100s of benefits cow dung can bring us by Shri Venishankar M. Vasu
What is despised of today by giving it the name of "dung-economy" is in fact the nucleus of prosperity of the Indian people. And that is why our ancient economists have described dung as the abode of wealth and prosperity and thereby impressed upon the unique utility of dung in relation to the Indian economy.
If we accept the concept that dung is the nucleus of our prosperity and has no substitute, the following will follow:
- Fertilizer will be cheaply available to us.
- Food grains can be produced and made available at reasonable rates.
- Our soil will retain its fertility.
- Cheap fuel will be available to the masses.
- Cheap housing can be provided in the rural areas.
- Our ancient system of medicine i.e. Ayurveda cannot subsist in the absence of dung and the absence of dung has put in peril the health in particular of our women.
I bow in reverence to such obliging ruminants on behalf of humankind!
1. Growing nutritious and cheap food grains.
2. Eco farming.
3. Land has lost its fertility.
4. Slaughter of animals results in millions of Hindu and Muslim families pushed into unemployment.
5. Health of 120 000 000 women in India in peril!
6. Destruction of forests, wildlife and vegetation.
7. Destruction or Scarcity of Herbal Medicines Means End of Ayurvedic Medical Care for Poor Indian Population.
8. Religious rights also snatched away.
9. Dung Cakes Are The Cheapest And Most Easily Available Fuel, But...
10. Effects of Animal Slaughter on Forests vis-à-vis Fuel Shortage.
11. Oh! Even Ash, also is not available!
12. Another Important Use of Ash.
13. Closure of Schools Imparting Experience-based Knowledge.
14. Villages Also Fell Prey to Liquor Addiction.
15. Scarcity of Houses Increased.
16. Value of Dung.
17. Need for Dung.
With growing age, an animal may become useless for milk production, field work or for breeding. However, its age is never a detriment to its service of providing dung.
By unfrittered breeding of cattle, the government has snatched away the availability of precious dung from the people and pushed the entire population in the dungeon of starvation, drought, poverty and chaos in all spheres of life.
And hence, Oh! my fellow countrymen, awake, rise and call for a halt to the government machinery and order them to reverse the policy which they have set in to snatch away the precious wealth of dung from our life.
As a result of disruption in the availability of dung, we have suffered on many fronts, like:
1. Food grains have become costly and without the required nutritional value.
2. Loss of soil fertility.
3. Diminished opportunity to practice several vocations for both Hindu and Muslim population.
4. The health of crores of women in the country at peril
5. Our religious rights snatched away.
6. Ayurveda, our ancient system of medicine has suffered a severe blow
7. Fuel has become scarce and costlier.
8. Ash of dung very valuable to us is not available now.
9. The flow of passing on lessons of rich experience from one generation to the other has stopped.
10. Our forests are gradually being destroyed.
11. Many social evils like addiction to liquor have become widespread.
12. An acute scarcity of residential houses.
No other fertilizer in the world is as cheap and harmless as dung fertilizer. The Indian farmer is able to grow the best and cheapest food grains in the world with the help of dung manure. This alone is capable of providing stability to the Indian economy. However, due to western influence the government of India has resorted to unfrittered slaughter of animals resulting in disruption of availability of cattle dung, forcing farmers to use costly and harmful chemical fertilizers, thereby pushing up the prices of food grains and ultimately affecting the entire economy by throwing it in the dungeon of inflationary pressures.
By cutting down the availability of bullocks and forcing the use of tractors, another dimension has been added to the entire murky affair. As a result, the once independent Indian farmer has now become dependent on others for availability of chemical fertilizers and tractors. He has become dependent on fertilizer plants, railways and money lenders or banks. The farmers have been pressurized into using chemical fertilizers by resorting to false propaganda about the advantages of chemical fertilizers. Besides, he is left with no other option because natural dung manure is not available to him. The use of chemical fertilizers might have marginally increased agricultural production.
However, the cost of production has increased manifold and in addition the taste as well as the nutritional value from food grains have been lost. Rice is one of the main crops in our agricultural system. A major part of our land is under cultivation of rice and quantum-wise also, the maximum production is of rice and hence these figures relate to rice only. The table (1.1) indicates rising cost and production of rice per hectare in a few states with use of chemical fertilizers in India.
Table 1.1: Increase in rice production costs per hectare with use of chemical fertilizers as compared to yield.
|Total production cost of rice Rs. per hectare
|Production per hectare (2.5 acres) in quintals
|Production expenses / quintal in Rs
Indian Agriculture in Brief Published by Agriculture Ministry of Central Government. 19th Edition pp 274-279
Jowar and bajra are the staple diets for the poor and the stalk of these plants, which is the main food for cattle, have registered a growth in production expenses by 47% whereas its production has increased by only 5.5%.
Comparison of rising costs for jowar and bajra with static yields.
|Production cost per hectare (in Rs.)
|Production per hectare (in quintals)
|Production expense per quintal (in Rs.)
If agriculture was based on the services of bullocks alone, and instead of chemical fertilizers only had dung or natural manure been used, the farmer would have been spared of the investment in tractors and the interest cost of such investments or the rent of hiring tractors.
He would have been spared of the heavy cost of chemical fertilizers and interest, the cost of pesticides, the investment cost in motor pumps and its interest cost and the cost incurred for diesel or electricity for running such motor pumps.
Thus he would have been spared a lot of heavy and at the same time unnecessary expenses which now get added to his cost of production.
By burdening the farmer with unnecessary expenses, the cost of production for farmers has increased beyond their capacity.
The food grains have become very costly, which has given rise to various agitations, riots, strikes by farmers demanding rise in prices of agricultural produce, and resultant chaos all over the country.
Surprisingly, even after allowing the price increase to farmers because of violence and agitation, the farmers have not been benefited.
The farmer has become a pawn in the hands of powerful exploiters who are exploiting the entire population through their evil designs. The price increase secured by farmers has been shared between oil and diesel producing countries and manufacturers of chemical fertilizers, tractors, pesticides and government agencies, leaving the farmer where he was!
And hence, if anybody is responsible for agitation, riots, strikes, etc. aimed at securing increase in agricultural produces, it is the government functioning under the malicious
guidance of western institutions. The government has endangered the interest of the masses by stopping the flow of cattle dung, and thus they have committed an inexcusable crime.
Why should the people of India not put them on trial for this crime?
If the nutritional elements from soil which are consumed by crops are not replenished after each crop season, the soil loses its fertility gradually. The food grains grown on such soil become nutritionally poorer and eventually the land becomes barren and gets transformed into a wasteland. Table 1.3 shows the quantum of nutritional elements absorbed by crops from the soil, indicated as per acre consumption.
TABLE 1.3: The quantities of plant nutrients removed from soil by different crops (kg./ha)
|Yield (grain) kg/ha
("Handbook of agriculture" (1987) pp.213 Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR))
To replenish such nutrients consumed by crops from the soil, cattle dung or organic manure, is the best, cheapest, harmless and most easily available manure. Now, let us have a look at nutrients contained in dung and urine of different animals which help in restoring fertility to the soil. The following table indicates the contents of some of the basic nutrients of dung manure.
Table 1.4 The average nutrient contents of manure
|TYPE OF MANURE
|% Nitrogen (N)
|% Phosphoric acid (P2O5)
|Dung of cow/buffalo
|Dung of sheep and goat
|Dry compost manure
|0.9 -3. 0
|1.0 -2. 0
|Waste from stable cows/buffalos or horses
("Handbook of Agriculture" (1987) pp. 215, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR))
Thus, if soil has to be prevented from becoming barren, it is necessary to apply 10 bullock-cart loads or 5 tonnes of dung manure for each acre of land. The remaining shortfall in maintaining fertility of soil is made up by dung and urine of sheep and goats which wander on farms everywhere. The Indian council of Agricultural Research has found by experiments that if the farms are properly ploughed and if 5 tonnes of dung manure is used for each acre, then our agricultural land is capable of giving the following yields of crops per acre:
TABLE 1.5: Yields of different food crops in soil enriched by optimum levels of bovine dung.
(Handbook of Agriculture (1969) (ICAR) pp.103)
However, when sufficient natural manure is not available, the productivity of crops per acre get reduced as indicated by the following table.
TABLE 1.6- Yields of different food crops grown on soil with suboptimum levels of cow dung inputs.
Let us have a look at two other proofs which indicate the importance of natural manure. In a book titled "Cow in India" by Dr. Satishchandra Dasgupta, on page 43 and 562 the following indication about utility of natural manure can be found. In three farms of equal sizes, the first farm was covered with 2 1/2 " thick layer of natural manure and was cultivated. In the second farm, the layer was only 1/2" thick and in the third farm, no natural manure was used. The results were as under:
The above results make it clear that the yield in the first farm was 6 and 31/2 times greater for rice and grass compared to the third farm which was without any natural manure. In another example in the government dairy on Telan Kheri when cow and bullock dung were used as manure on the farm, the annual yield of crop increased significantly with this practice. (refer Table 1.8)
TABLE 1.8- Cumulative increase in yields of crop and grass grown on soil enriched by bovine dung.
(Report of Industrial Survey committee, Volume II)
Is not the use of natural manure astonishing? In 6 years, food grain production went up by 178.5% and that of grass by 54.5%! Can chemical fertilizers do this without adversely affecting the capability and fertility of land?
Why then are people burdened with huge capital expenses in setting up chemical fertilizer plants? Indian agriculture is burdened by more than Rs 1,500 crores as additional costs every year. The subsidy provided by government, of this additional burden is Rs 400 crores, which the government collects from people by way of taxes. The remaining Rs 1100 crores is recovered by the farmer by increasing the price of food grains. Thus, the poor population which consumes the food grains produced with use of chemical fertilizers, is crushed between the farmer on one hand, and government on the other. The high prices of food grains are the root cause of ever increasing inflation in our economy. (Note: The above figures of subsidy quoted by the author, though looked worrisome in the eighties, are peanuts compared to the subsidy burden in the nineties as indicated by following figures.)
TABLE 1.9. Subsidies provided in the Central budget from 1990-91 to 1997-98 (Rs in crores)
|1) Food and fertilizer Subsidies:
|Indigenous (urea) fertilizer
|Imported (urea) fertilizer
|Fertilizer subsidy to small and marginal farmers
|Export promotion and market development
|Sale of decontrolled fertilizer with concession to farmers
|2) Debt Relief to Farmers
|3) Other subsidies:
|Mill made cloth
|Import/export of Sugar, Edible oils, etc.
|Assistance for fertilizer promotion
|Percentage of Food and fertilizer subsidy to total subsidy
Source: Rajya Sabha Unstarted question , 2270
In view of this situation only, some time ago our (late) Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, during her broadcast, had advised our farmers to use compost fertilizers which is made by mixture of dung and urine of animals, their left over food in the form of roots of grass, the dead leaves of trees, etc. People must assert their rights to ask as to under whose direction and under whose pressure, the Government machinery and its bureaucrats are burdening the people with such unbearable and expensive cost of fertilizers.
As a result of large scale slaughter of animals resulting in non-availability of dung, millions of Hindus and Muslims have lost their age-old profession.
1. The dung cake as well as the meat of the bullock are both commercial commodities. If one bullock is slaughtered, its meat (slaughtering activity) can sustain the butchers trade for only a day. For the next day's trade another bullock has to be slaughtered. But if the bullock is not slaughtered, about 5 to 6 thousand dung cakes can be made out of its dung per year, and by the sale of such dung cake, one person can be sustained for a whole year. If a bullock survives even for 5 years after becoming otherwise useless, it can provide employment to a person for 5 years. Whereas a butchered bullock can provide employment only for a day or two.
2. As confessed by the butchers in Gujarat, they slaughter 70 bullocks every day, which means approximately 25,000 bullocks in a year. Thus 25,000 poor women, whether Hindus or Muslims, surviving on sale of dung cakes, which would have been produced by these 25,000 bullocks, are deprived of their source of livelihood which can sustain them for years.
3. The entire Harijan community has become jobless as a result of the policy of animal slaughter and export of leather. This is so because the free availability of corpses of naturally deceased animals to them is now stopped. Now the living animals are slaughtered in the slaughter houses and the better quality of skin or leather is purchased by Corporate giants for manufacture of leather-ware or for export, whereas inferior quality of leather has to be purchased by the Harijan cobbler, after paying a price for it.
4. A builder in Bombay cannot build houses with mortar, i.e. mixture of cattle dung, clay and horse dung. Our masons in the city also cannot build such a house. Only the potters in the villages can build such a house. The potters used to build houses in villages using such mixture, and they also used to make roof tiles out of clay for such houses. In the present times, when houses are not made of dung and clay, there is no use for the roof tiles also, and thus the potter has lost his profession. With growing scarcity of dung, houses are no longer made of mixture of dung and clay and as a result, the vocation of making roof tiles connected with this system of housing has also started vanishing. As per government estimates, the shortfall of houses in the country is to the tune of 31,000,000 (according to "India:1993). The animal dung is the basic material to build houses in villages. If only potter families are engaged in construction of houses in villages, it will need 55 lakh potter families to build 3 crore houses. A similar number of potter families will be needed to make roof tiles, required in billions for covering such houses. Thus dung is the basis to providing an independent profession to about 3 crore potters in our country. However, with the disruption in availability of animal dung, lakhs of Hindu and Muslim potter families had to migrate to cities, and are now dumped as human scrap on the footpaths of large cities and towns. The potters have fundamental rights to pursue their own business or profession. As a result of lack of knowledge about their fundamental rights, they are unable to demand them in courts of law.
The above situations are just a few examples of how the Indian economy and its vast population has been adversely affected as a result of abandoning what is sarcastically described as "Dung Economy". In reality, the government machinery controlled by bureaucrats educated by western perspectives, working under the diktat of their foreign masters, have deprived the people of this country of their age-old professions by resorting to indiscriminate animal slaughter, and have thus pushed crores of Hindus and Muslims in the dungeon of unemployment and poverty. The government itself is to blame for the growing unemployment in our country. However, to avoid being blamed for this situation and to divert the attention of people from this criminal conspiracy, a cosmetic effort is made to provide employment to a few thousands, out of crores rendered unemployed, under various government sponsored schemes. None else but people themselves will have to rise to expose the government and draw public attention to the real situation so that the independent profession of crores of Hindu and Muslim brothers are restored.
The female population in the villages of India in the reproductive age group is 15 crores. They need utmost care at the time of giving birth to a child and immediately thereafter.
For centuries, experienced midwives used to supervise and provide necessary care as per the principles of Ayurveda to women in village's time of childbirth. Two basic aids for such a system of care were a massage of oil, and fomentation on fire lit with dung cakes.
The midwives used to massage the woman and new born child for 40 days after delivery, with the help of oil and slow fomentation, with the help of heated dung cakes.
However, now the dung cakes have become almost unavailable. Oil also is very costly and hence, poor women are unable to buy it.
Thus, if the necessary aids for providing care during childbirth are not available, what is the use of persons providing such care? And thus, lakhs of Hindu and Muslim midwives have lost their centuries old, ancestral and at the same time, very useful profession.
Thus, on one hand, conventional and cheap medical care, available to crores of poor women at the time of their childbirth is snatched away, and on the other, modern and costly medical care is either not available or beyond the reach of the needy.
As a result of this situation, in the absence of proper and timely medical care, crores of women get afflicted by various diseases associated with childbirth, and live a painful life thereafter till death.
It is surprising that various organizations and social workers who claim to be working for the welfare of women, or scholars in the field of Ayurveda, or any women's organization have not uttered a single word against this criminal carelessness towards child and mother health or have never drawn attention to these problems!
Western thinking and philosophy have limited the meaning of liberation of women, only to procuring liberties for women to indulge in shameless behavior, permissiveness and abortion
With disruption of dung availability, our rich forests also got destroyed. Thousands of full grown giant trees which were destroyed, would value crores and crores of rupees at today's prices. If the dung and dung cakes can preserve and protect these invaluable assets worth crores and crores of rupees, the dung itself can be considered to be worth crores and the value of the animals who provide such dung is naturally much more! It might serve the interest of a few butchers if animals are allowed to be slaughtered, but in preventing such slaughter, the nation would save assets worth crores of rupees and the religion and culture of the entire nation. With the depletion of forests, scarcity of water set in. With scarcity of water, many vegetarian animals such as deer and rabbits died due to thirst. With their death, animals like tigers, panthers, etc. who used to survive on smaller animals, also died due to hunger. Thus, with the gradual depletion of the wildlife, the manure which was available in the forests in the form of their dung and urine, also stopped becoming available. With slaughter of goats and sheep who wander in the forests, the manure in the form of their droppings and urine also became unavailable. Thus, many herbal medicines which used to grow naturally in the forests, also became extinct or became scarce, and lost the effectiveness of their medicinal properties.
Value of Services Rendered by Trees - Lakhs of Rupees!
According to a paper presented in the Indian Science Congress held in Varanasi in January 1981, the valuation of a 15 year old tree at rates prevailing at that time was Rs 15.7 lakhs. The bifurcation of this value was arrived at as under:
TABLE 1.10 - Value of a single tree.
|Control of air pollution
|Retention of fertility of soil
|Contribution towards recycling of water and controlling humidity
|Provision for shelter to birds and animals
The above estimates do not include the value of fruits and flowers yielded by the tree or the value of its timber when it dies its natural death. The above information was given by Prof. T.M. Das of Calcutta Agriculture university while delivering his address as chairman of the Indian Science Congress, deliberating on the subject of "Plant and Pollution". This has been reported by
Times of India in its 5th January, 1981 issue on page 5.
With non availability of dung, our forests also get destroyed and with the destruction of forests, many Ayurvedic herbal medicines also became either extinct or scarce. How many people can be treated with the costly Bhasma (oxides of various minerals like Gold, Copper, pearls etc.) and how many patients can afford such Bhasma? On the other hand, medicines under Allopathic system are also very costly and beyond the reach of poor people, and thus a vast majority of poor people living in Indian villages, carry on with illness for life, without any treatment. Herbal medicines are the basis of Ayurvedic system of medicines. Similarly, Bhasmas are also the basis of the system. These Bhasmas must be prepared on fire lit with the help of dung cakes only. If coal or electricity is used to make the Bhasmas, then it will be like running an automobile with kerosene instead of petrol. What happens to an automobile engine if kerosene is used, will also happen to the Bhasmas and the patients who consume such Bhasmas. Many medicines have to be purified before their use and such purification can be done only with the help of dung. In different branches of Ayurveda, paks are made of different medicines, and these paks must also be made on the slow burning dung cake fire only. Nowadays, because they are made on other types of fire, they do not yield the desired results and hence people have started losing faith in Ayurveda. Thus, by stopping the flow of dung and dung cakes to the Ayurvedic system, the government has dealt a death blow to the system and yet they are not tired of talking about providing encouragement to Ayurveda! This is nothing but cheating, and unfortunately the scholars of Ayurveda seem to be enjoying this act of cheating on the part of the government. How could scholars of Ayurveda tolerate this state of affairs, when an age old ancient system is put into such peril. On the one hand they talk of encouraging Ayurveda, and on the other, there is destruction of the most essential aspects of Ayurveda i.e. herbal medicines, cow's milk and cow's ghee, dung and dung cakes. The duplicity of government policy can be seen from such an occurrence. If we have to prevent Ayurveda from dying; the oldest of the medical systems, which is well accepted and which has withstood all the challenges to its principles of diagnosis, treatment etc. for centuries; then it is essential that the government be challenged, its duplicity exposed and it be forced to increase dung cake availability in the interest of this great medical science. If Ayurveda as a science eventually dies, it will be due to inaction and timidity and the urge of Ayurvedic scholars to indulge in false flattery of the government machinery.
In Hindu culture, there are 16 religious rituals (Sanskar) starting from birth (in fact there is one sanskar even before birth!) to death and none of these rituals can be performed without dung. It is essential to attain or provide purity to the mind, to the environment or surroundings, to the mental status and to the ingredients which are utilized at the time of performing any religious ritual. The place where the religious ritual is to be performed is cleaned and made pure by coating it with a layer of cow dung. A fire is often lit with dung cakes, sandalwood, gugal, etc to provide fragrance and cleanse the surrounding environment. It is not possible to do this on fire lit with kerosene or gas or electric stove. For purification of mind and heart while performing any religious ritual, one has to consume what is known as Pancha Gavya i.e. a mixture of cow milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine in defined ratios. The consumption of this mixture is believed to keep mind and heart pure and peaceful. As an automobile cannot be driven when its engine is very hot, similarly when the mind is not at peace, the religious ritual performed in such a state of mind does not give the desired result. For purification of body there was a practice to smear cow dung on the body and then take a bath. Purification of essential ingredients which are used for offering in the fire, is also necessary and one of the items is cow dung. With cow dung, small dry branches of certain specified trees and some other specified vegetation or herbs are also required. Till 1915, in the Indian Princely States where cow slaughter was banned, the pyre for consigning dead bodies to fire were lit with the help of dung cakes only. When dung cakes became scarce, this ritual was performed on wood fire. For burning an average dead body, four quintals of wood is required. With depletion of forests, even wood is scarcely available and wherever it is available, it is very costly. In view of this situation, in some of the villages now, a small bundle of burning grass is put on the face of the dead body and then it is buried. Thus the right of the Hindu population to perform even the last of the 16 rituals i.e. AGNI SANSKAR is snatched away. Of all the 16 religious rituals referred to earlier, starting from the birth of a human being, till his death, the AGNI SANSKAR is the last of these 16 rituals. It is a fundamental religious right of each Hindu. To protect this right, it is essential that the availability of dung cakes is increased at a very fast pace. When an adult bullock is slaughtered, it affects the Sanskar of 10 persons per year. If a bullock is allowed to live 10 more years beyond the age of its premature death by slaughter, it can provide dung cakes for Agni Sanskar of 100 human beings. If wood is forced (as it is now) to be used for Agni Sanskar in the absence of dung cakes, its cost would be Rs 15 lakhs per tree, as per the valuation done by scientists.
Abundant food grains may be cultivated, but what if there is no fuel to cook the food? We cannot eat raw food grains, and for cooking, fuel is necessary. The cheapest and most easily available fuel are dung cakes. It can be available wherever needed. Its flow is unending. Till the time our country had not resorted to animal slaughter, the rural population used to get free dung cakes for fuel. The affluent who used to buy dung cakes had to spend only Rs 3 to 5 in a year. Now people have to use kerosene, which has to be imported from countries which are exploiting to great advantage, the folly of our planners. When Nadirshah came to loot India, he had to cross the Indian border and he also had to fight a fierce battle. Despite this, what he looted from this country and took away with him, was just a drop out of the ocean of the wealth of this nation. Today, the successors of Nadirshah have stormed into the kitchen of every household of our villages with the help of a can of kerosene. They can exploit us at their free will, by increasing the price of kerosene as and when they feel like. They can cut short the supply of kerosene at their will and force us to either eat raw food or to starve or to surrender to the countries who are their allies and who are unfriendly to us. This should make it very clear how valuable is the contribution of even a bullock in the field of fuel, and how the sovereignty and security of the nation is connected with it. Gas and kerosene, once used, are lost forever, and they are not renewable sources of energy. The day their availability becomes extinct, it will lead to starvation. Their prices keep on increasing with their increased use and in addition, they create pollution. With the compulsion to use alternative fuels like kerosene and gas in place of dung cakes, each family has been burdened with an additional annual expense of Rs -1500/ Is it not wiser to save this Rs 1500 by reverting back to dung cakes as fuel? There will be an additional saving of about Rs 75/ per annum for a family which is spent on washing powders, as the ash of dung cakes which will be freely available can serve the same purpose. This saving can be used to provide food, clothing and education to millions of children, and can be utilized for such other noble purposes. Potential value of dung as fuel would be clear from the following small calculation India has a population of about 96 crores; 70% of this population i.e. 67 crore people live in rural areas. Considering 5 persons to a family, it means 13.4 families. Dung fuel if available, can be used by these rural families as was being done only a few decades ago. Due to the non-availability of dung cakes for fuel, other types of fuel are used. For valuation purpose, let us take the value of LPG to assess the fuel cost. The LPG cylinder is on an average priced at Rs 150/ and for a family of 5, one cylinder lasts for about a month. Thus each family has to spend Rs 1800 per annum on cooking fuel. Thus for 13.4 crore families, the fuel cost comes to 13.4 crore x Rs 1800- i.e. Rs 24,120 crore. Thus theoretically speaking, if the entire rural population reverts to dung cake fuel it will save the nation a whopping burden of Rs 24,120 p.a. which is spent on one or the other form of fuel today. This is the unlimited potential of dung in its utility as fuel.
After independence, the availability of dung cakes reduced drastically. This forced people to use firewood as fuel. The ratio of firewood to food grain price doubled between 1975-85 which made cutting wood for sale economically attractive. Neglect of people's need for cheap and local fuel has made cutting wood for firewood a lucrative trade. A World Bank report quoting figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that the total extraction of wood in India was 264 million cubic meters in 1988, of which 240 million cubic meters was for fuel. Of the total wood consumed in the country, 90% is for fuel. The remaining 10% comprises timber, pulp-wood and poles.
TABLE 1.11 shows source-wise energy consumption in householder sector
|% share of energy forms (Rural)
|% share of energy forms (Urban)
(Ref. A report of Working Group on Energy Policy 1979 (adapted in the Report of Firewood
study Committee appointed by Planning Commission Pub. by CMIE June 1982 Page6)
The Report of Firewood study committee appointed by the Planning Commission in 1981-82 states that "if the present trend continues, the fuel required to cook the food, rather than the food to cook, may pose the greater challenge". According to Dr. Kushoo, an eminent Indian environmentalist, at the current rate of depletion of firewood, 250 million people in the year 2,000 will not be able to cook their food, let alone meet the energy needs. The annual requirement of fuel wood in India by the year 2,000 is estimated to be 200 million tonnes. The shortfall has been estimated to be about 137 tonnes. (Ref: Business Standard, 28 November, 1992) At the Central Board of Ministry of Forest and Environment meeting presided over by the late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the shortfall of fuel wood was estimated to be around 100 million tons. In order to put further restriction on forest cutting, the government decided to import about 125 million tons of firewood, which would cost Rs. 4,000 crores. The following table shows time taken and distance traveled by villagers for firewood in different regions:
TABLE 1.12 Firewood Collection
|over 5 km
|2. Gujarat (Plains)
|Nagbrahman & Sambrani (1983)
|Once every 4 days
|Once every 2 days
|(c) Severely depleted
|3. Madhya Pradesh (Plains)
|Chanand bosbourah (1980)
|4. Kumaon (hills)
|Fogler and Dewan (1983)
|5. Karnataka (Plains)
|6. Garhwal (hills)
Cooking and heating requirement of a villager having a family of 5 members, has been calculated to be around 1.25 million Kcal/year. About 20% of this requirement could be met from vegetative waste. Fuel wood would be needed to meet the remaining 80%. As such, 1125 kg of fuel wood would be required by a family annually. A tree of 5 years of age will yield between 100 to 125 kg of fuel wood approximately i.e. 10 trees of around 5 years of age will have to be cut to meet the fuel requirements of one family. ( Ref. Report of the Firewood Study Committee appointed by Planning Commission, June 1982- pp. 27) To make up the gap between demand and supply of firewood, 34 million hectares of land area is required to be planted with fuel wood crops during the next decade, requiring an outlay of Rs. 34,000 crores. According to "Indian Forester, July, 1978" firewood has a heating value of 4708 Kcal/kg and dry dung cake has a heating value of 2092 Kcal/kg. As explained earlier, a tree of 5 years of age will yield 100 to 125 kg of firewood. Dung available from a large animal (cow/bullock/buffalo) will be 5.0 tonnes p.a. Therefore, dry dung available will be 5.4 tonnes x .3 = 1620 kg/annum, which is equivalent to 712.8 kg of wood. Therefore one large animal, if kept alive, saves 6 trees every year. (Report of Firewood study Committee, June 1982 Page 13 and Letter from Punjabrao Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola, dated 16-4-93) The destruction of forests for firewood will not stop as long as natural sources of energy from non-wood sources is not made available to villages at their doorsteps. In this situation, it is necessary to increase the supply of cattle (i.e. cow and buffalo) dung cakes to be used as fuel. Dung cake obtained from one cattle is sufficient for a family for a year. Dung cakes are generated within 24 hours only. There are several economic, social and environmental advantages from using dung cakes, because of which it deserves to be considered an ideal energy source. Dung cakes as renewable and safe energy source deserves due recognition. In absence of LPG or kerosene, villagers cut trees for their daily firewood requirement. Since dung of one large animal per annum is equivalent to fuel of 6 trees, crores of trees can be saved by stopping slaughter of animals. India's poverty is closely linked with its increasing deforestation and land degradation. As much as half of the 329 million hectares is considered degraded in one form or another. Satellite imagery in the seventies and eighties, revealed that forests were losing tree cover at the staggering rate of 1.3 million hectares every year. Of 75 million hectares of forest under forest management, 40 million hectares are now without tree cover. The existing plant cover is only about 12% as compared to the ideal of 33%. The area under forest in India is half of what it was 50 years ago. The widening gap between demand and supply of fuel wood is the main cause of fast depletion of forest cover, which in turn has proved to be ecologically disastrous, as denudation leads to soil erosion, floods, shortage of water, loss of food grain production, and destruction of rural economy. (Ref. The Hindu Survey of Indian Environment, 1992 pp 31-37).
How would you evaluate the value of ash of dung cakes? This ash can save us from the slavery of World Bank! It may not be possible to assign any price in monetary terms to the ash which is left over after cooking on the dung cakes. However, it is very precious. This ash is very, very useful in preservation of food grains. In olden days, the kings used to preserve jowar for their subjects for use during drought year. For preserving jowar to last for years, ash of equal weight was mixed with jowar, and it then could be stored in this way for 12 years without any damage. Even in normal; course people could store food grains for 2 to 3 years in their storage tanks made of clay in each household, by mixing cow dung ash in food grains. Today, due to nonavailability of ash, people have forgotten its use. Now we borrow millions of dollars from World Bank for construction of air-conditioned warehouses for storing food grains. Now we resort to spraying of poisonous pesticides on food grains for their preservation, which adversely affects health of people. The World Bank and the multinational pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage of scarcity of dung and dung cakes. An old bullock may not be able to work in the farm or to pull weight, but it is capable of giving dung till its death, and this dung can keep us free from inflation, free from disease and also preserve the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.
Cleaning of utensils is one of the routine and essential household chores. For centuries, the cleaning of utensils was done with the help of ash of dung cakes. Now, instead of dung cake, washing powder or other detergent has to be used. The expenses on this head comes to about Rs 75 to Rs 100 per annum per family. What was inexpensive or totally free, now costs crores of rupees for the society as a whole, and the families in the middle class are the worst affected. The middle class families have to curtail their other expenses to meet this expense and the curtailment is either in their food expenses, education or medical expenses. In 1960, an issue was raised in the Supreme Court, that when the nation is spending just Rs 5 per head on education, how was it worthwhile to spend Rs 19 to maintain an old animal. (The argument was presumably to justify animal slaughter) The issue today, is that if we are unable to spend Rs 25 per head on education, is it worthwhile to spend Rs 75 to Rs 100 on an activity like cleaning of utensils? Is it not worthwhile to save this 100 rupees, and spend them on education, by reverting to dung ash as means to clean utensils.
In villages during winter, people used to make bonfire of dung cakes at night and sit around it talking. The youth helped elderly persons who were suffering from arthritis related problems, by providing them fomentation from fire, and the elderly people used to talk about their own experiences in life, the family traditions, the social customs, the history of the village and thus pass on the rich experience and knowledge to succeeding generations. The local poets used to sing our ancient epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and thus kept alive the flow of culture in our society. In the absence of dung cakes, these village square assemblies had to discontinue, and thus the young generation was deprived of the flow of knowledge and real history. With the closure of such village square centers, the younger generation diverted itself and drifted to gambling dens and hooch shops. One single animal, be it a cow, bullock or sheep, is much more valuable to the society compared to even a hospital or a college. This is so because the cattle dung creates conditions as described earlier which inculcate into the people the qualities of nursing, organization, social service, passing on knowledge of real history, maintenance and development of religions, social and family feelings and preventing youths from drifting away to gambling dens and hooch.
Most of the widely prevalent diseases in villages are due to cold and imbalanced elements in the human body (known as VAYU) as also due to various injuries arising out of accidents. In all such diseases, a major therapeutic procedure was fomentation by the dung cake fire. The hot water bag fomentation is not available in villages for prevention from cold, cold related diseases and as protection against severe cold climate. The only way for protection from this was the fire of dung cakes and when this was snatched away, people turned to liquor. They started applying liquor on the body for heat and also started consuming liquor, thus pushing up the demand for liquor, and also increased the number of liquor manufacturers and addicts.
With non-availability of dung, the scarcity of houses in villages is more than 3 crores. All the cement plants of the country together cannot meet this scarcity. The easiest way out is to increase the availability of cattle dung.
What is the value of cattle dung? Does this question still need an answer?
The value of dung is much more than even the famous Kohinoor diamond. "How is it viable to maintain an old bullock which consumes grass of Rs 700 in a year and in return gives dung and urine worth only Rs 500 ? How absurd, unscientific and hollow this argument is, is clear from what is described below. The market price for any commodity can be manipulated (i.e. increased or decreased) by speculation and hoarding, by administrative measures, or by similar calculated action. But this cannot alter its value. Grass can be priced as Rs 1 per kg or Rs 5 per kg also. But its value as the means to help animals to survive, to feed them and to give them strength cannot be altered. The stalk of food grain plants which becomes useless after removal of food grains from it, is the food for animals. When this useless stalk is returned by animals in the form of their dung, its value is astonishing. Even an old bullock gives 5 tons of dung and 3,443 pounds of urine in a year, which can help in the manufacture of 20 cart loads of compost manure. For cultivating jowar and bajra on dry land, 5 carts of compost manure is required for each acre. Thus, the compost manure provided by one single old bullock can meet the manure need for 4 acres of land. On irrigated land with the help of such manure, about 2,800 to 3,600 kg of bajra can be grown on 4 acres of land and where irrigation facility is not available, the yield can be about 1,500 to 1,600 kg. This can feed about 10 to 12 human beings throughout a year. Thus there is a wide difference between concepts of price and value. Whether the food grain is priced at Rs 1 per 10 kg or Rs 10 per 1 kg, it does not affect the intrinsic value of the food grains. Its value lies in the utility of providing nutrition and life to human beings. The right to life is a fundamental right and it can be basically protected only with proper food and feeding and the cheap and nutritious food grains required for feeding can be grown with the help of dung. Thus, the most fundamental thing to the fundamental right of living for the human beings is bovine dung. It is absolutely foolish to evaluate this function of dung in monetary terms. A servant employed by us, has to be paid wages for his labor. He demands wage rise, he also demands bonus, he resorts to strike if bonus is less than his expectation, and also abuses the employer. But our servants in the form of these dumb cattle do not demand any wages from us, do not demand any wage rise or bonus. They survive on whatever we offer them to feed, and in return even favor us with a bonus in the form of most valuable dung. And still we are after the blood, meat, hides and skin of such animals and for that we slaughter them alive. We do not wait till they die their natural death to get their hides and skin.
For land under cultivation it is necessary to use 5 tons i.e. 10 cart loads of dung manure per acre. If less manure is used, the soil becomes weaker, gradually loses its fertility and becomes barren over a period of time. At this rate, 43,07,50,000 acres of cultivable land in our country will need 215,37,50,000 tonnes of dung manure. An adult cattle on an average gives 4 tonnes of dung and 3,343 pounds of urine. A cattle less than 3 years of age would yield half this quantity. (Source: Cow in India Page 374 by Dr. Satishchandra Dasgupta quoting Dr. P.E. Lender who was an agricultural chemist of the Government of Punjab during British Regime) Our cattle population is as under:
TABLE 1.13 Domestic Ruminant population in the country ( in '000's)
|Bulls and bullocks over 3 years of age
|Cows 3 years and above
|Calves less than 3 years
|TOTAL COW FAMILY
|Buffaloes and calves
Thus, the total population of various types of the above animals is 34.33 crores. The advocates of cow slaughter are making propaganda in the country and abroad that the cow population alone is 34 crores, and thus cheat the people and make them believe that slaughter of cows is necessary to keep in check their population. In fact, the number of calves should be at least 2 to 2 1/2 times more than the number of cows. However, in our country the number of calves is much less than the number of cows, because under the guise of killing old bullocks, more calves are slaughtered for their soft and tender skin. Of the above animal population, only 16.82 crores of animals are adult animals (i.e. above 3 years of age). Animals of less than 3 years of age are 6.76 crores, and the number of sheep and goats is 10.75 crores. Let us now consider the dung yield of the above animal population.
|16,81,70,000 adult animals at 4 tonnes p.a
|6,76,00,000 calves at 2 tonnes p.a.
|10,75,10,000 goats and sheep at 1/2 tonne p.a.
(Source: Indian Agriculture in Brief, 18th edition by Agriculture Department of Central
As we have seen above, for manure alone we need 215.37 crore tons of dung per annum. As against this, the dung production is only 86.16 crore tons. Thus, for agricultural need alone, the annual scarcity of dung is 129 crore tonnes. Besides this, we need 124.36 crore tonnes of dung to meet the needs for fuel, housing, preservation of food grains, repair of houses and for cleaning utensils etc. Thus, as against our annual requirement of 340 crore tonnes of dung, the availability is only 86 crore tonnes, which is just 40% of the requirement for dung alone. It is regrettable that out of the Six Planning Commissions so far, none has taken note of the colossal scarcity of bullocks for agriculture. If animal slaughter is totally banned by legislation and is implemented with strictness and honesty, then only will it be possible to meet this gigantic scarcity of dung manure.
From what has been explained above, the readers will now realize that cutting short the source of dung, has engulfed the entire nation, economically, intellectually, and physically, irrespective of any distinction as to the caste, creed, religion or region. Dung is such a invaluable commodity, that not a single individual of the country can remain immune from the effects of its scarcity, whether such a person is very affluent or poor, whether he is Hindu, Muslim, Parsi or Christian. The scarcity of dung is eating away universally everyone without any distinction. Dung economy was the most scientific economic system evolved by the great Aryan race. Unless we accept this, our future will become more and more gory. We urgently need our dung culture and its restoration to the predominant place where it belongs. This is not possible unless a total ban on animal slaughter is imposed. But unfortunately, the government of our country is bent on converting the cultured and civilized population of this great nation, into herds of wild human beings. The religious heads on whom lies the responsibility of preserving the culture and civilization of the population must rise from their deep sleep.