CAN YOU imagine a self-sufficient village that meets it energy, fertiliser, pesticide and food requirements on its own? And all these from cow dung? The answer may be yes, if cow dung is used to its full potential. Its utility ranges from powering a bulb to repelling pests. It is also one of the most decentralised resources available at a very low cost. Despite all these, we have not exploited cow dung's potential fully. But thankfully there are people who recognise how crucial cow dung is for a country like India.
A significant achievement in utilising cow dung and urine in the recent times has been the running of the clock on a battery cell powered by slurry of cow dung and urine. The unit, designed by Badridas Nirmoyee of Arogya Mandir, Ratlayee, Rajasthan, requires no battery cell. All it needs is regular replenishment of the urine and dung. The lighting up of a torch light using the slurry has been demonstrated by P R Jatkar, former dean, Veterinary College, Bikaner. "With further refinement of the technology, it will be possible for every household in rural India to have light based on a one time investment of about Rs 300," says L N Modi of the Bharatiya Cattle Development Research Foundation (BCDRF), Delhi.
Some companies, like Govardhan Bio Fertilisers Pvt Ltd, Calcutta, have realised the commercial prospects of cow dung. The company is manufacturing mosquito repellents based on cow dung and sandalwood. The Rajasthan Go Seva Aayog, Jaipur, has developed a package in which about Gobar chimes: a clock running on a cow dung powered battery 20 kg of organic compost can be made from a kilogram of cow dung and biological waste matter. The Aayog is selling this compost at Rs 30 per kg, while the pest repellent developed from cow urine sells as Rs 25 per kg.
The National Dairy Research Institute in Bangalore has developed a pregnancy detection kit in cattle. A filtered slurry of the animal's dung and urine is sprinkled over seeds which are then allowed to germinate. If the seeds germinate, it is an indication that the animal is pregnant.
One of the most common ailments in modern times is hypertension, which is largely a result of the stress people face maintaining demands made on them by urban lifestyles. You can visit Abdul Warsi, a Unani practitioner from Durg in Madhya Pradesh. He became an ardent disciple of Rajvaid Rewashanker Sharma. Warsi treats patients free of cost for diseases ranging from hypertension to tumours. His preparations are based on cow dung and urine. "Take a preparation made by me which contains cow urine and see your obesity vanish," he jokingly challenges the obese. Warsi was awarded the Rishabshree award this year for his efforts.