About Indians, Max Muller observed: “with hardly any one exception they have displayed a far greater respect for truth and a far more manly and generous spirit than we are accustomed to even in Europe and America.”
And another eminent person observed, “When you read of the atrocities committed by the Mohammedan conquerors of India after that time (1000AD) to the time when England stepped in and, whatever may be said by her envious critics, made at the events, the broad principles of our common humanity respected once more in India, the wonder, to my mind, is how any nation could have survived such an Inferno, without being turned into devils themselves.” (Elphinstone’s History of India)
In India our life style and perceptions predate all modern so called ‘scientific prescriptions’. Just as Hinduism defies all attempts at one line definition so is the case with Indian Agriculture, which again is a ‘way’ of life for majority of Indians even today.
“When fate is inevitable the lowest Hindu encounters it with a coolness that would excite admiration in Europe” (Elphinstone’s History of India)
Then how come of late, we see some of our countrymen turning in to ‘Devils’ and some becoming victims of ‘suicides’, both very ‘modern ‘ prevalent human behavior standards.
The Indian prayer “ Sarve bhawantu sukhina sarve santu niramaya sarve bhadrani pashyantu……..” Where did this prayer, which is unique in the history of human society, originate from and what caused its establishment in our psyche?
Our Hindu scriptures Vedas and Upnishads sing paeans of “ Madhu Vidhya”. Madhu Vidya means living in harmony with nature. This according to Vedas follows from “GO MAHIMA”. These are Bounties that flow from cows as objects of affection.
Speaking in modern context psychologists tell that us that keeping pets at home brings about a change in our personality. It makes an individual more relaxed, tolerant to ‘trespasses’ and pluralistic in his life. It was the practice in India for every Indian to keep a ‘pet’ cow at home. This home cow blessed the Indian psyche with ‘Madhu Vidhya’. In the perception of Indians to be at peace with all things, and this is what the Max Muller and Elphinston are talking about.
The Indian tradition to choose, Cow as universal pet, also points to the immense pragmatic wisdom of Indian seers. Cow consumes and converts all the farming residues and wastes in to Milk. Milk is the most complete sustainable food in nature next only to the mother’s milk.
According to the US agriculture Department, SAN (sustainable Agriculture Network) 'Building Soils for Better Crops', Cow forms the critical link in the Nitrogen and Carbon Cycles of our environment. Add to that the maintenance of the microbial health and micronutrients in the soil, by farm yard manure from Cow.
Thus a cow with every farmer ensures not only healthy source of nutrition for the farmer’s family, but also is a sustainable method to recycle farm waste in to soil nutrients, to keep the soil healthy.
Soil scientists as far back as 1935 led by William Albrecht of Missouri University had warned that over dependence on Chemical Fertilizers leads to depletion of nutrients and microorganisms. The soil becomes sick. And no healthy animals, crops and nutritive food can be extracted from a sick soil. The only way to keep soil healthy is by recycling biomass. Cow is the primary agent to perform this task.
In quest of Green Revolution the Indian Agriculture strategists had perhaps little choice than to go for band aid type solutions to provide quick relief. Chemical fertilizers were promoted on mass scale.
Sir Albert Howard the British Imperial Botanist Service expert who started the Agriculture Researches in India way back in 1906 at Pusa in Bihar, was the first to introduce chemical fertilizers here . But he very soon realized that use of chemical fertilizers also results in disturbing the microorganism of soil. Plants grown are deficient in their natural disease fighting abilities. Thus the plants grown with the help of Chemical Fertilizers require additional use of Chemical pesticides both for soil and as foliar sprays. But the delinking by our planners, animal husbandry from agriculture was the one strategic blunder whose consequences could not be visualized by the experts who were formulating our first Five Year Plan.
Cow was an integral part of our Agriculture. Good Nutritive diet based on pure cow milk, home grown farm yard manure, home preserved seeds were available to our farmer as rewards for his toil. Farmers did not require cash money buy any of these items.
In the present scenario far all his farm inputs a farmer needs cash money for which he seeks loans from wherever he can get.
Our Agriculture experts realize that most of the chemicals, pesticides and seeds sold in the open market are very heavily adulterated, substandard and of very poor germination quality. With such bad essential farm inputs bought from borrowed hard cash total failure of the crops is unavoidable. With failure of his crops, hungry mouths and sick family on his hands and bank creditors on his throat, what else can a poor farmer do but commit suicide. The best our Govts can think of is writing off the loans and doling out cash. But again this is a bandaid treatment. There is no long term strategy for the farmers.
No institution has ever been able to check adulteration. The best guarantee to ensure quality is to revive the household cow of the farmers. Teach the farmers good methods to prepare his own cow based fertilizers, soil; conditioners, seed storage and germination techniques, and at the same time facilitate keeping of good cows by developing cow resource centers in rural clusters. Home made products will not only ensure the quality of farm inputs but also provide better nutrition for the family. The importance of 'cash money' for meeting day to day farming needs will be highly reduced.
For India the only sustainable strategy for society is to bring back household cow as center stage in our agriculture.