Goshalas and Cow slaughter
This page, normally dedicated to my temple visit travelogue, is now allotted to another holy subject – Goshalas.
I met one Mr.Ramamoorthy of Ex-Customs official in one of my visits to Sri Agneeswarar temple at Neyveli more than an year back. He, along with Vadapalani Sri Ramamoorthy, are among the trustees of Sri Jayam Goshala near Mayiladuthurai (Thirumanancheri). He explained me about the human like bondage and possessiveness that exist between the animals and the care takers; how the animals wander very freely within various rooms and kitchen; how certain animals will push away the caretaker people when they are talking to the strangers (due to possessiveness) etc., All these animals were captured during their last journey to the slaughter houses. He also explained how these animals will be slaughtered inhumanly at the slaughter houses. Ever since I heard about it, I wanted to visit the Goshala along with some prospective donors and write an article about it but somehow it got delayed so far.
In the meanwhile, Mr.Shankar Trivedi, one of the driving forces behind Neyveli temple told me about a Goshala at Neelangarai, right next to my house (at Besant Nagar) run by Dr,Sadhana Rao. I never expected that a Goshala of that nature will exist within the heart of the city so close to my place. He took a ”The Hindu” journalist Mrs.Geetha Venkataraman to this Goshala that houses 300+ animals and she wrote an immediate article in “The Hindu” Friday review dated 23rd May 2013 which attracted lots of attention.
The Hindu article On a haven for animals, saved and nurtured is reproduced here:
The five-day old calf catches the attention even as one walks up to meet Sadhana Rao. Its soft brown coat and liquid eyes capture the heart, which melts when the background is revealed. The mother and calf were rescued from a roadside near Chingleput. The fully pregnant cow had been noticed by a passerby, who tried all possible ways to get help. A regular on that route, his concern turned into panic when the cow eventually delivered. For five days mother and calf had struggled under the Agni Nakshatram heat, without water and food. The cow unable to stand any longer had collapsed and the baby managed to survive by suckling in a kneeling posture. The area was beyond the jurisdiction of the Blue Cross and the man with great difficulty brought them to Sadhana Rao’s Indian Institute of Animal Welfare. Medical care was given but the cow died. The male calf (picture right top) is doing well.
“It was a peaceful death,” says Sadhana Rao for whom this is part of a mission, which she took up 40 years ago. “My mother’s father maintained a gosala, may be I inherited the trait from him. A Kashmiri (pundit), the family moved South decades ago.
The Indian Institute of Animal Welfare was founded by Dr. S. Shankardev, Sadhana Rao and K.M. Padmanabhan. What started with half-a-dozen cows has expanded into a unit that shelters over 200 cows inside Kapaleeswarar Nagar, Neelangarai.
Another unit at Venkatapuram beyond the Poondi reservoir on the Oothukottai route houses 300 cows. Temples such as Marundiswarar and Tiruvidanthai Nityakalyana Perumal regularly send their animals to her shelters that have become sanctuaries for buffaloes, bullocks, sheep and goats too. “These dogs came from Kanchipuram. A swamiji found some urchins pelting stones at the mother and its just-born puppies. He sent them here,” informs Sadhana.
Sadhana has imbibed a lot from the Pondicherry Mother, who taught her spiritualism. “At the Ashram, a decision was made to cut down a mango tree that had dried. As was practice, Mother was informed. She came to the spot and sat under the tree with eyes closed for a while. ‘Don’t cut the tree, it is going to yield fruit,’ she said. Believe me, the tree put out fresh shoots, soon green leaves covered the branches and we tasted sweet mangoes. When a ‘dead’ tree has life within, how can animals be killed with such nonchalance?”
The shelter houses cattle rescued from smugglers. The caretakers show the wounds inflicted during transportation. A young cow is recovering from a fracture. “It has taken three months to heal and the animal can now walk, although with a limp,” they explain.
It has been a bumpy, sometimes even dangerous, ride. Sadhana recalls those days when a gang smuggling animals to slaughter houses was after her. “This person would scout for stray animals during the day and seize them in the middle of night. The animals would be packed into a van and despatched to slaughter houses. Naturally, they resented my intervention and waited for me with sickles. I moved about in a burkha for nearly six months and a kind police officer gave me discreet protection.”. Such was Sadhana’s determination that threat to life did not matter. Hailing from an affluent family, she spent all the wealth bequeathed for the cause. Her grandfather was a secretary to the Mahatma and the family donated 40 villages to Vinobha’s bhoodan movement. Sadhana has mortgaged all her jewels to meet the gosala expenses.
“The cows have given me spiritual strength in return, a gift so precious for those born in this punya bhoomi. Crises don’t worry me these days,” says Sadhana softly. “I’m a devotee of Paramacharya. Waking up at 3 a.m., I looked towards the shelter and found all the cows standing, eyes focused in one direction. This was unusual. For a fraction of a second, I saw the figure of Periyava amidst the cows. I did namaskaram from where I was.
“Another time, a group of sanyasis from Gujarat came here and offered obeisance to the cows. I can talk about such experiences endlessly…”
It is the Jain community that is supporting the Institute. Fodder, maintenance, medical care, salary for the helpers, etc., run into lakhs of rupees. Sri Rajendra Jayant Goseva Samiti and Sri Om Shakti Seva Mandal are helping the Neelangarai shelter. Sambhavnath Seva Mandal is taking care of the Venkatapuram gosala. But spiralling costs and increase in the number of animals make funds a constraint.
Finding land is on top of Sadhana’s mind now. Posh houses have been built in the neighbourhood. The residents object to the surroundings. “This is where the Government can help us. Close to the Nityakalyana Perumal temple in Tiruvidanthai, a sprawling area is available. The Institute needs five acres for the animals and the caretakers. If this can be allotted to us, we will be grateful. A gosala in close proximity will bring more devotees to the temple. We have represented to the HR and CE Board and hope they oblige.”
Sadhana strongly appeals for a veterinary ambulance service on the lines of 108.
The Institute can be contacted at 24493141 and 9840456623.
Gems of justice
Sadhana Rao commends judge Karpagavinayakam, who ruled against auction of cows by temples. She admires the courage of the woman magistrate at Nazarethpet, who under Section 429, handed over to the Institute the lorry load of animals it had intercepted instead of returning them to the smugglers as is done in some cases.
When a cow vigorously swishes her tail, she is in distress. When in pain, she will shake her head and shed tears. If she is thirsty and you happen to pass by with a pail of water, she will glance at you and the bucket. Otherwise she will run her tongue over her muzzle. Hunger and thirst are signalled through loud bellowing.
……. End of “The Hindu” article
On reading the article, I also visited their Goshala at Neelangarai at ECR a month back.
I could not meet Dr.Sadhana Rao on that day since she left to their other unit at Venkatapuram near Poondi (Neyveli). The Neelangarai Goshala is located at Kabaleeswarar Nagar to the left (East) of ECR while going from Thiruvanmiyur. Look out for the Petrol bunk at Neelangarai on the right side and after about 200 meters from there, on the left side you will see a road right next to a small Nilgris shop. The holy smell of the cow dung will welcome us from the ECR itself!
The Location of Neelangarai Goshala:
The Goshala at Neelangarai is already having about 300 cattles – cows, bulls, buffalos, apart from 75 cocks, some dogs and a sheep. Only about 30 cows are yielding milk and others are being protected without any returns (in this commercial world!). Driven just by compassion, they treat them with love and respect till their peaceful death.
Once arrived, no animal is sent out from here at any point of time.
A little background on Dr.Sadhana Rao:
- Fortunate to be taught by The Mother of Pondicherry Sri Aurobindo Ashram
- MBBS from Manipal University
- FRCS from Edinburgh University, UK
- Practiced only for 6 months and that too only for poor
- Got Rs 5 crore from her parents in 1975
- Got an ancestral property of around 8 grounds in Dr.Radhakrishnan road!!
- Had put all her wealth into the Goshala and doing only the Goshala service for the past 40 years, from her 20+ age
- She lives among all her cattle children in a small room which we can’t even imagine of living just for one day!
Update on 14th Dec 2014:
On the 13th day of our close relative’s death, our cousins donated a milk yielding cow & calf pair and named them as Brahatha & Gopal. They were just saved from the clutches of death and passed on to the safe hands. All those 13 days of pain & sorrow turned into a pinnacle of joy & satisfaction!!
I used the same occasion to donate another pair in memory of my mother and sister and named them as Lakshmi & Kalyan!
With around 300 cattle around and a mound of cow dung, we witnessed a miracle on that day that there was NOT A SINGLE MOSQUITO IN THE LATE EVENING!!
The Jain community come regularly on Sundays and support their activities.
We saw a just born calf whose mother had left the world unfortunately and was getting fed from some other cow here. A small boy has sponsored the calf and promised to pay 2000 Rs monthly from his packet money. We also saw a very healthy cow that escaped the clutches of butchers just the previous day.
The bull here is with Dr.Rao for the past 25 years and is very ferocious. He bows only to Dr.Sadhana and nobody else.
The goshala disposes cow dung at 25 Rs per cement bag; 250 Rs for mini-truck and 500 Rs for a lorry load. We bought the same at around 3 times the price just a few months back for our apartment. Needy people can buy it from them. It is not only cheap but is also a service to them since it needs to be disposed off quickly; otherwise the posh neighbours create trouble due to the smell.
There are about 15+ Biharis doing their service and we can donate the needs to them as well.
I also visited their other unit at Venkatapuram near Poondy reservoir. It is located at about 15 kms from the Neyveli (Thiruvallur) Agneeswarar temple further up towards Oothukottai. We have to take a diversion towards left (West) from the main road at Katchur junction. I am going to the Neyveli temple for the past 3 years without knowing this and finally visited a few weeks back! Venkatapuram Goshala is having 250+ cattles mainly bulls and buffalos.
The Location of Venkatapuram Goshala (approximately)
Sri Jayam Goshala
This is located at Kshetrapalapuram near Thirumanancheri / Thiruvelvikkudi / Mayiladuthurai
Lord Krishna says in Srimadh Bagavatham “You drink the milk of the cow. So, the cow becomes your mother. The bullock is responsible for the production of the grain you eat, so, he becomes your father”.
According to the Vedas, we have seven mothers, starting with our biological mother and the cow being the seventh one. In Mahabharata, the cow is quoted as the mother of all the deities and the universe. Our mothers feed us milk for a year or two, but from birth to death we survive on the milk given by these unknown mothers. The hard work and toil put in by the bullocks in producing the grains, is no inferior.
Go means cow. Go maatha means cow, the mother. Go Pooja is the worship of cows. Krishna Go pala is Lord Krishna revered as the protector of cows.
Why worship cows (mythological)?
Mother cow is the place of residence of all deities, divinities, devas and devatas. We don’t say that all deities and divinities reside in a human, but we do say that all deities and divinities are embodied in mother cow. This is because the cow is the very symbol of saatvik nature – calm, tranquil, serene and peaceful always. So the deities like to reside in her and this is the reason that worship of mother cow is held in such high regard by the Siddhas. Lord Krishna Himself described the benefits of Go Puja to Sri Brahma.
Why cow is holy (practical)?
The cow is treated as holy because it gives away so many useful products to farmer / human. No other animal does that. She provides strength to plow the fields; milk, curd, butter and ghee to give nutrition to humans; even their urine and dung are useful to us with their medicinal values; cow urine is an insecticide; cow dung is a natural manure, cooking fuel and a disinfectant used in cleaning homes; they are useful even after their death with their skin and bones – all these by eating all kinds of agricultural wastes like paddy waste, oil cakes (waste after extracting oil), cotton seeds (waste after extracting cotton fibre). More importantly cow is gentle nature which represents the main teaching of Hinduism,
Cow is therefore an auspicious and valuable git to the humanity by divine. Are they not worth to be worshipped?
These cows and buffaloes produce milk for their own calves like our own women. But, on most occasions, the calves are killed immediately after birth not only to rob the milk but also to capitalise on their skin and meat. Cows are extremely intelligent with a strong bondage for their calves. They can identify a beef-eater by smell when approached and feel uneasy while passing by a slaughter-house.
We, the real beneficiaries of the stolen milk, consciously are bound to protect these unknown mothers and help in providing a peaceful living.
FACTS WE SHOULD KNOW (From the brochure of Sri Jayam Goshala):
From the 3 southern states alone, about 20 lakh cattle are taken to Kerala every year for slaughter, where Beef is 40% staple food and the products are exported.
There are 7000+ unlicensed abattoirs in Kerala. The cattle from calves, to milch animals including healthy bullocks are bought by the butchers for a fair price.
These animals are tied by neck and made to walk without food or water for miles together, or transported in lorries with a single rope passing through their noses in tightly packed rows or bundled one over the other with their legs broken by iron rods.
Warning! Only those with a very strong heart can see the following video and read the following text
- Every cow is killed in full view of others waiting in horror.
- An iron pipe is inserted deep into the throat followed by a sharp iron rod to cut off the wind pipe and food pipe, and when the cow is struggling for breath and blood is gushing, lime water is pumped into the stomach to gain extra meat weight. Then starts skinning while alive and cutting out other parts.
- Before every milking, the cows and buffaloes are injected with NJ hormone ‘Oxytocin’, which cause immense uterus pain.
- Nature has blessed the new calf with an enzyme ‘Rennet’ to sustain in the initial days, but this is also sliced out from its stomach for manufacturing cheese.
- The cost of mutton and beef is Rs 70 and 250 respectively, and hence largely adulterated.
- Due to indiscriminate mass slaughtering over the years 64 out of 96 swadesi indian breeds have been totally wiped out.
- For manufacturing very expensive calf leather, a full pregnant cow is made to stand in a small cement tank, hot water is poured till tail level and some persons beat it with rods. Out of fear and gruesome treatment, the cow delivers and the fetus is pressed into the hot water and the skin of the calf is peeled out and processed in the same temperature. Also, the leather from 5 such cows said to be very soft is used in the upholstery of one expensive car.
By killing one animal, the benefits they derive are:
Hide : Rs 3500 and above depending upon the animal
Beef : about 350 to 500 kgs @ Rs 70/kg
Blood & liver : sold to pharmaceutical companies
Bones : sold to sugar factories/pharamaceutical units Bone marrow : sold to dog feed manufacturers
Fat : bought by detergent,oil, ghee manufacturers
The laws to prevent cruelty to animals are in force in the states, but are largely ignored.
Transport of cattle for slaughter is prohibited.
For any other purpose, only 6 animals should be transported in a lorry-but 30 to 40 are transported.
Certain acts like twisting tails, testicles etc are non bailable offences punishable under sec.428/429 of IPC.
Before killing, the cow should be fed well, and a veterinarian should certify its health, other cows should not see the killing, the cow’s eyes should be tied, a strong anesthetic drug ‘Thiopentol’ should be injected,or a high volt current should be given to desensitize the animal before killing, and no skinning or cutting should be done before the death is complete.
On many occasions, even the cows given in ‘godhana’ after the death of a hindu is also sold ultimately to the butchers. At times, cows offered to temples are also diverted for slaughter by the vested interests.
International society for cow protection ‘ISCOWP` runs huge goshalas in Hungary etc, where on seeing the lovely cows, many Europeans turn vegetarians.
The following is an article by Shyamasundar (USA ,Vedic astrologer)
The Two most astonishing things for the British who invaded India were:
1) The Indian gurukula system.
2) The Indian agriculture system.
The then Governor of British India Robert Clive made an extensive research on the agriculture system in India.
The outcome of the research was as follows:
1) Cows were the basis of Indian agriculture and agriculture in India cannot be executed without the help of cow.
2) To break the Backbone of Indian agriculture cows had to be eliminated.
The first slaughterhouse in India was started in 1760, with a capacity to kill 30,000 (Thirty thousand only) per day, at least one crore cows were eliminated in an year’s time. He estimated that the number of cows in Bengal outnumbered the number of men. Similar was the situation in the rest of India. As a part of the Master plan to destabilize the India, cow slaughter was initiated. Once the cows were slaughtered, then there was no manure and there is no insecticide like cow urine.
Robert Clive started a number of slaughter houses before he left India.
A hypothesis to understand the position of Indian agriculture without slaughter houses:-
In 1740 in the Arcot District of Tamil Nadu, 54 Quintals of rice was harvested from one acre of land using simple manure and pesticides like cow urine and cow dung.
As a result of the 350 slaughterhouses which worked day and night by 1910. India was practically bereft of cattle. India had to approach England’s doorstep for industrial manure. Thus industrial manure like urea and phosphate made way to India. After India attained independence in the name of “Green Revolution” there was extensive use of industrial manure.
Before British left India the daily newspaper Guardian interviewed India. To one of the questions Gandhiji answered, that the day India attains Independence, all the slaughter houses in India would be closed. In 1929 Nehru in a public meeting stated that if he were to become the prime minister of India, the first thing he would do is to stop all the slaughterhouses.
But the tragedy of the situation is since 1947 the number has increased from 350 to 36,000 slaughter houses. Today, the highly mechanized slaughterhouses Al-kabir and Devanar of Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra has the capacity to slaughter 10,000 cows at a time.
It’s a warning signal to one and all in India to rise to the occasion!!!
Temple Worshippers Soceity
A video titled “Their Last Journey: Cattle Trafficking to Kerala” by Temple Worshippers Society,
The estimate of cattle traffic to Kerala is more than 20,00,000 (yes 20 lakhs) and what we are talking about here is the difficulty in saving and maintaining about a few hundred cattles.
We have been going to different Parihara sthalams / doing different yagnas to get relieved of our problems. Will there be any better pariharam than pulling out a Gomatha from the clutches of butchers and the jaws of death?