Gaushala Se Amazon Tak: Tracking Cow Dung Cakes Sold Online
The demand for dung has lead to specialist cow product websites and gaushalas; all intent on protecting the cow.
From dusty gaushalas, cow dung has been dragged onto front page headlines. Politicians can’t stop talking about cow dung’s healing properties. In June 2016, gau rakshaks forcefully fed cow dung mixture to two men for allegedly carrying beef in Faridabad. Even cellphones are being coated with cow dung to control radiation.
So, it comes as no surprise that cow dung cakes are easily available for sale on e-commerce websites in a variety of sizes, prices and infused with ‘special’ properties. But who are the people selling them? Who buys them? And why is cow dung being sold online anyway?
‘Cow Dung for Puja Should be Pure’
While the easiest place to buy cow dung online are websites like Amazon, there are a host of specialised websites which sell only cow-based products. Gaukranti.org is one such website.
‘India’s Biggest Online Store for Cow Products’
That’s what the ‘Gaukranti’ website says on its home page. It sells natural cow dung ‘paint’ for drawing rooms, purified cow urine, cow dung cakes, and has an exclusive membership scheme to what is called the ‘Gau Parivar.’
The website prices cow dung cakes between Rs 45 and Rs 80, apart from cow dung soaps and assorted products. They partner with 13 to 15 gaushalas all over the country, from Gujarat to Bhopal, from where they source their cow dung.
We don’t get too many orders, but usually people buy them for purification pujas and to make medicine from dung juice. Usually, cow dung obtained from desi cows are used in pujas; it should be pure.Representative, Gaukranti.org
Most websites which sell cow dung online have tie ups with a gaushala. The gaushala can be local or located in different cities, on the basis of which cow dung is sold. Some cow dung is considered to be better than the others, for instance dung from Gir cows in Gujarat is believed to contain medicinal properties.
Some websites package the cow dung cakes and price them. Some are aggregators of products from gaushalas, who are direct sellers. Gaukranti.org for instance claims to store products from Holy Cow, Doctor Cow and GoSeva gaushalas. It even has a ‘Search by Gaushala’ option.
Gaushalas Which Sell in Swanky Malls
For the ‘Holy Cow Foundation’, the cow is the ‘giver of Health, Wealth, Devotion and Wisdom’. They work to make gaushalas self-sustaining and have a Holy Cow gaushala as a part of the foundation. It consists of two gaushalas in Noida and Najafgarh which sell cow dung cakes online on websites, including Gaukranti.org. The Holy Cow gaushala also sells other cow products and has retail outlets in malls in Delhi.
We sell 30 biscuit-sized cow dung cakes for Rs 50. There are some who sell for high prices as high as Rs 250 as well! We are trying to innovate in gaushalas in Delhi, but the progress is slow.Anuradha Modi, Founder, Holy Cow Foundation
Estimates suggest that there are around 30 gaushalas in the Delhi-NCR region, not counting the smaller ones. While earlier, the only way to buy cow dung cakes would be to go to a local gaushala, now one can conveniently source cow dung from all over India (shipping charges included, in some cases).
But the expansion of marketplace works both ways. For those working in the gaushala, there are many more customers to cater to. Whether the pricing benefits the gaushala, the middleman or the consumer is a question which remains unanswered.
We deliver cow dung cakes all over the country for agnihotra from local gaushalas, in Gujarat. The demand for cow dung cakes varies. The demand peaks during rainy season, Ganeshutsav and Navratras.Representative, Vedic Vaani.com
Who Uses These Websites?
One, the people who buy cow dung. Most cow dung cakes are sold online as puja ingredients. Some, specifically for certain type of pujas like the agnihotra ceremony. Cow dung is also bought as manure and for bestowing purity during a havan ceremony.
By selling cow dung cakes and other cow products, we are indirectly supporting cows. Promoting the need to protect our cows.Representative, Gaukranti.org
Two, selling cow dung is not the sole aim of most websites specialising in cow products. Underlying the business, there is an attempt to create a community of cow protectors or ‘sevaks’. They inherently believe that cows are ultimate, superior protectors of spiritual and physical well-being.
Cow dung cakes are used to lend purity in havans. We are not a commercial enterprise, we want to create awareness about the importance of cows.T Radhakrishnan, Managing Trustee, Go-seva.net
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