India has more than 4000 Gaushalas (cow shelters) in its length and breadth. Most of these take care of the old and hapless cattle. However, interspersed amongst these, there are around 200 exemplary Gaushalas that show the path to developing the Indian cow – whatever its numbers and capacities – as a self-reliant animal.
Self-reliance comes from using the cow-dung as source of fuel, bio-gas, clean energy and organic manure; cow-urine as bio-pesticide and raw-material for Panchgavya medicines; and, indigenous cow milk as a therapeutic and nutritious product with immunomodulatory strength for the human body. Through such value-addition (followed in many Gaushalas), utilization of bulls in the lean period (e.g. Kanpur Gaushala), genetic selection of young calves (e.g. Radhanpur Gaushala), many Gaushalas are now financially self-sustaining Exemplary Gaushalas
Several Gaushalas in the country have followed innovative methods for raising output from cows and bulls e.g. enhanced utilization of bull power for rural activities and electricity generation (Kanpur Gaushala Society, Kanpur, UP), production of bulls for export to other states (Shaladeri Gaushala, Haryana), production of Methane, LPG and liquid Carbon Dioxide from gobar gas (Sri Gobind Gaushala, Gorakhpur, UP), and production of panchgavya medicines, vermi-compost and bio-pesticide for use in natural and organic agriculture. By using such means many more Gaushalas have become self-reliant, notably among them are GoVigyan Anusandhan Kendra, Devlapar, Nagpur (MH), Sri Geeta Gaushala, Surbhi Gram, Dagmagpur (UP), Geeta Press Gaushala, Gorakhpur (UP), GoSamvardhan, Govansh Vikas evam Anusandhan Kendra, Deen Dayal Shodh Sansthan, Chitrakut (UP), Gayatri Tapobhumi, Shantikunj, Haridwar (UT), Bafna Go Seva Anusandhan Kendra, Jalgaon (MH), Adarsh Go Seva evam Anusandhan Kendra, Akola (MH), Keshav Srishti Gaushala, Bhayandar, Mumbai (MH), Kamdhenu Gram Vikas evam aarogyadham, Chakulia (JH), and Durgapura Gaushala, Jaipur (RJ). Large scale practice of such value additions would also raise farmers’ income from livestock and his acceptance to maintain the cows, retain the breeds and help in conservation.
Under the Indian scenario and over the ages, a cow has developed more as a mother of bull calf rather than as a producer of milk. The recent increase in mechanization of agriculture has reduced in the requirement of bulls. In plain areas, and with partial mechanization in hilly and remote areas, bulls are required for only a few months in a year and the farmers find it difficult to maintain the bulls for a whole long year. Noting this, Kanpur Gaushala have developed a system to use the bulls for village activities like lifting water, chaff cutting, and even generation of electricity like charging the inverter for subsequent use. The bulls can be put to gainful use for 3-4 hours every day during the lean season. As observed in villages, bullocks are made to walk in a circular path (having a diameter of about 6 meters), thereby the bullocks can generate 1½ to 2 RPM (revolutions per minute) which is sufficient for some village activities like crushing sugarcane or lifting water from shallow wells. Such low RPM, however, is not sufficient for other demanding rural agricultural operations presently carried out by diesel power. In order to raise the RPM, Kanpur Gaushala has taken a lead and developed appropriate gear-instruments which raised the output to 400 RPM that is sufficient for operations like pumping out water from deep wells, running ‘atta-chakki’ etc. Through mechanical means, the output was further raised to 1800 RPM to generate and store electricity in ‘inverter’ for subsequent use. Some other Gaushalas have implemented the technology and raised the utility of bulls. This above scheme raises the hope of utilizing the bullocks in their lean period (when bullocks are not required for field operations and have to be fed by the farmers without any output) and reducing the dependence on the already rationed pole-electricity. At present around 57% of the country’s land is cultivated by bulls including the entire hilly and remotely located areas. Enhancement in the utility of bulls and increased benefit to farmer would raise the demand for bulls and Gaushalas would be benefitted by meeting the demand. Use of bulls is environment friendly, the dung/Urine are used for organic farming and there is reduced dependence on fossil fuel. According to an estimate (Patel, 2005), India will need 41 million draft animals in 2020 and 35 million in 2060. Gaushalas can gear up to meet the demand and gain self-sufficiency in the process.
Panchgavya is the product prepared from five ingredients all taken from indigenous cow: milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine. The product has variously been shown to be effective in human ailments (Chauhan 2001-2007). The cow urine distillate has been found to increase immunity in mice. It also increases the phagocytic activity of macrophages and secretion of interleukin 1 and 2. Recently, the cow urine has also been granted U.S. patent for its synergistic properties with antibiotics and as bio-enhancer. Indian scientists have obtained US patent (No. 6410059 dated 25.6.2002) on a pharmaceutical composition comprising cow urine distillate (Dhama et al.2005). Another US Patent was granted for anti-cancerous properties of cow urine (Patent No. 6896907, dated May 24, 2005). Several Gaushalas are engaged in preparation of Panchgavya products and maintain track record of their effective use on patients. Some notable Gaushalas are:
1. Kanpur Gaushala Society, Kanpur
2. Go-Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra, Devlapar, Nagpur
3. Keshav Srishti Gaushala, Bhayandar, Mumbai
4. Adarsh Go Seva evam Anusandhan Kendra, Akola
5. Deen Dayal Shodh Sansthan, Chitrakut
6. Bafna Go Seva Anusandhan Kendra, Jalgaon
7. Kamdhenu Gram Vikas evam aarogyadham, Chakulia
8. Sri Krishan Gaushala, Durg
9. Gaushala Society, Panipat
10. Madhav GoVigyan Anusandhan Kendra, Bhilwara
11. Durgapura Gaushala, Jaipur
By preparing Panchgavya products and other positive means, many of these Gaushalas are now self-reliant. It is high time certification and standardization for the preparation of Panchgavya medicines is made available so that small and big Gaushalas can take to preparing Panchgavya products and gain self-sufficiency.
Indigenous cow milk is known to have higher therapeutic values. Vechur cow milk is in demand to meet the medical requirement of patients in Kerala. Several studies have confirmed that indigenous cow milk is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, has higher CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), and MDGi – a protein that suppresses cancer. It also has an agent (Stron-tn) that provides protection from atomic radiations. It has higher levels of certain cerebrocides that increase human brain power, sharpen intellect, give swiftness to body and stability of emotions. Milk from indigenous breed cows is of much higher value than the price it is tagged with. There is a need to change the present system of pricing milk based on fat percentage (which favours buffaloes) and ignores the above therapeutic qualities of indigenous cow milk. Gaushalas maintain indigenous cows and provide cow milk for use as a medicine. A nearby Gaushala is sometimes the only source of indigenous cow milk.
Cow dung is a valuable by-product and has multifarious uses. It keeps environment free from pollution, clears air of germs and does not allow any radiation effect. It turns rotting vegetation from spoiling and turns it into compost. Covering of seeds with dung before sowing improves their germination. In general, cow dung is used as (i) Fuel (in the form of ‘upla’) (ii) Manure (compost & vermin-compost) and (iii) For the production of Bio-Gas, Methane, CNG etc.
(i) Cattle produce dung-ultimately used as fuel-worth Rs. 2000 crore per annum in India, and saves on the foreign exchange required for import of petroleum products. Dung as fuel meets the local energy requirements, and saves the expenditure on fuel material. Cow dung has medium burning temperature which is convenient for retention of nutrients. In addition to the domestic front, ‘Upla’ are now plenty in use in industries as well. In ponds, cow dung neutralizes pond’s acidity. In recent years, strong bricks have been made by using cow dung mixed with mud (e.g. Kanpur Gaushala).
(ii) Cattle produce dung – ultimately used as manure – worth Rs. 2500 crore every year. Use of cow dung as manure reduces the requirement on chemical fertilizers while, at the same time, contributes to eco-friendly organic agriculture and natural farming. Vermi-composting improves the manure-quality and availability of nutrients to plants. Cow dung has specifically been used to prepare amrit-pani whereby 5 kg indigenous cow dung is sufficient to meet manurial requirements of one hectare. Other forms of value added manure/compost (like Nadep Khad, Matka Khad) are also prepared in Gaushalas. It is claimed that such manure prepared from the indigenous cow dung is superior in quality. Manure supports earthworms grow and the nutrients in it are in an acceptable form for the rootlets of plants.
(iii) Cow dung is used in the preparation of bio-gas which finds various uses like fuel and light. Recently, bio-gas has been isolated into methane and CO2 (Gorakhpur Gaushala). Bio-gas is passed through cylinders to cleanse H2S gas and water vapour, and then, methane and CO2 are separated out through chemical means. Methane is compressed and bottled in cylinders that are put to use for running auto and car. The liquefied CO2 is a value added product having industrial use. CNG has also been prepared from Bio-Gas and used in vehicles like a car (Jamnagar Gaushala).
Importance of cow urine has been better understood only in the recent years even though it has been mentioned in Sushruit Samhit and Ashtang Sangrah. Through the immuno-modulatory properties of the cow-urine (Chauhan, 2007), it cures human ailments and has the capacity to enhance body’s immunity. It is effective against tuberculosis and cancer and enhances the impact of vaccinations. It has been shown to act as blood purifier, cures leucorrhoea, cleans intestines, removes deposits, cures itching, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, giddiness, cough, urinary problems etc. It also prevents free radical formation and postpones ageing. It has bactericidal activity, activates macrophages and augments engulfment power. Cow urine has copper as a constituent that acts as antidote and kills drug resistant bacteria & viruses. It also has uric acid and dissolves stones in kidney/gall-bladder. Use of cow urine raises immune-potentiating property and also reduces immune suppressive effects of chemical pesticides. In agriculture, it is a valuable bio-pesticide, and unlike the chemical pesticides, it doesn’t accumulate in food chain. Proper use of cow urine in agriculture and human health will be all the more important in view of WHO observation that by 2020AD the microorganisms will be resistant to the existing antibiotics.
Each Gaushala – it has been revealed recently– has some 10 percent (10P) indigenous cows that are local purebreds (or closely so). These purebreds can be perpetuated to raise purity in the Gaushala by keeping them in a separate shed (10P Barn) and ensuring same breed bull for them. In a recent study (NBAGR, 2006), certain Gaushalas have been noted as potential centres for breed conservation and improvement. In a set of large sized Gaushalas in four states (Haryana, UP, Gujarat and Rajasthan) it was recorded that 22% of the total stock in the Gaushalas was purebred belonging to Sahiwal, Kankrej, Tharparkar or Hariana breeds. It was estimated that around a thousand Gaushalas in the country have the capacity to conserve the local indigenous breeds. Moreover, the selection of progeny in the 10P barn can be directed to raising milk yield to meet the requirements of the burgeoning human population in the country. The selected male calves/future bulls from the 10P Barn can be gainfully used in the remaining of the Gaushala, surrounding smaller Gaushalas and in the surrounding villages for genetic improvement of cattle.
Indigenous cow milk has medicinal and therapeutic qualities, cow-urine is useful as bio-pesticide and has immuno-modulatory and useful medicinal properties, cow-dung has several uses notably manure and energy-source, bullocks can be used in the lean period for rural activities and electricity-generation. Gaushalas are showing path breaking methods for enhanced utilization of cow products and by-products, and becoming self-reliant. Moreover, the indigenous cow system is rural oriented, the improvements and benefits will accrue to the rural system in an eco-friendly manner.
Written By Rajaram Dasa