In Dharmic literature, the concept of Kamdhenu is considered as a miraculous "cow of plenty" who fulfils the desires of the owner. An IT professional of Karnataka is reliving this experience with Gau-Sewa and Wealth-Creation
In Dharmic literature, the concept of Kamdhenu is considered as a miraculous "cow of plenty" who fulfils the desires of the owner. Meet Mr Prathap, an IT professional near Malavalli, a village in Karnataka, rearing local breed cows, not just for milk. For decades, Indian farmers switched over to Jercy breed cows for its high milk yield and ignoredlocal breed cows' benefits. But, for Prathap, Bharatiya variety of cows is like Kamadenu. It can generate various employment types and a meaningful income generating source despite its less milk yield. As part of "Rastriya Kamadhenu Aayog", he is rearing local variety cows like Malnadgidda, Ongolon his farm. This local variety of cows milk yield is limited to 4 to 5 lt per day is the primary reason for the farmers to switch over to Jercy variety. If creativity is used, cow dung can generate income. He says that these local cows produce more volume dung/feces that are very sticky in nature. He also points out that the dung's composition is more fibrous, more solid with less water content than Jercy breed. Due to its sticky quality, the dung can make various art pieces suit the Bharatiya lifestyle.
The village households of Bharat prefer to use LPG over cow dong cakes; hence, the cow dung produced in the farms is limited only for making manure. Prathap's practical knowledge suggests that 2 kg local cow dung is enough to make 1 Kg cow dung powder is enough for 1-acre farming land per week. If creatively is used, the remaining dung can generate 10 to 12 thousand rupees per month for a farmer with 10 local breeds. Prathap, with his creative idea using cow dung for various art and spiritual purposes and making manure too.
Prathap and his brothers were inspired by Ramachandrapura Math to set up an art studio in their cowshed. Doop made with rice, ghee, and dung based on Agnihotra principles gives out a sweet fragrance that is eco-friendly, andash produced by the Doop can be used for gardening as it is free from chemicals. Since Doop is burned, it is germ-free. Hence, the ash generated sieved and added with salt can be used as tooth powder. He created small plates to place the Doop on it to avoid using iron stands. These small cow dung plates, as he says, can be used several times and later can be used as manure.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pitched for Kamadenu Deepawali to promote the market of local products. In response to PM's Kamadhenu Deepawali campaign, Prathap has developed cow dung Deeyas. They are becoming popular and are sold in several thousand. He is expecting the sale of Gomaya Deeyas may increase in Deepawali time. Surprisingly the Deeyas are leak-proof and holds oil till the wick burns. Since Diyas are made with gum and cow dung dissolves in the water and ready for recycling. Prathap is proud of his contribution tothwarting the market of Chinees-make Deeyas.
To keep the market and workforce alive round the year for his artwork, he creates beautiful idols. He has developed idols like Ganesha, Karnataka Matha Bhuvaneswari, and figurines like Gandhi, Budha, and many more as there is no limit to creativity. Small dolls to decorate car dash-board, pen stand, mementos, visiting card stand with a clock, welcome-board, and various other things using only desi cows dung, gum, and natural paint.
The most exciting thing among his creation is the anti-radiation piece. As his ancestors in the village were using cow dung to anoint the walls on eclipse days where pregnant women live has inspired him to develop mobile covers. A beautifully designed mobile cover with the sticker on both sides is to be stuck on mobile phones. Cow dung is believed to minimize the harmful effects of radiation.
He is selling Doopfor Rs 3 and Diya for 2 Rs per piece in the local market. He has employed some 40 people in his studio and planning to expand his business shortly. He is a role model in the village and encouraging other farmers to understand the values of Bharatiyata. Many others in his village are following him who were skeptical before about his venture. He is training other villagers in the making of Deeya, Dhoops, and other gift items.
He proved that sustaining native breeds in animal husbandry can be profitable without any additional investment without any occupational and natural hazards. Farmers turning their backson local cows will realise the local species and Swadesi model values. He uses the income generated from his art studio is used back for Gau Sewa and Gaurakshan. The saint Purandara Dasavani says - "Kereyaneeranukeregechelli……" pour the lake's water back into the lake and be seen like blessed persons, believe in his lotus feet and live, is the true Sewa imbibed in all Bharatiyas.
(The writer is Managing director and consultant dietician and nutritionist, varenya nutrition concepts, Bangaluru)