You almost dread driving on the city roads, there are vendors on either side of the road, the slow and fast moving traffic is constantly merging, there are potholes and then of course there is a herd of cows on the road, every road, any road. Such a nuisance really! Why are they there? Well! They have nowhere else to go!
After serving the community they lived in for all their adult life they are now rendered useless as they age and hence driven out of the facility they knew as home.
"I had moved to this place and visited a nearby temple, I found a lot of litter around and unfortunately the stray cows were feeding on the litter. I raised the concern with the authorities and, to begin with, we faced some resistance, but subsequently we were able to reason out with them. We cleared out a place behind the temple, pegged the cows there and started feeding them with fodder", says Vishal Garg. A finance executive and a father of two, Vishal was moved by the apathy of his neighborhood and ventured out, alone at first, to build a better environment for his co-habitants.
Have we not often heard that when you put your heart and mind to something fate paves out the way for you. Vishal says, 'I started out alone but a lot of people soon started teaming with me, the fodder seller begun subtracting his profit in lieu of the noble work we were doing. Another gentleman's son was visiting India and when he got to know of our initiative, he built the shed for the cows.'
Picture book serenity in the midst of millennium city
As the DNL team visited the Gaushala at Khandsa road, Gurugram, the scene was right out of a mythological book, we don't think we had seen or even imagined seeing something we witnessed there – happy cows. To know what that look is like pay this place a visit; every Wednesday, from 7.30 am to 8 am the community comes together for a special service-feeding the cows.
This is a cashless, community-funded facility, the initial founding members run the cowshed with help from some full-time and part-time employees and a lot of volunteers. Some of them in the picture above are Deepak Bansal, S.C. Bansal, Deepak Goel, Lalita and Satish Tayal. Vishal, having moved to Pune from Harayana carried the best practice with him and replicated a similar facility there. The Gurugram facility is now run by his friends who are equal enthusiasts of a utopian world that they dreamt of and created. There is a cow feeder and cleaner, there is a part-time vet who examines the cows from time to time. The facility incurs a cost of 1.5 lakhs per month which is funded by the care-givers. Other members of the neighbourhood offer services to ensure the basic hygiene of the cows.
Having started with 3 cows, the number went up to 130 at one point in time. Some of the cows recovered with the good nourishment and began lactating again, at which point they were offered to families within the community as pets. The shelter ensures that none of the cows have to suffer the same ill-treatment again.
Why you should do it?
It is the responsibility of the dairy owners who profited from these cows to care from them like any other employees in the business. If they shrug it off, it is our responsibility as they are an inclusive part of our community.
You should care for them because they die painful deaths due to our negligence. The irresponsible waste disposal on the roads and the inhibited use of plastics leads to build-up of plastic in stomachs of cows, other cattle and stray animals. It leads to radical reduction in their milk production ability, painful diseases with the fatality of death.
You should do it because they don't belong on the road just like no one else belongs there.
You should do it, Lalita Tayal says, because it brings you immense peace and satisfaction.
You should do it because they are sacred; sacred not because they are holy; sacred because they are an essential part of our ecology, our existence.
Every man must step ahead
A country, with a population of over 1 billion, cannot be run effectively by a handful of their chosen representatives…everyone has to do their bit; and it is this bit that the society thrives on. In ancient India people worshipped trees, rivers and even the rain Gods – it made no sense till some years back, it does now when in the wake of serious deforestation, the whole ecological balance is disturbed. Sadly, it won't be restored in bit by bit anymore, it will take all of us to contribute in some way. Let's begin with caring for the ones that reared us.