With the continuous ten-minute shankhnad by world-renowned shankhwadak Shri Shavantha, the 108-day Vishwa Mangal Gou Gram Yatra began from historic Theme Park in Kurukshetra on September 30. About 50,000 people including leading saints from different parts of the country, scientists, environmentalists and agriculture experts not only expressed their total support to the Yatra, but also firmly resolved to protect the cow, village and nature on the banks of the holy Brahma Sarovar. Beginning from Kurukshetra the Yatra will conclude in Nagpur on January 17, 2010.
The formal inauguration of the Yatra took place on Vijayadashami Day on September 28 at Theme Park with the Gayatri and Kamdhenu yajnas as well as the formal rathchalan ceremony by Gokarna Peethadhishwar Shri Raghaveshwar Bharati Swamiji, film star Suresh Oberoi and many others. On September 29, the Yatra moved through Kurukshetra city and received tremendous response from the people. The first public meeting was organised on September 30 in which people from Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and many other states participated. On October 1, the Yatra moved towards Karnal on its historic journey to educate the countrymen about many vital issues.
The entire Kurukshetra city was decorated with saffron flags, banners, hoardings and welcome gates displaying the messages of protecting the cow, village and nature by various organisations. The public meeting began with the goupujan by Shankaracharya Raghaveshwar Bharati Swamiji and film star Suresh Oberoi followed by a song praising the cow by Ustad Saiduddin Dagar. A huge 160-foot-long dais was erected, which had three parts. On the middle part, there was a huge statue of cow. At the right side, there were religious leaders, while on the left side, leaders from social organisations were seated. The saints included Pejawar Swami Shri Vishveshteertha, Shankara-charya Vasudevanand Saraswati, Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara, Swami Jnanadas, Valmiki Sant Mahant Mandas, Chhote Mian Moinuddin Sabri and others. The leaders from various organisations included RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi, VHP president Shri Ashok Singhal, former CBI Director Sardar Joginder Singh, working president of the Yatra and a noted yoga scientist Dr HR Nagendra, Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Smt Dolma Geyari and others.
Addressing the gathering, Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi appealed to the policy-makers of the country to think over the disastrous effects of the policies that the country followed after Independence and which concentrated only on the development of cities and ignored villages. He said the growing use of chemical fertilizers and machines in agriculture destroyed the original qualities of Indian agriculture. “Even the scientists have now admitted that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are dangerous not only for the agriculture but also for the entire human life. This Yatra is an endeavour to present the whole issue in right perspective before the countrymen so that the nation could move to the right direction. This is a fact that the protection of the human life lies in the protection of the cow and village. That is why the RSS, like many other organisations, is engaged in making this Yatra a success. We appeal to all sections of the society to contribute in making this Yatra a success and save the cow, nature and village,” he said.
Shri Raghaveshwar Bharati Swamiji, who is the main guiding force behind the Yatra, said the cow slaughter is going on due to ignorance. “The farmers are not aware of the significance and usefulness of the cow. They do not know that they can earn more money from the cows that do not give milk than the cows that give milk. It is due to this ignorance that they sell the non-milk-giving cows to butchers. The day they understand it practically they will automatically stop selling them to butchers. It will be the most effective way of protecting the cow,” he said adding that the Yatra is an initiative to educate the people about this economic aspect of the cow. He further said the answer to all the problems the country is facing today is to return to the cow-centred way of life.
Pejawar Swami Shri Vishveshteertha stressed the need to protect four things- gou, gram, Gita and Gayatri. He said the Gita and Gayatri symbolise the spiritual power of the nation while the gram and gou symbolise the economic prosperity. He demanded to declare the cow the national animal. “One of the reasons of growing terrorism in the country is that we have tiger as the national animal. The tiger symbolises ‘terror’, while the cow symbolises peace and prosperity. Therefore, we must declare the cow the national animal forthwith to restore peace and prosperity in the country,” he added.
In his message, Dr Pranav Pandya, who could not attend the function due to sickness, said gou, Ganga, Gita and Gayatri are the basic components of Indian culture and this Yatra has been started to find the lost heritage of the Indian culture. “Since this Yatra is going to touch each and every village of the country it is an endeavour to join the whole nation in one thread. The Gayatri Parivar has extended its full support to the Yatra and all our activists are working for making it a success,” he said in the message. Messages of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Mata Amritanandamayi were also read out at the function.
VHP president Shri Ashok Singhal appealed to the people to take a firm resolve for not selling the cow to butchers. “Many great rishis and saints have said many times that till the blood of the cow will continue to fall on the earth, no religious activity will be fruitful,” he said. Shankaracharya Vasudevanand Saraswati said the Yatra would prove a milestone in protecting the cow. He further said protection of the nation lies in protection of the cow and it should be the duty of all.
Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara said the cow must be protected as she gives life. “The blind use of machines in the farming activities has made the people lazy. The farmers, who feed all, are today forced to commit suicide. The policy-makers must understand that our problems cannot be solved by blindly following the West. We have to move according to our own traditions. It is now a scientific fact that the Indian breeds of cows are the best in the world but they have been deliberately degraded. The country today needs a central legislation for cow protection as has been implemented in Jammu & Kashmir where there is a minimum ten years’ punishment for cow slaughter,” she said. About the gaushalas, she said their condition today is like the old parents living in old-age homes. Cows can be protected only at the homes of the farmers and not in gaushalas. The people must understand it, she said.
Dr HR Nagendra said the modern science and mechanised modern way of life have trapped the human life in many problems. If concrete steps are not taken today to protect the cow, village and nature, it is going to become very difficult for the man to survive in coming years. Describing the Yatra as another freedom movement, he said, as charkha was a symbol during the freedom movement, the cow has been made a symbol in this new freedom struggle.
Appealing to enact a central law for cow protection, Chhote Mian Moinuddin Sabri said there should be a harsh punishment for those who indulge in cow slaughter. “I appeal to the people of all communities to extend their full support to this endeavour of protecting the cow,” he said. Expressing his support to the Yatra, former CBI Director Sardar Joginder Singh informed that during the regime of Maharana Ranjit Singh, if there was death sentence for any crime, it was for cow slaughter.