me is one of the most wonderful phenomenon [sic] in human evolution. It takes the human being beyond his species. The cow to me means the entire subhuman world. Man through the cow is enjoined to realize his identity with all that lives....Protection of the cow means the protection of the whole dumb creation of God....Cow protection is the gift of Hinduism to the world. And Hinduism will live as long as there are Hindus to protect the cow. Hindus will be judged not by their tilaks, not by the correct chanting of mantras, not by their pilgrimages, not by their most punctilious observance of caste rules but by their ability to protect the cow ( Gandhi 1954).
Srinivas (1968), believes that humanitarianism (or what I would call compassion without self-interest) is a Western value not evident in his country because India cannot yet embrace a value embodying concern for all human beings irrespective of caste, religion, age, sex and economic position; and for all beings irrespective of species, economic, religious or other human-centered value.
Lodrick,(1981), in reviewing this history of animal care and shelters in India, concludes that, "Buddhism, although the major vehicle for the spread of the ahimsa concept throughout India and indeed throughout much of Asia, never carried the doctrine to the extremes of Jainism. In Buddhist thinking, ahimsa became a positive adjunct to moral conduct stemming from the cardinal virtue of compassion, rather than the all-encompassing negative principle of non-activity of the Jains."
Humanitarian concerns over animal slaughter and attempts to modernize slaughtering facilities to make them more humane, sanitary, less wasteful and causing less pollution have been opposed by both Moslems and Hindus for religious and political reasons. Moslems see it as threatening their religious freedom (by the adoption of pre-slaughter stunning) and many Hindus see slaughter modernization as a threat to traditional values, totems, taboos, and even national identity and security.
Such opposition is reminiscent of the Hindu cow protection movement that arose in opposition to British rule and the proposed slaughter of cattle as part and parcel of economic development and modernization. Now under the pressures of trade liberalization and an emerging global market economy that is being pushed by the World Trade Organization, efforts to modernize livestock slaughter are being renewed; and opposition intensifies.
The Indian veterinary profession needs to have full government support for developing the livestock and poultry sectors not primarily to produce meat for export and urban consumption, but to integrate humane livestock and poultry husbandry practices with ecologically sound and sustainable, organic (chemical-free) crop and fodder production: and in the process enable the rural poor to become more self-reliant. It is unwise economically and ecologically, and also socially unjust, to raise any species of farm animal in India (or in any other country for that matter) primarily for meat, eggs or dairy products, (FOX 1997). More animal fat and protein for the rich means less bread or grains for the poor. A major goal should be to reduce the overall livestock population to facilitate ecological restoration. Increasing the productivity and health of milk cows and goats through selective breeding and husbandry improvements also needs more concerted and effective attention, and financing. Meat from male offspring and non-productive females ought to be a by-product rather than a primary product, and either be consumed locally or marketed to the meat-consuming sectors. The tempting rationale to raise livestock and poultry for their meat to supply urban markets and for export to gain foreign exchange revenue -- a rationale being vigorously promoted by multinational banks and transnational corporations as the way to prosperity for India and other developing countries - must be resisted, because it is not sustainable, even in the developed world.
The flaw in the principle of ahimsa, when it takes precedence over compassion is that it becomes a contradiction. By excluding compassion from ahimsa and refusing to accept humane killing of incurably sick, injured and suffering animals, the principle of ahimsa is violated. The reason for this is purely selfish (i.e., to avoid defiling oneself by defiling the animal in taking its life). This aspect of India's "sacred cow complex" cannot be subject to the light of cool reason and compassion when broached to orthodox Jains and Hindus. After all, it is against the law. Though many will accept that the economic inefficiencies of India's livestock and dairy industries are in large part due to the dilemma as to what to do with millions of nonproductive cattle that compete with productive animals for feed, water, and veterinary care, and are short-changed for economic reasons, the resistance to killing nonproductive cattle who are suffering, or have no feed, results in great suffering.
People also tend to confuse ahimsa with aghnya, the doctrine of non-killing. In the name of compassion, incurably ill and injured animals, those creatures suffering because of old age, and sometimes even those who are newborn, but can not be provided adequate food, should be humanely killed. Compassion must take precedence over both aghnya and ahimsa, otherwise India will never develop a humane and sustainable agriculture her sacred cows will continue to suffer until humanity evolves into a more empathic state, or the entire system collapses.
There are ecologically valid and humane reasons for India coming to accept the humane slaughter of cattle as a vital population-control measure, and to see the wisdom of establishing small slaughterhouses in states where cow slaughter is prohibited. There are no simple solutions to the plight of India's cows and their offspring, but with reason and compassion, much suffering could be alleviated.
Agricultural Modernization, Politics and Cattle Welfare
As India shifts to a more capital-intensive industrial agriculture, countless native cows become surplus and urban scavengers for their impoverished owners, and rare breeds become extinct. Many native peoples have been made landless by agricultural "modernization" and migrate in increasing numbers to the cities along with their few animals and possessions. The high cattle population in the nation's capital Delhi is evidence enough. In 1995 some 50 cattle per day were killed or severely injured by traffic, ( Kare Newsletter, 1995).
The Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act of 1955, which allows the slaughter of cattle that are diseased, disabled, or more than 15 years old, allegedly resulted in young, nonproductive cows having their legs hacked and broken so they could be legally slaughtered. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) banned all slaughter of the bovine species when it gained control of Delhi in 1994, purportedly to tighten various laxities in the prohibition of cow slaughter. The BJP voiced Mohandas Gandhi who told all India in 1921 that, "Hindus will be their ability to protect the cow."
During the tumultuous 1996 elections, the Vishnu Hindu Parishad (VHP) party, "ignoring the facts and problems" of cattle overpopulation, starvation, disease and suffering, according to India Today (January 11, 1996), launched an anti-cattle slaughter campaign. At a rally one sadhu exclaimed, "We shall cut off the heads of those who shed a single drop of cow's blood." Another party leader proclaimed, "The blood of cows has polluted every river."
According to India Today, the VHP claims that:
! The trembling and wailing of the cows being slaughtered lead to earthquakes.
! Cow urine can cure cancer, impotence, sexually transmitted diseases, liver problems, tuberculosis, polio and obesity.
! Eating red meat causes blindness, skin diseases and heart attacks.
! It also results in divorce because eating red meat causes precocious sensuality in children, which later leads to impotence and ultimately divorce.
Opponents believe the VHP/BJP should do something to protect starving cows that wander the streets and get killed and injured by motorists in cities like Delhi where they are in power and remember that beef is an important protein source for the poor. According to a 1992 Indian Market Research Bureau survey reported in this article, 74.2% of urban households are non-vegetarian, the majority consuming mutton, fish, and chicken, and some 12.7% beef. (How much is buffalo meat is not clear.)
When the BJP won control of the central government in May 1996, the new President Shankar Sharma announced in his opening of Parliament address a total ban nationwide on cow slaughter as one of the new government's policy agendas. One member of the opposing Congress party rose to object, saying such a policy contravened India's secular constitution, which guarantees equal rights to all religions.
India is now at a crossroads where the choice is between rural sustainability and industrial growth and productivity. It is clear which road India is now taking. India exports much animal produce -- millions of tons of dairy products, hides, bones, horns, hooves, meat, poultry and eggs -- even to developed countries like the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The toxic chemicals that most of India's tanneries continue to discharge into rivers and watersheds cause serious ecological and human health problems. While some 200 million people are malnourished in India, the country exported US$625 million worth of wheat and flour, and US$1.3 billion of rice in 1995 (Lappe et al 1998).
A letter dated June 20, 1994, addressed to me from the Secretary of the Akhil Bharat Krishi-Goseva Sangh Society of Bombay, which claims to be engaged in the preservation and protection of the "cattle wealth" of India, states:
"Our efforts towards preservation of cattle wealth at the political level are not meeting with the desired success in our country in view of the thick skinned bureaucracy and politicians who are hell bent on destroying the cattle wealth of our nation at the behest of the meat lobby, which finds enormous wealth in this activity as also at the behest of FAO, an organ of United Nations which dictates policies in third world countries, aiming at total destruction of the cattle resources of third world countries.
"However there is a silver lining to this otherwise discouraging scenario and that silver lining is in the form of our judiciary. Some time back a case instituted in a court in New Delhi involving shifting of a slaughterhouse from one area of Delhi City to another area, the Learned Judge who delivered a judgment in this case has made an excellent analysis of the whole issue and established the legal rights of animals as well as the need for conserving animals for conservation of environment. He has established that the human race, the environment and the animals are interrelated and extinction of animals will spell doom for environment and mankind."
Contrary to this Learned Judge's views on environmental conservation, an almost insoluble problem has been created by the ecological damage caused by over-gazing of cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats and their diseases and hunger, problems compounded by a lack of fodder and vital grazing land that has been taken over to grow feed and fodder for intensive modernized dairies, buffalo calf meat production and egg and poultry factories, and for cash-crops. The root of the problem is ideological, and the ideological conflicts between the reasonable and the less reasonable must be resolved. India's "cattle wealth" is first and foremost a family and community matter. The above Delhi judgment is based more on historical tradition than on reality. The expansion of the domestic animal and human populations in India will spell doom if they are not controlled. The monopolistic capitalization of India's "cattle wealth" by developing export markets that are not based on humane, sustainable and socially just methods of animal and plant production,( FOX 1997) is unwise and bioethically unacceptable.
What is called for is a unified sensibility that integrates the symbolic, material/economic, emotional, social and spiritual components of the human-cow/cattle relationship into a mutually enhancing symbiosis. The human side of the relationship is more balanced and equitable when the rights, interests, and welfare of animals are given equal and fair consideration. The ethical inconsistencies in the religious and secular communities' attitudes toward and treatment of cattle and other animals is more evident in India than in other countries precisely because India is the birthplace of the highest spiritual principles pertaining to animal welfare and yet they are not always put into practice, creating an essentially schizoid situation between the ideal and the real.
Caring for animals and caring for people, for the poor and the hungry, go hand in hand as part of the humane agenda of any democratic society. While this article focuses particularly on India's cattle, the plight of these creatures mirrors the plight of the poor. There are no miracle remedies for hunger and poverty from advances in technology, science, or medicine. The miracle will come not via genetic engineering of animals and plants but through the transformation of humanity into a compassionate, empathic, and responsible life form. A mutually enhancing symbiosis with the Earth community of plants and animals, both wild and domesticated, is our only viable future. Our hope lies in our capacity to reconnect empathically with all living beings and to use sound science and policies as our instruments, and compassion as our compass.

पेड़ जो जगा देंगे आपका सोया भाग्य

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