Report on Cow Based Rural Development Seminar
By HariKirtan Das
Recently I got an opportunity to attend the conference on Rural development based on cows, conducted by National Institute for Rural Development (NIRD) & Panchayati raj (Ministry for Rural Development, Government of India) Rajendranagar, Hyderabad on 3rd of November, 2016.
As a pleasant surprise, I met Rupavilas prabhu (Venumadhuri trust director) who was also giving a seminar sharing his experience about Venumadhuri NGO activities. Seminar was well organized by NIRD inviting the elite group consisting of Senior IAS officers, scientists, doctors, scholars, NGO’s directors. I was the only odd man out representing a spiritual organization. It took me a while to convince the gate keeper to allow me in as he couldn’t believe that in saffron robes I was also a participant.
The seminar begun with welcome speech by the coordinator of the seminar Dr. Siddayya and NIRD Director General W.R Reddy (IAS). The gist of the speech was how awareness about multi usages of cow products was growing and the the need of scientific world to support it by standardization and scientific validation of the cow products for safe and mass consumption. Later Sri T.Vijay Kumar (IAS Retrd.) gave the key note address. His speech was astounding and applauded by many participants. He basically sounded antagonistic towards the modern agricultural practices and green revolution program which was taken up in India. He scientifically explained the fallacies in modern agriculture and environmental hazards due the so called Green revolution program and also eulogized the Vedic system of agriculture, especially the cow based agriculture. He shared his personal experience of training around five thousand farmers in Kakinada (a big city in Andhra Pradesh) in cow based agriculture and the miraculous results in applying the age old system. Mr. T. Vijay Kumar who retired after chairing many Government organizations is presently the Chief Advisor for Rural Development, especially for Agriculture in Andhra Pradesh, to the Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Sri N.Chandrababu Naidu.
After a short break, seminar again continued, Mr. K.B Narayana shared his experience about the important role of cow for sustainable agriculture. Then Mr. R. Mallikarjuna Reddy presented a talk on the Livestock production systems and the status of indigenous cow. Later Dr.Saibutcha Rao gave an interesting talk on curing diabetes by using cow ghee. He brought the cured patients who shared their personal experience how cow ghee had miraculously helped them cure the deadly diabetes disorder.
The session ended for lunch and it resumed allowing me to give the first afternoon seminar. I spoke on Developing Sustainable Communities based on Mother Cow. I shared the activities of IDVM-India (ISKCON Daiva Varnashrama Ministry) and OM Sri Surabhi Campaign. After the seminar some delegates passed positive comments on ISKCON’s activities. Later there was talk on therapeutic uses of cow urine by research scientists. Later I couldn’t attend the rest of the seminars as I had to leave to Chirala for Srila prabhupada’s disappearance day celebrations.
Following are some of the remarks made by some delegates in personal meeting with them.
* Mr. Mohan Rao (one research scientist) commented that I thought ISKCON is only into building big temples, but I am pleasantly surprised that they are actively involved in Agriculture and Cow care.
* One delegate I couldn’t get his name said that ISKCON is doing great service in restoring the lost Vedic culture in a big way.
* Mr. P.Venugopal Reddy (Chairman of Ekalavya Foundation), NGO offered to work with ISKCON in the matter of Cow protection.
* Dr. W.R Reddy (Director General of NIRD) expressed his willingness to extend his cooperation to rural development activities taken up by ISKCON.
* Sri T.Vijay Kumar actively involved in training farmers in cow based agriculture gave invitation to join his training program.
* Dr. Siddayya, the coordinator commented that he was deeply touched by hearing how care for Mother Cow can stop cultural degradation.
Overall it was a pleasant experience that the educationists are seriously thinking about Cow care. There was also a revolutionary proposal that in future a university should be developed to simply study Mother Cow.
Om tat sat.
Below is the Power Point Presentation prepared for seminar as requested by NIRD for their publications.
Caring for Cows
In this age of rapid industrialization and unprecedented communication explosion, human values have been distinctly neglected. Though there are advertisements exclaiming advancement in comfortable and happy living conditions, but the facts give a strikingly different picture as we keep hearing the horrendous stories of increasing new facets of violence, dwindling health status of the people mainly due to psycho-somatic diseases, diminishing social, moral and culture values and alarming environment hazards. If we probe into the matter logically from Vedic perspective, the root cause of all problems becomes very evident. One of the prominent factors is the neglect of Mother Cow.
From the spiritual perspective, cow plays a vital role in providing core ingredients for worship. The worship becomes redundant without those ingredients. Cow largely influenced social life and economy in the ages when Bharath was the place for peace and prosperity, attracting the attention of the whole world. The intellect of the people has pathetically stooped low as cow is seen simply as food rather than provider of food. The Vedic scriptures describe cow to be the dearest pet animal of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, whose insignificant portion of energies engage in creation, maintenance and destruction of numberless universes. One can imagine the magnitude of offense committed to the Mighty Lord by mistreating His cows.
Therefore the mankind needs focused training in taking care of cows. This would be for the good of the whole existence whether it be humans, animals or cosmos as a whole, lest it would all be at stake. Following are some observations on present status of Cow Care and the actions undertaken to protect cow and what more can be done.
* Cows, world wide, are mostly seen as food (beef), now even in India (which has good standing in the world trade in exporting beef).
* Even if cows are taken care, this is also only until she gives milk (milk giving machine) and later they are neglected or sent to slaughter houses.
* Indigenous cows are replaced by other cross bred cows or buffalos for getting high milk yield.
* Consumption of cow milk is discouraged due to some misconceptions like cow milk creates more heat in the body. Meanwhile buffalo milk is widely used. Now a days people prefer buffalo milk because of its high fat content.
* The methods adopted for slaughtering cows are very heinous.
* Due to mechanized agriculture, bulls are out of work and thus they are ill-treated more than cows.
* Situation of cows on the street is very miserable. We see cows usually feeding on filth, plastic and other toxic material.
* Cow according to Vedic texts is to be treated as mother, but their getting beaten up or getting ill treated in many ways is a common sight in many streets all over India.
* The land officially allocated for cow grazing is encroached and used for purposes different from the actual cause.
* Huge consumption of junk food and synthetic foods has also resulted in loss of general interest to consume sattvik food like cow milk or cow milk based products.
* Rapid dwindling down of villages and village population is also an important cause for neglect in Cow care.
Ongoing activities to protect Cows:
* Awareness programs about the importance of cows are conducted widely across the country (India) by many organizations (like Sri Govind Gau Gram Prachar Yatra undertaken by ISKCON Daiva Varnasrama Ministry- India, OM (Our Mother) Sri Surabhi global Campaign undertaken by IDVM-India and many more ).
* Various cow products like milk products and pachagavya medicines are brought in use all over the world especially in India.
* Many goshalas are established hosting varieties of indigenous breeds.
* There are focused efforts to preserve the existing indigenous breeds.
* Lot of advance research works are undertaken to validate and support the therapy using panchagavya
* There are revolutionary usage of cow dung and urine in agriculture as natural fertilizers and pesticides proving to give far better yields compared to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
* There are many inspiring speeches, articles and books written by many cow lovers invoking good sentiments and reverence for cows.
What more can be done:
* Awareness programs to be organized on war footing without presenting the cows just for her valuable products, rather as a prime parameter to restore the quickly degrading Vedic culture.
* Regular worship of the Sacred Cow has to be encouraged in every house hold.
* The advantages of using bulls in agriculture and in other traditional occupation (eg.oil ghani) as against the machines needs to be propagated widely.
* Individuals especially the village dwellers and more so farmers have to be encouraged to keep cows and caring for them as their own family members.
* Usage of cow products has to be promoted more widely.
* Caution has to be exercised in accepting only ahimsa milk or cow products.
* Distinguishing the nutritional values of A1 and A2 milk types
* Promotion of cow products especially cow urine and dung based agriculture, as the only hope and resort to the distressed farmer, especially in India.
* Setting up Panchagavya therapy Clinics and hospitals.
* Holding different seminars and workshops for the people from different backgrounds to study the importance of cow and get trained in preparing different products made out of panchagavya whether it be medicines or agriculture needs or food products.
* Attractive fairs, expos and exhibitions displaying cow products can be set up to give exposure to the common man.
* A curriculum could be developed and introduced in the Universities to exclusively study the holy cow.
* Many more articles and books explaining glories of cows need to be printed and distributed widely.
* Developing existing village communities or creating new communities based on the principle of “Simple living and High thinking”, which focuses on depending on land and cow to procure all our material needs.
* The affluent class should step forward to adopt villages, especially adopting the cows to assist the auspicious program of Cow-seva and thus restoring the lost prosperity of villages.
* Keeping and caring for cows should become the sign of prosperity.
* Of all the above measures, the quickest way is to work towards raising our consciousness from temporary, destructive material consciousness to eternal, all pleasing God consciousness. In this matter ISKCON, a spiritual organization promoting Krishna (Supreme God) consciousness has changed many people in huge numbers from varied cultural backgrounds all over the world from passionate cow meat eating to divine cow worshiping.