◊ By Devaki Bhooshan
Ahmedabad-based Bansi Gir Gaushala recently won the prestigious National Kamdhenu Award 2017—placing 1st in the West Zone—awarded by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Government of India, to the best managed indigenous cow herds across the country.
Operated by the Sutariya brothers, Gopal Sutariya and Gopesh Sutariya—proprietors of the organic supermarket chain SOSE and the organic products company, Suryan Organic—the gaushala (cow habitat) was established to propagate and promote Indian cow breeds. “We believe the true development and prosperity of our nation is only possible through the promotion and adoption of Indian or desi cow breeds, Ayurveda and vedic education. Desi cows are vastly superior to their foreign counterparts; yet most farmers and gaushalas in India blindly import exotic foreign breeds. The Bansi Gir Gaushala is a celebration of indigenous cow breeds and our success is a testament to their superiority,” said Gopal Sutariya on the occasion.
Gopal Sutariya with his Gir cows
Bansi Gir houses over 750 desi Gir cows in 18 different varieties, including many rare sub breeds. Detailed record-keeping of each cow recapitulating 7 generations, as well as, an embargo on cross breeding and inbreeding helps maintain the purity of its stock. The cows are reared free range with a vast area of 376,000 sq yards under their ambit, and are fed a nutritious organic diet incorporating jaggery and medicinal plants and herbs. A special grass is grown organically inhouse for fodder and dedicated vaidyas and medical practitioners ensure the physical well being of the livestock.
As per the Vedic Shastras, the calf has a birthright to the milk produced by two udders of its mother. However, the milk from the remaining two udders may be used for human consumption. Adhering to this practice of ‘dugd dohan’, the cows at Bansi Gir are milked equitably.
The emphasis on humane treatment of cattle is a firm stand against the rampant exploitation of cattle commonplace in the business. Most Indian farmers and breeders abandon their cattle after the birth of 5 to 8 calves, due to diminished milk production. Bansi Gir, on the contrary, has observed increased longevity and enhanced productivity in its cows, with some producing 22 to 27 litres of milk even after birthing 15 to 16 calves. Their cattle rearing methods, the Sutariyas opine, can be adopted by others to increase the lifespan and productivity of their cows, which could curb the frequent cases of cruel abandonment of old and unproductive cows.
The gaushala is reputed for its A2 milk and derivatives such as ghee, cow ark (distilled cow urine), personal care products, and even a range of health supplements for common ailments (all marketed under the Gir brand). It also supplies milk regularly to over 300 families in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The habitat also produces different kinds of natural fertilisers, as well as, panchagavya products comprising cow dung, cow urine, buttermilk and water. Socially responsible, Bansi Gir also participates in philanthropic activities, having distributed seeds for organic fodder grass to over 3,000 other cow shelters, and operating a gurukul (school)—Goteerth Vidyapeeth—imparting Vedic education on the gaushala’s premises.
For further information on the Bansi Gir Gaushala, visit www.bansigir.in
For further information on the gurukul operated by Bansi Gir Gaushala, visit www.gotirthvidyapeeth.in