Cow urine: A panacea for all diseases?

Cow urine: A panacea for all diseases?

Members of All India Hindu Mahasabha offer cow urine to a caricature of coronavirus as they attend a gaumutra (cow urine) party in New Delhi. Reuters

Normally, what does one do in a time of illness? The obvious answer is to take medicines, mostly prescribed by doctors. They include tablets, syrups and other remedies. Some injections are also prescribed when the need arises. What about cow urine though? Has it ever been placed in the category of medicines in medical science? Yes, in present-day India.

The terror of the coronavirus has engulfed the world and has spread its reach in India as well. Thousands have lost their lives around the world. At a time when the panic-stricken human race is embroiled in a fight with the disease, a cure is looking like a distant dream. In this scenario enters a new saviour. A saviour hailed by a section of people in India, who never fail to advocate its efficacy and dynamic proficiency. The new saviour goes by the name of 'gaumutra'.

While scientists rack their brains to find a vaccine or any form of treatment, the Hindu Mahasabha organised a 'gaumutra party'. And to the amazement of many, they executed the event with the solemn belief that cow urine could cure the dreaded novel coronavirus. It was attended by hundreds of people who drank the urine and claimed to have become immune to the virus.

In a similar incident, a group of men organised a cow worship programme in West Bengal and drank cups of cow urine, vouching for its 'miraculous' properties. The Bengal BJP's Dilip Ghosh voiced his support, saying that he occasionally drank cow urine and that there was no shame in it. Earlier in March, BJP MLA in Assam Suman Haripriya deviated a bit, propagating that cow dung could also destroy COVID-19.

If the coronavirus only knew that a single animal, oblivious of its existence, had unwittingly produced an antidote that could end its spread.

This is not the first time that cow urine has entered the scenario of treatments and medicines. Back in 2017, the Central Government reportedly planned to create a committee to research the potential for cow urine to cure diseases that ranged from cancer to dengue. The committee was to be housed at IIT-Delhi and the aim was to create a nationwide network of cow-related research. In 2020, the government again looked at a programme where scientists would strive to create toothpastes, shampoos and mosquito repellents from the by-products of indigenous cows. The programme was to be called the 'Scientific Utilisation Through Research Augmentation Prime Products from Indigenous Cows' (SUTRA-PIC India). In 2019, the government reportedly announced that it would invest 60% in any startup that aimed to commercialise cow by-products. One must also remember BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya's claim that cow urine cured her cancer.

Instances like these have given cows a hallowed place in society, wrapping them in an aura of divinity. They are sacred, they are worshipped and they are the divine light that will drag human beings out of purgatory. Even the tiger, India's national animal, which exudes the ferocity of a brute, can shiver in dread and renounce its habit of eating cows, for fear of punishment (it was prescribed in the hard grounds of reality by Goa NCP MLA Churchill Alemao). Soon, one may see a cow walking in the forest, with the other animals parting ways and respectfully bowing down.

In our modern narrative, the cow is the 'king of the jungle' and its urine is the elixir of the earth.

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