Characteristics of Cow
Indian Cow Breed
- The Indian cow belongs to Bass Indicus variety.
- High shoulder, flappy under-neck, and Suryaketu nerve on the back are easy differentiators of the variety.
- It is believed that Suryaketu nerve absorbs medicinal essences from atmosphere and makes milk, urine and cow dung more nourishing.
- High shoulder, flappy hanging dewlaps under-neck, and long ears increase the area of skin that sweats and keeps the body cooler. This is apt for our climate.
- Sweat glands are wider and the sweat is aromatic, protecting from monsoon-insects.
- The cow drives away insects by swift muscle movements
- With small hair, skin remains clean.
- With all these uniqueness, an Indian ox can work with comfort in rain and shine.
- Long enough to touch ground.
- Tail joint is unique and allows swirling around till the neck.
- It also swats flies and insects.
- Oined, does not gather twigs and dirt.
- Indian ox has smaller and strong hoof. This is suited for ploughing and pulling cart.
- Some of the Indian varieties can work without horse-shoes.
- Unlike tractor, the ox does not harden the top soil and kill the helpful insects.
- Different actions and features of the body are controlled by chromosomes.
- As a cow would always have adequate quantity of chromosome, there is no infertility for generations.
- Basal metabolic rate(BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment.
- Indian cow has a lower BMR. In draught it can survive with small quantity of food.
- Though it becomes weaker then, it recovers fast when it gets nourishment.
- Such temporary difficulties do not later affect its milk yield or fertility.
Immunity to Disease
- Cows are born with immunity to diseases. There is no difference between the ones grazing in the fields or kept in the sheds.
- This reduces the expenditure on their medical care.
- For this reason, America and Europe import Indian cows, cross breed with local variety to improve their immunity.
- Indian ox has strong muscles and long legs. They work for long hours in difficult conditions.
- High shoulder holds the plough well.
- Cows can be housed in very ordinary shed and even under a tree.
- Some Indian varieties require very little food.
- In villages they generally roam around fields and forests through the day.
Gir – Best Milking Breed
- Some Indian breed cows give up to 20 litres of milk per day.
- Main varieties of Indian milch cows are Gir, Sahival, Tharparker, Rati and Sindhi.
- We can improve other breeds by better care and nourishment.
- Constitutes cow urine, cow dung, milk, curd and ghee.
- Used as food, medicine, manure and insecticide.
- They increase immunity to diseases.
- Without side effects, they fight cancer, hypertension, skin diseases, and urinary diseases.
Sixth Sense of Cow
- Cow has a sharp sixth sense. As per an epic story, the cow could once talk. It predicted an impending accident to its master and helped him avoid it. The God then made the cow dumb for changing what was destined.
- Cows respond to the joy and suffering of people. There are many examples of cows shedding tears and even refusing food empathising with their masters.
- Lathur in Maharashtra had a devastating earthquake on 30 September 1993. Devani breed of cows in that place had been behaving strange, crying and jumping around a few days before this as a warning to the people. We could not decipher the message.
- Similar things happened before Tsunami in 2004 too. Then, Baraguru, Amblacheri and Kangayam breed of cows behaved strangely. We could not get the message again.
During the last few decades the dependence on cows as the base of our agriculture reduced drastically due to:
- Mechanization of farmingM
- Use of chemical fertilizers
- Slaughter of cows for meat and leather industries
- Urbanization and increased demand for land
- Emphasis on high milk yielding foreign breeds
Absence of manpower at the village level and loss of grazing lands added to the problems and our Bharathiya cows got eliminated.
DESI COW & CROSS BREED COW
As of Livestock Survey 2003, there are 18, 52, 00,000 Farm Animals in India. With the improved production potentials of our livestock and poultry, livestock farming has become economically viable and remunerative. In India, Farmers depend on Bharathiya Cow. Cows have been used in agriculture, dairy farming and transportation. In cow based economy, cow dung and urine are the major components. Next comes bullock energy and the last is the milk yield. Unfortunately due to wrong policies, milk yield has been given the priority and hence Policy makers are promoting crossbreed cows for more milk yield compromising on the quality of milk. The quality of milk of Bharathiya cow is healthy (type A2) and most suitable for human consumption. The Panchagavya medicines are based only on the products of Bharathiya Cows.
Characteristics of Bharathiya Cow
- Bos Indicus Variety
- Hump on their shoulders ( Thimizh/Thimil )
- Large dewlap – The skin under the neck region falls loosely in folds
- Drooping ears
Advantages of Bharathiya Cow
- Low Cost of Maintenance
- High immunity levels
- Highly adaptable to high temperatures
- Farmed throughout the tropical countrie
Characteristics of Cross Breed Cow
- Bos Indicus Variety
- Product of man’s greed – result of cross breeding of a cow and some other animal and created mainly for beef in western countries
- They have totally different characteristics & are not suitable for Farming & transportation
- Cannot withstand high temperatures in India
- Unnatural growth & produce high quantity but not healthy milk, mostly A1 type – cause for number of major diseases
- Bull Calves are sent for slaughter for calf leather
- In most cases the banned drug “oxitocin” is injected to the cows to produce more milk weakening them and affecting our health
Go-Samrakshanam (Cow Protection) are needed to reverse the cross breeding culture with the use of Bharathiya bulls so that over a period of time all the cows will be Bharathiya cow breeds.
COW & DIVINITY
In India, the cow is treated as Gou-Mata, Kamadhenu – the wish fulfiller. She is supposed to have in her all the Gods and Goddesses that Hindus believe in. What is the quality that makes her so divine? It is the fact that she is the creation of God who inspires us to be Charitable. But more than anything else, the fact that the cow allows us to share her milk, which should have been only for the calf, is the quality which endears most to us.
Cow is charity personified. It must have been this quality which endeared to the Gods too when Kamadhenu appeared in front of them during Sagar Manthan (the churning of the oceans). It is believed that all Gods made a bee-line for residing in the cow. Goddess Lakshmi and Ganga Mata too wanted to reside in the cow. But both saw each other coming from opposite ends and both wanted to approach the cow more gracefully than the other. This resulted in both being the last of the Gods to reach Kamadhenu & every part of her body was fully occupied. The only things that remained unoccupied were the urine and the dung. Ganga Mata decided to reside in the urine. Because of this, the cow’s urine is supposed to have medicinal qualities. It is also used as a purifier for ‘Aatma Shudhi’ ie., for cleansing of our body and mind before any Puja. Lakshmi Mata decided to reside in the cow-dung. As a result, the cow-dung is used as a fertilizer to increase production of crops (Dhaanya), as a purifier of the homes. People still clean the area of a ‘Yagna’ or ‘Homa’ or Puja-sthal and also floors of homes or the ‘aangan’ (courtyard) with a bit of cow-dung mixed with water; the dung is also considered to have anti-bacterial properties. It is also a well-researched fact that the cow dung has properties which protect against radiation. Probably our ancestors knew about its good qualities and therefore only cow-dung is used as a fuel for ‘Homa’ in the event of the correct wood not being available (wood from all trees are not used for Homa/sacrificial fires).
The bull also has its role to play. Not just is it an animal which carries load, it also helps in watering the fields and ploughing the fields. It has a unique quality of fertilizing the fields while ploughing – it urinates in patches, not continuously, but copiously. This leads to the ground becoming more soft and fertile. Among all the charities that a Hindu is supposed to make, Bhoo Daan (giving away land), Kanya Daan (giving a daughter in marriage) and Gou Daan (giving away a Cow in charity) are considered to be the holiest. If one will look at them carefully, one will know that all these ‘Daans’ are those which help one lead a good life. Without a plot of land, a wife & family and a cow & a bull, agrarian India would never be able to survive well. Probably all these were encouraged to help all sections of society lead a stable life. Live and let live.
When we visualize Krishna, we visualize Him as with a cow in the background. When we talk of Bal Gopal, we visualize Him eating butter and drinking buttermilk. Lord Krishna is known as Gopal – the cowherd. How could He have chosen this for His identity if He did not see the Divine in the Cow? The churning of buttermilk to get butter is symbolic of the churning of our lives, our emotions, to get our Pure Soul above the clutter – just like butter rises and floats on the surface. Let us all join in praying to the Divine Cow to lead us to enlightenment, to charity, to love for all.
COW & AGRICULTURE
From time immemorial, India has been an agrarian country and the cow has been the backbone of our agriculture. When fertilizers and tractors were unknown, cow was the only source sustaining the entire agriculture.
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 does not affect these helpful insects
- Dung from one cow is adequate to fertilize 5 acres of land and its urine is can protect 10 acres of crop from insects
- Oxen do not pollute the atmosphere
India has been a land of surpluses in food grains and cow based agriculture has never failed us. It is time that we realize the contribution of cows and go back to our time tested traditional farming techniques for a sustainable future. Traditional cow based organic farming is the solution for the future. However difficult it may appear, we must pursue this.
COW & MEDICINE/HEALTH
World Health Organization (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.
Ancient books on Ayurveda state that consumption of cow urine increases resistance to diseases by up to 104%.
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 & ENVIRONMENT
Cow products are environment friendly and have no adverse impact on the environment. Most of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have detrimental effect on soil as well as water quality and have been the major source of environmental pollution and diseases. In contrast, all the products from the cows are environment friendly and their use enriches the soil. In fact, cow dung and the cow urine along with other organic matters are foremost among known substances that improve and sustain soil quality and fertility. Cow dung is a very good disinfectant. In olden days, cow dung used to be mixed with water and applied in front of houses every day as a disinfectant. Our misplaced sense of cleanliness in modern times has classified cow dung as dirty.
Neem and certain other leaves mixed with cow urine is a very effective pest repellant. This has no adverse effect on environment and health. Chemical pesticides are highly toxic and have severe detrimental effect on environment and health. Most of the current day diseases have their origin in pesticides. Gobar gas has proven to be a very cost effective and environment friendly alternative fuel for rural households. Use of bulls in agriculture eliminates pollution as compared to diesel powered tractors and other farm equipments which lead to high levels of pollution and environmental degradation.
COW & ENERGY
Gobar gas based electricity plants will be able to produce clean electricity for use locally saving on big transmission networks and transmission losses. Rural house- holds can run on Gobar gas and cow dung greatly reducing our needs. This will also reduce our need for firewood saving our forests. Electricity produced by using dry cow dung is equivalent to 3.5 crore ton of coal or 6.8 crore ton of wood.