Recently Sri Ramachandrapura Matha, in the guidance of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji, conducted a huge protest ever against the illogical and impractical decision of the government to fence the Male Mahadeshwara hills (MM Hills) near Bengaluru. This fencing prevents the Gous from entering the forest for grazing, which is the tradition there for hundreds of years. And the drought has caused no fodder and no water in the surrounding areas of MM Hills.
It looks like the heavy drought around the area is the response of nature to government’s insensitive actions! But this has pushed the Gous into deadly situation, raising the question mark over the lives of Gous and the Gou Owners.
The life of Gou owners depends only on Cow dung (i.e. for manure and cow pats). Since they do not even take the milk out of Gous, their financial condition is poor. Hence they do not have the capacity to purchase fodder and feed these lovely desi Gous. They cannot see their Gous dying in front of them. Considering the seriousness of the situation, Raghaveshwara Sri sprang to action, initially asking the government to de-fence the hill and allow the Gous to enter the forest for grazing. When the government showed smart deafness and the number of Gou deaths started to increase; Seer announced that the Math will supply fodder to all the Gous until the area gets stable rain.
On the auspicious day of Ugadi (29 March 2017), HH Raghaveshwara Sri gave a call to people of the nation to lead a simple life for the coming three months and contribute the savings to Gou Prana Bhiskha – an initiative to provide fodder for the Gous at MM Hills. The whole idea of the initiative is to:
- Lead a Simple Life
- Cut unnecessary expenditure
- Avoid deluxe food
- Skip a Meal every week [#GiveUpAMeal]
- Give up unnecessary materials at home
And donate the amount thus saved for supplying fodder!
Gou devotees responded in a big way. Thousands started fasting (#GiveUpAMeal) once a week, few followed it every day. Many dropped idea of making sweets during their functions. They started making family events simpler. Children announced to leave their favorite ice creams and chocolates for 3 months. Few have postponed their travel plans. From children to elders, hundreds of them donated their jewelry. Few gave away their belongings too! These are just a few ways how Gou devotees saved money and donated the same for #GouPranaBhiskha.
#GiveUpAMeal is social media campaign for reaching Gou devotees across the nation. This hashtag created a sensation across the social media. Many big guns on Twitter added the hashtag along with their name in the profile. Every week – the fasting day (i.e. Monday), the #GiveUpAMeal campaign is being run on both twitter and Facebook. The hashtag has trended at top 5 in national level once. There is a page on Facebook dedicated to providing daily updates. They carried out a live streaming of conversations with Gou Owner last week on Facebook. Support came in from across the globe. This social media campaign helped like-minded people get connected and support this noble cause.
Started with supplying one truckload of fodder at two distribution centers, till date the Matha, of course with the huge support of the society, has supplied more than 1,700 tons of fodder at 15 different centers in last 35 days. Each truckload of fodder costing Rs 50,000/- carries around 8-10 tons of fodder. 5 truckloads, (40-50 tons) of fodder is being supplied at the cost of Rs 3 Lakhs every day.
With the increasing demand for fodder and more distribution centers, the Matha needs 1,000 truckloads in the coming 60-70 days. They have estimated an investment of another 3 Crore to save these Gous.
Gou devotees across Karnataka have hit the streets for ‘Bhikshatana’ (i.e. begging) to seek support for this noble cause of protecting thousands of Gous from death. Volunteers walk up to every shop and house on the streets, explain them this cause and ask them to contribute for the same.
We all know the significance of Gou in our daily life, may be milk and its products or meals and food on our table, everything has a contribution of Gou. For better health, a better society, Gou is essential. This is the lease we can do for these innocent animals who can’t even express its plight.
Fodder can be supplied in following forms:
- Corn Grass
- Sugarcane grass
- Green grass via the Hydroponic method.
Or Contribution in terms of money for the fodder!
Volunteers have been working day and night to ensure that these Gous get sufficient fodder in the right way so that those who contributed to the cause must feel satisfied. With no regular time for food and rest, these volunteers are travelling through centers spread across few hundred kilometers from their base camp. There is also an opportunity for volunteers to serve the holy Gous there who can give at least 8 days’ time in a single stretch.
Those interested may contact Shishir Angadi: 9483484074
Those who wish to contribute may do so using the following details. Do remember to fill in this google form to get a receipt if you wish to avail the tax benefit.
By Shishir Angadi