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Aug
30

Flights to New Delhi- See where the real cowboys live

New Delhi Cowboys

delhi cows

delhi cows

This September New Delhi hosts one of the most important book fairs in the world. From New York and London, editors are hopping on flights to New Delhi in search of their next great literary find.  Le Cirque has opened, yes, and rents have skyrocketed.

sacred cows still cute?

sacred cows still cute?

But it’s the dang cows that still block traffic, cause judges to pull their hair out, holy men to throw rocks and cowboys to ride early on dung-covered trucks. Delhi cows still wander the streets like stray dogs no matter how many cow wrestlers are sent after them. And the cow wrestlers are no joking matter. I’m pretty sure they’d give any American cowboy a run for their money. After all, they rely on rope lassos and strength to capture the cows which sounds a lot easier than it is, these cows don’t want to be caught and, worse some are bulls, have horns and charge.

delhi cowboys

delhi cowboys

It’s an awkward thing to see all these cows wandering the streets and at first I saw it as a real testament to self-control. After all people are starving here! They’re waiting outside McDonalds for scraps whole cows saunter by. Why not just kill the damn cow? Talk about a happy meal: The whole cow? And who would know? When you’re starving and got to feed your kids, what God wouldn’t understand that, right?  Fine, we get it that Hindus consider cows sacred animals, and their slaughter is banned throughout most of India, but really?

milking cow for free

milking cow for free

And so I did a little research. Remember that old expression: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Bingo.

There are thousands of illegal dairies that operate in the city. The cows wandering the streets are classified as strays, but many of these animals are actually owned by unlicensed dairies. The dairy operators — and the slum dwellers who buy their cheap milk — are the ones who want to keep the cows in the city and are often the biggest threat to the cow-catchers paid by the government to round ‘em up and ship them out.

lasso and muscles

lasso and muscles

There are about 165 cow-catchers in India, men who are paid to remove these sacred beasts from the capital. They start out early. Their stories range from everything from rope burns to broken bones. One even lost an eye when he was gored by a bull.

Once the cow catchers capture their daily quota of 9 or 10 animals, they drive the cattle to a city-run compound where workers use a long pipelike gun to shoot a microchip down each cow’s esophagus. They then deliver the cattle to one of five government-approved cow sanctuaries on the outskirts of the city.

gosadan cow sanctuary

gosadan cow sanctuary

These shelters, called gosadans, are run by Hindu charities but receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional financing from the city. In theory, the microchips keep the shelters honest, preventing them from selling the cows back to illegal dairies or turning them loose.

But the cow catchers say it is not uncommon to capture the same animal twice. Virpal Singh, head cow catcher,  said dairies sometimes use political connections to force the city to release seized cows. And Vijender Kumar Gupta, chairman of the standing committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the government body responsible for overseeing the roundup of stray cattle, said that the influence of this “milk mafia” is the single biggest factor standing in the way of Delhi’s meeting the court order.

Over the past two years, the city government says, it has taken more than 20,000 cows off the street. But this still leaves an estimated 5,000 to 12,000 strays.

still here

still here

There’s something else… Another reason why cows are left untouched even by the starving, and it’s not what comes out  of their udders. It’s what comes out of their ass.  For Indians, the cow is truly a gift from God: from its udders comes food, but from its ass, comes fuel.

cow dung

cow dung

And you’re really not aware of it until you actually leave the city.  Lining the roads in the countryside, in fact, lining any available space not already given over to crops or housing, you’ll find row after row of circular foot-wide cowpies drying in the hot Indian sun.

fuel paddies

fuel paddies

Villagers collect cow dung and make circular pies by mixing water, rice husk and chopped rice straw. They pulverize them by using their feet, and the balls of mix are pressed flat by hand, and sun dried. These are stacked and stored for fuel and fertilizer.

fuel

fuel

Even in Delhi itself, it’s not surprising to see cowpies drying on sidewalks and embankments.  In the rural Indian village of Karanpur, cow poop has been used at a whole new level, for housing.

dung house

dung house

This is why the cow is holy, and why Indians are so forgiving of them. Not because the Indians are hyper religious, but because the cow provides so much and in so many ways. They’re far too valuable to eat. After all, how many more things can you do with their dung? Oh, I know:

dung hat

dung hat

Pinterest spyappsinsider.com/ sms mobile spy free pinterest 9 pinterest reviewed by abhimanyu ghoshal on oct 7

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