Sunday, February 26, 2006

Protecting Cows in India

I am in an email discussion group about Cow Protection. The following came though, and I have kindly been given permission to repost it on my blog. Lanbangalatika dasi is located in Raigan, India, where she and her husband have established the Govardhan Trust that gives life time protection to cows.

"It is said that troubles don't come singly but in a battalion. Srila Prabhupada says we don’t pray for misfortune but still it comes so therefore we don’t need to pray for good fortune either. Whatever is due to us will come anyway. And in fact they are just the same good and bad..."


The first event last month was very auspicious at Makara Sankranti when the sun goes to the north and winter begins to get over and the demigods get up from their sleep, ( I believe?). Rosni, young Gir cow had her first calf in the middle of the night. She is a hot tempered aggressive red cow with big horns, I had given her pregnant mother to a very seemingly cow devotee Brahmin doctor neighbour at his request but brought her and calf back a year and half later as I was not satisfied with her care. (Maybe I will become a lizard in a well for taking back a gift to a brahmin) and the calf Rosni was bad tempered. I don't know how the workers over there had treated her, and we tried our best to pacify her but she would always shake her head and want to butt, if tied, and when loose, charge!

The delivery was very fast and easy and we didn’t intervene except to push the calf back to his mother if he fell down away from his mother while trying to get to his feet as the cowshed floor is sloping a bit. We had put down straw and leaves for deep litter for comfort for them. I sat the rest of the night on a bundle of straw and watched them.

The calf drank his fill of colostrum all night and next couple of days and skipped about happily all over. In some places superstitious people don’t allow the calf to drink colostrum or even allow human babies to drink it from their mother's breast. What deprivation and damage to health!! And wonders will never cease.

Madhu our cowherd milked out the excess and she didn’t kick at all. I thought we would never be able to milk this cow. She has become very mellow now. We bred her only because although our herd is big I do think every young cow four or five years old should be allowed to have a calf so her development becomes complete. Otherwise it is not fair. And the change in every cow after delivery is remarkable. They increase in size and become magnificent mothers and the calves of course will remain in our herd for lifetime protection.

Rosni is giving us abundant milk. The 3rd day however, blood appeared in the milk. Yikes! Luckily I practice homeopathy and the infallible remedy for this shocking phenomenon is IPECAC 30 and it worked right away and will work for anyone. (3
doses a day for 3 days,) This blood in milk is considered to be caused by " Naza" or evil eye, nothing serious, just envy, which is there doubtless, and the remedy which we also performed is to burn 7 red chilies with salt near the cow shed after waving it around her.

We give 2 teats to the calf and milk 2 while he is drinking. In some goshallas they leave only one for the calf trying to squeeze maximum milk to fill demand. (Iskcon goshallas even) and the excuse is that the calf will get diarrhea. At times they may get as ours did a few days back, and then we let him have one teat and gave him a bottle of kanci or rice water and ayurvedic medicine. So now he is ok he gets 2 teats again. Of course with the western breeds one teat is quite sufficient for the calf but Indian breed calves should not be deprived like this.

At the same time our local vet asked me to take in an accident case, a calf hit by a vehicle and left outside the door of her office in Roha. The vet has set her broken foot in plaster. Her hip the other side they thought was also broken but she was eating ok but not able to stand. When I brought her home she had maggots in and around hr vagina and on her eyelid. We got rid of those quite fast as they had just begun.

An old cowherd man from a village quite far came and expertly set her dislocated hip right and put a hot iron brand to keep it there. It didn’t seem to bother her. The vet’s plaster was not ok.. The foot was swelling and blood coming out of a hole in it. So it had to be removed which was not easy and he pounded up the sticky bark of a tree, which later hardens, and spread it on a cloth and bound her broken foot with it and tied it up with bamboo splints leaving a big opening for the pus to drain from the deep sore inside and on which we put imli or tamarind powder from the dried bark and covered it over with nirgundi leaves and a light bandage. He made a stand for her with posts and ropes in the middle and a sack for comfort in which we make her stand supported for a few hours to encourage her to put her front feet down on the ground. Very slow progress. We massage her front legs with ayurvedic oil and then hot water. Plus trying homeopathic treatments. She gets to her knees and one now fixed back leg and turns herself over quite frequently but doesn’t get up on her perfectly good front feet. Otherwise she is very jolly and eats very well, for nearly a month now with us.

Then Govinda my Jersey ox, although the herd got vaccinated just 3 months back, got foot and mouth and hardly ate for 4 days except glricidia leaves, not even green grass. It was a mild case. And one more ox got it in his feet only and no more cases. I asked the vet and she said this vaccine covers only one strain of FMD, although she assured me at the time it covers 7 strains and she said that since in this state we have daily 8 hour power cuts the efficacy of the vaccine cannot be guaranteed as it has to be kept refrigerated. So there it is... Also FMD is rampant this year again in villages and their cattle come through our land to the river. We just can’t build a great wall all around and it wouldn’t work any more than will the US
plan to build a great wall across the Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants. We live among the villages not in an ivory tower and have to face the same problems.

After recovering nicely from foot and mouth Govinda somehow or other got maggots in his ear, deep in the ear too. When he was scratching his ear and shaking his head I thought he had an ear infection and gave him the homeopathic remedy and put some hydrogen peroxide. He seemed to improve but next day on cleaning is ear we found them. This had to be the worst thing that could ever happen. He stopped eating completely and started drooling this thick sticky mucous. When I called the vet she told me to use this awful chemical called Butox , very poisonous but you can’t use turpentine oil in the ear and this stuff doesn’t sting. It has to be diluted so I put it in his ear with a plastic syringe. And we cleaned his ear and maggots came out and we put more Butox on a cotton to kill the rest down there.

But he wasn’t eating and he was rapidly weakening and our vet goes away every weekend to her home elsewhere and her helpers couldn’t do a proper job so I called a friend who used to be head of SPCA in Mumbai and she volunteered to keep him at her place 40 km away and let their local vet, who is very qualified take care of his ear. I took him there in a hired tempo and they took excellent care giving IV calcium and antibiotics etc and after a few days I brought him back, his ear thoroughly cleaned. He has a new life back from the brink. The transport cost a fortune and was difficult on these rough hilly roads.

To crown it all our dog bit a vet’s assistant here. He is vaccinated against rabies but still I had to pay the poor man’s doctor bill. I thought that was to crown it all but now I see there is no limit to adversity and I am bracing for the next crisis. But I am very thankful to Krsna that Govinda's life got saved so timely.

ys Labangalatika dasi


At 4:59 PM, Blogger Dee said...

wow. I am quite impressed with her devotion and care towards the cows in the gowshala.

My mother had once told me about such places in India and it had seemed very abstract and now I can appreciate what it really is like.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Madhava Gosh said...

If you follow the link to "Home", you will see on my opening page a link to "Cow Protection". This leads to the website of a goshala in the US.

There is both joy and heartache incow protection.


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