“The Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra is an initiative to put Indian villages on the path of sustainable development by focussing on the cow-based way-of-life. It is a massive national movement to restore freedom to the cow to live and die with dignity. It aims to bring back the smile on the faces of Indian farmers and is a pilgrimage to regain the lost soul of the nation,” said the head of Sri Ramchandrapura Math, Karnataka, and the guiding force behind the Yatra Shree Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji in New Delhi on June 27. He was talking to mediapersons at Constitution Club. Noted yoga scientist and national working president of the Yatra Samiti Dr HR Nagendra was also present on the occasion.
A comprehensive website (www.gougram.org) was also launched on the occasion to provide detailed, fast and updated information about the Yatra in Hindi, English and Kannada languages. It is worth mentioning here that the Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra will commence from Kurukshetra on September 30 and traversing through the length and breadth of the country in 108 days will conclude in Nagpur on January 17, 2010.
Swamiji informed that the Yatra is a joint endeavour of all the saints, environmentalists, scientists and scholars who wish to do something concrete for the protection and preservation of the cow and also to save the farmers from the clutches of untimely death. He announced to launch the world’s largest signature campaign for the protection of the cow demanding declaration of the cow a national animal, enactment of a central law for cow protection and stopping all kinds of cruelties on the cow and her progeny. He said millions of people belonging to even the far-off areas of the country would give their assent to the memorandum, which would be presented to the President of India Smt Pratibha Patil on January 29, 2010. A positive ambience will be developed across the country through more than 400 big public meetings to be organised at prominent places of the country, he pointed out.
He made it clear that the movement would be kept away from politics and the common man of the country would be exhorted to preserve the priceless gift of the God to the mankind. “We know the cow cannot be protected merely by enacting a central law. Basically, the countrymen need to be mentally prepared for her protection,” he said adding that the cow may be slaughtered at the slaughter-houses but the preparation for slaughter begins at the level of the farmers. Therefore, we have to create an atmosphere where the farmer is no longer compelled to sell the cow to butchers.
Dr HR Nagendra said the demand of the Indian cow is growing worldwide due to her wider usefulness. It has scientifically been proved that the milk of Indian indigenous cows decreases the cholesterol level in the blood, while the milk of cross-breed or foreign-breed cows increases it, he informed. He said the Yatra is a wake-up call given by the spiritual leaders of the nation to save the cow, the village, Bharat and the world through a positive action. Describing the village as the soul of Bharat, he said the farmer and the cow are its life. But today the farmers’ over-dependence on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and machines has led to the neglect of the indigenous cow and the bull, he lamented. The foodgrains the farmers produce have become toxic, the land has turned infertile and the ever-mounting loans drive them to death, he stated.
“It is a matter of great concern that the Indian indigenous cow is on the verge of extinction. Only 33 breeds, out of the hundreds of varieties, survive today. There is a dire need to save and protect them. We have to wake up to this urgent need and work out a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate them,” he said adding that the answer to all such problems lies in returning to the cow-centered way-of-life. The cow and the farmers are the two eyes of the nation. They have to move together if we have to live a happy life.
Talking about the action plan to save the cow and her progeny, Dr Nagendra emphasised that the farmers need to rear indigenous cows and bulls for ploughing, manure and transportation. Cows should be reared not just for milk but also for dung and urine so that cow keeping becomes economically viable. Artificial insemination and cross-breeding of the cow should be avoided. Gavya industries should be established in villages to manufacture health care and cosmetic products. It will generate additional income for the farmers and will make the cow-rearing a profitable proposition. The farmers should adopt eco-friendly methods of cultivation, organic farming and preservation of nature, he suggested.
By Pramod Kumar