From its inception, Team GoPals is working towards creating an awareness about desi cows apart from their utility in daily life. The utility of cows goes beyond the milk and this is the message that all our volunteers have realized in the last many years. Every month our volunteers visit associated Goushalas.
Swachh Goushala Abhiyan
A case in point is the work being done at the Raghavendra Goushala near Malur. GoPals is actively involved in a novel activity modeled on the ”Swacch Bharat” initiative, termed as the “Swachh Goushala Abhiyan”. This involves cleaning the cowsheds as a seva initiative.
We don’t limit ourselves to cleaning the goushala. We have slowly progressed beyond this with the volunteers getting sessions and being involved in various activities
- Preparing “Jeevamrutha” (Ref- Jeevamrutha is Devamrutha) which is a bio energizer.
- A Goushala tour which consists of the introduction of various desi cow breeds. This encourages people to understand the different breeds.
- A session on Terrace gardening where people get to see some of the medicinal and other plants which are there at goushala.
- De-weeding activities across the goushala
This goushala has an associated small-scale industry that is manufacturing 40+ desi cow-based products including Panchagavya. This requires many medicinal herbs and plants. We prepared an elaborate list of medicinal plant species used for making these products. Accordingly, a plan was drawn out to plant these useful saplings. 50 species which are beneficial in terms of medicinal, culinary and fodder were shortlisted. Corporates were roped in to sponsor the GREEN initiative. During July 2017, 700 tree species and 300 herbs were planted.
Initiative from the agriculture team
Did we randomly plant it? Well no. Our agriculture team planned the whole exercise based on the topology of the land available with the goushala.
- All along the borders, we planted trees that tend to grow tall growing and are thorny species.
- There is a small hillock inside the goushala where no trees can survive as it is rocky. As is common knowledge to villagers, we have planted that Sitaphala (Custard Apples) where there are huge rocks.
- We have made use of rainwater harvesting trenches and planted several fruit species in it.
- In the parking areas and walk paths, we have planted trees that provide ample shade along with flowers. We have planted Kadamba, Nagalingapushpa, Sampige, Bakula, Akasha mallige here. We have many Endangered species like Saraca Asoca (the real Ashoka), Guggal and many medicinal herbs as well. People knew the use of Ashoka tree since ages. Sita Mata was kept at Ashoka Vana by Ravan. Now research says that just by inhaling the air from this tree, many female ailments can be prevented and cured.
- As is known fodder will be scare in summer. However, we have planned such that even in summer there will be sufficient fodder available. We have used the knowledge of our ancestors - Tree Based Fodder system. We have planted several Agase/ Agati (Sesbania grandiflora). These not only give high-quality fodder, it also fixes atmospheric Nitrogen and enriches the soil.
- Under the aegis of Uttishta Bharatha, hundreds of school kids prepared seed balls of Subabul near the goushala. This will also serve as green Fodder in summer.
- We planted several Drumstick plants. Drumstick is high in vitamins and Nitrogen. It will serve as a protein source for cows.
- The goushala has two farm ponds to hold rainwater. We have planted Neem and Pongamia trees all-round the pond to purify the water and to hold the soil firmly.
Raghavendra Goushala - Malur is located in a place where it is almost impossible to get groundwater even after a thousand feet. Added to this, the whole area is surrounded by Eucalyptus trees that have contributed to the depletion of groundwater levels. Now after reading that so many plant species are planted, one may have doubts as to how these plants are doing.
For one’s surprise, more than 90% of the saplings that we planted are surviving and some have already started to yield. This is just because of adopting DESI COW BASED FARMING TECHNIQUES.
Every month we prepare 600 liters of Jeevamrutha. In our previous knowledge series, we have explained about Jeevamrutha. We apply to the roots of the plants that we have planted. In addition to that, we do mulching. Mulching is a process used to cover the soil with leaves or any agricultural waste. Word of caution – No leaves of Eucalyptus, Acacia and Silver oak or anything which has an allelopathic effect.
We have also done Live mulching i.e., growing Pulse crops to cover the soil. Horsegram was used for this purpose. All around the saplings we have Horsegram seeds that grew very quickly and covered the soil. This has helped in conserving moisture, reduced weed growth and also it saved all beneficial microbes of Jeevamrutha by not exposing them to direct sunlight. Not only this, Horsegram being a Leguminous species, it also fixes ample atmospheric Nitrogen and enriches the soil. This has also ensured that we conserve water, increase organic matter content of the soil, and increase the count of Desi/ native Earthworms.
If this is the success story of Raghvendra Goushala - Malur, why can’t other Goushalas also consider adopting this model? Every drop counts. Team GoPals will assist interested organizations and individuals who serve Desi COWS. Together we can make a difference and ensure that our desi cows are saved in turn saving our culture and by that us as well