//Research on Cow Urine to be heavily funded by Karnatak Government

Research on Cow Urine to be heavily funded by Karnatak Government

Emil Steiner, Washington Post, October 28 2006

Hinduism's Sacred AnimalFour students from SRNM College in Shimoga, the souther indian state of Karnataka claimed that the urine of "Malnad Gidda" ( a cattle species found in Karnataka state ) They claimed that it has medicinal value and can be best used as a fungicide in agriculture. K R Akshatha, M D Akshatha, K Bellishri, and B S Bhavya said they proved it after nearly three years of research.

Press reports says that, Karnataka Government, which is ruled by an alliance of RSS, a hindu extremist group has allocated 20 acres of land for research on cow urine. Rs 10 lakh grant will be provided for such institutions and Rs 25 lakh reserved to conduct research on cow urine by University of Veterinary Animal Fisheries Sciences (KVAFS) in Bidar and Bangalore . It sent another project proposal seeking Rs 9 crore to conduct research on cow urine.

Dr Girish, a spokesman of GOU SANSAT (Cow Parlianment) ,a camoflauged organization promoted by RSS says that ‘Gou-Mootra’ (cow urine) had a lot of medicinal value and it has potential to cure major diseases, including cancer. RSS is the hindu militant organization which promotes right wing nationalism in India. Critics believe that the research on such controversial projects are made by hindutva groups for finding tactical governmental funding to  Hindu militant groups. In India,  RSS and its various affiliate bodies together known as "Sangh Parivar ". The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) advocates a form of Hindu nationalism, which seeks to establish India as a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation), and rejects the notion of a composite Indian identity brought about by a synthesis of different cultures and faiths.

Recently, an attempt by Hindu extremists to stop the ritual slaughter of cows by Muslims triggered riots that killed two muslims in Mangalore, a city in the same state. Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's billion people, and Muslims — who at 14 percent form the country's largest religious minority — have been largely peaceful since India's independence from Britain in 1947 despite sporadic bouts of violence.

In India, "Holy Cow conscept is as famous as the caste system. It’s a comic idea to nations of hamburger eaters and almost incomprehensible given how many go hungry in India. However, when you consider that 70% of India still lives in the country it becomes clearer. Cows are worshipped as the worldly manifestation of goddess Laxmi (goddess of wealth). Legend has it that gods and goddess reside in each and every cow. The Gai (Cow) Pooja is considered as worshiping the mother of the universe – the cow. The Gai Pooja is performed by giving a tika to a cow on her forehead, and a flower garland (leis) on the neck, and offering good meals. Those performing Gai Pooja place her manure in different parts of the home; drink a drop or two of the cow's urine as a part of a purification process. Gai Pooja is one of the biggest festival of Hindu culture across India and Nepal.

So far, many research had been done on different qualities of cow urine by RSS sponsored research centres. They claimed that it has been used as nutrient and natural fertilizer in agriculture since generations. But none had till now worked on its quality as a fungicide. These four students were the first to do research on this aspect.

India's Hindus consider cows to be sacred animals and allow them free to roam, eat and defecate throughout their densely populated metropolis. Since cities have grown more crowded, cow-friendly policies have posed problems in India. Delhi's 13 million residents, for instance, share the streets with an estimated 40,000 cows — leading to some complaints. One is that the grazing cows spread trash as they rip open garbage bags in search of tasty morsels. Another is that they dangerously snarl traffic.

"What is the greatest traffic hazard in Delhi today? Cows," Bibek Debroy, a columnist for India's Financial Express, wrote in a pointed 2003 essay. "As our national animal, the tiger may be close to extinction. But the cow is very much around and many soon become our new national animal."

To solve the problem, Debroy offered one tongue-in-cheek solution. "Let them have reflectors and, if not license plates, at least identity cards. Only genuine Delhi cows should be eligible for social security and other benefits."

City officials, meanwhile, have adopted a different approach: the cow catchers. Under pressure to reduce cow populations, Delhi has hired nearly 100 of the urban cowboys, who are charged with catching and shipping cows outside the city limits, sometimes to special reserves where the animals are cared for.

But the work isn't easy. And it can be downright dangerous. The cows often sport sharp horns, and life on the street has made them savvy and sometimes ornery. Some can recognize the sound of the transport trucks and perform a kind of bovine ballet to avoid the catchers. Still, city leaders say they won't give up until the vast majority of the cows have been moved. Skeptics note that some of the animals return to their home turfs within days of being moved.

Meanwhile, some of India's Hindu politicians are relying on cows to bolster their support. They have proposed new cow-protection ordinances, and vowed to ban butchers from Indian stores. Critics say such proposals go too far, and would violate India's commitment to religious tolerance — and the nation's constitution. But if cows could vote, they'd surely be in favour.

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