Importance of Cow, the sacred Animal
Dharam Raj Ranka says cows needs to be protected from butchers and slaughter houses. There is a need for more cow shelters to come up everywhere to rescue cows from being slaughtered. The Supreme Court of India has stated that cows should not be slaughtered in the name of religion in the country. Let us return the cow to its rightful place, culturally, religiously and economically, he says. In India, the cow represents the sacred principle of motherhood. She symbolizes charity and generosity because of the way she distributes her milk, which is essential for the nourishment of the young. Like many societies in the world, we consider Cows to be “wealth”. Whether its measured in stones (jades, diamonds), metals (gold, silver, bronze), skins / furs, feathers (quetzal feathers in South America), shells, silks, weapons or animals (elephants, cows), wealth is wealth. Cows are a measure of wealth as they provide
01. Milk which helps sustain life, life of adults and children alike. Milk is considered as wholesome food. While the bull ploughs the field, helping to provide the grains, the cow supplies milk from which many dairy products are produced. Day to day, year after year, the cow and bull are the centre of rural Indian life.
02. The by-products of the milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, butter etc. are an integral part of everybody’s daily diet.
03. Their dung is a useful too, ensuring year around fuel supply.
04. Being tame, they are an excellent beasts of burden, and, by pulling carts and ploughs, they are partners in technology that helped develop rural India.
05. Even after death, their skins are useful. Their usefulness meant they were valued as highly as any gold, gem.
With time passing, other modes of wealth took greater precedence than the cow. Milk and dung are still an essential to the rural masses. Rituals still require milk and its by-products, especially in Hinduism.
Due to cow’s multi-purpose usefulness, it became a “good luck charm”. If a cow passes you, it is considered to be good luck. If a black cat can be interpreted as bad luck in 21st century Europe, why can’t a cow be considered as lucky in modern India, he questions.
The Indian farmer sees his cattle like members of the family. Since the farmers depend on the cattle for their own livelihood, it makes perfect sense both economically and emotionally to see to their well-being.
Cattle are India’s greatest natural resource. They eat only grass — which grows everywhere — and generates more power than all of India’s generating plants. They also produce fuel, fertilizer, and nutrition in abundance. India runs on bullock power. Some 15 million bullock carts move approximately 15 billion tons of goods across the nation. Newer studies in energetics have shown that bullocks do two-thirds of the work on the average farm. Electricity and fossil fuels account for only 10%. Bullocks not only pull heavy loads, but also grind the sugarcane and turn the linseed oil presses. Converting from bullocks to machinery would cost an estimated $30 billion plus maintenance and replacement costs.
The biggest energy contribution from cows and bulls is their dung. India’s cattle produce 800 million tons of manure every year. Cow’s dung, far from being contaminating, instead possesses antiseptic qualities. This has been verified by modern science. Not only is it free from bacteria, but it also does a good job of killing them, informs Mr. Ranka.
Most of the dung is used for fertilizer at no cost to the farmer or to the world’s fossil fuel reserves. The remainder is used for fuel. It is odourless and burns without scorching, giving a slow, even heat. A housewife can count on leaving her pots unattended all day or return any time to a preheated griddle for short-order cooking. To replace dung with coal it would cost India $1.5 billion per year, says Mr. Ranka.
Dung is also used for both heating and cooling. Packed on the outside walls of a house, in winter it keeps heat, and in summer produces a cooling effect.
Cow urine has medicinal value. Scientists at the Centre for Medicinal Plants in Lucknow say distilled cow urine enhances the effects of any medicine and is used in traditional Indian medicine along with dung and fat. The U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) granted the U.S. Patent, 6410059, titled “Pharmaceutical Compositions containing Cow urine Distillate and An Antibiotic”. The U.S. Patent made us realize that all traditional practices from Indian Systems of Medicine have a strong scientific base, says Mr. Ranka.
The price we pay for killing cows and meat eating is degradation of the environment, Mr. Ranka informs. Slaughterhouses are a major source of water pollution. In a book “Population, Resources and Environment”, Paul and Anne Ehrlich found that to grow one pound of wheat requires only 60 pounds of water, whereas production of a pound of meat requires anywhere from 2,500 to 6,000 pounds of water.
In 1973, the New York Post revealed that one large chicken slaughtering plant in America was found to be using 100 million gallons of water daily. The same volume would supply a city of 25,000 people!
The great Greek philosopher Socrates recommended a vegetarian diet because it would allow a country to make the most intelligent use of its agricultural resources, reminds Mr. Ranka.
Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’, after regaining Delhi in 1857 for a brief interlude, made the killing of cow a capital offence. Bahadur Shah was not the first Mughal king to make such a proclamation. Babur may have been an ardent Ghazi of Islam, but he, in his letter dated 935 Hijri, advocated his son Humayun to stop cow slaughter in India. As recorded in his famous firman of 1586, Akbar too completely forbade cow slaughter throughout his empire. Then Emperor Jehangir promulgated an order that on Sundays, when Akbar was born, and Thursdays, when Jehangir ascended to the throne, no animal should be sacrificed. Even bigoted Aurangazeb always refrained from making cow-sacrifice during Bakr-Id. We are also aware how in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom the only crime that had capital punishment was cow slaughter, says Shri Dharam Raj Ranka.
Even Albert Einstein, in a letter to Sir CV Raman, wrote: “Tell the people of India, that if they want to survive and show the world path to survive, then they should forget about tractor and preserve their ancient tradition of ploughing.”
To procure 1 kg of beef it takes 7 kg of crops and 7,000 kg of water. This contributes to water shortage in regions where beef is prevalent.
Mr. Ranka reminded of scientist James Watson Scott who noted long back that if food shortages were to be banished from populous countries, the food habits of the people should be altered to vegetarianism, which is fast catching up in Europe. Thus protection of cow makes good economic and ecological sense.
Even Jackie Chan, a well known actor and martial artist urged Union Government to fight the widespread corruption and illegal practices that permeate the cruel transport and slaughter of cattle in India-animals whose skin and flesh end up for sale in Asia, the United States, Europe and throughout the world.