The mention of the word ‘improvement’ at the outset ignites an educative enquiry into the legendary history of Indian cow breeds from the time of glorious India to the present day times. What actually happened to the Indian cow breeds that today they need to be improvised? The story dates back to the times when European invaders eyed the invaluable attributes of Indigenous breeds of cattle. With the advent of East India Company started the export of superior quality Indian Cows as well as Bulls from India. Indian farmers were misguided to abscond their cows on the roads by spreading the air that they yield less milk. Subsequently, Indian farmer adopted foreign exotic breeds while the foreigners started rearing Indian germ plasm.
In 1960 Brazil imported three cattle breeds from India – Gir, Kankrej and Ongole; and today, Brazil has emerged as the world’s biggest exporter of improved cattle embryos and semen of bulls of Indian breeds. It is ironical that today in India such pure breeds are hard to find. Over the years, indigenous breeds on the roads have been subjected to indiscriminate breeding with bulls of foreign breeds. As a result, what we see today in numbers is mostly cross breeds of the two. So what, someone may question? The situation is grave. Heavy expenses incurring in maintenance of exotic breeds, dearth of cow dung as natural fertilizer, lack of suitable livestock for draught purposes and intake of A1 beta-casein in exotic cow’s milk are all together making a toll not just in the house of Indian farmer but on the overall Indian agriculture as well as the national economy.
Article 48 of Indian Constitution (Directive Principles of State policy) that was laid in 1949, apart from prohibiting slaughter of cattle also emphasizes on preservation and improvement of Indigenous breeds of cows. But it is unfortunate that today, India emerged as largest beef exporter in the world, in the year 2014. (US dept. of agriculture) In the year 2004 only, India had about 3,600 legal slaughterhouses and 30,000 illegal ones; what to talk of today? In this scenario, where many native breeds of India are on the verge of extinction, it becomes imperative to not just conserve but also improve and enhance indigenous breeds.
Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (DJJS) under the stewardship of its head and founder, revered Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji has been working incessantly and rigorously to improve and purify indigenous breeds of cows – Sahiwal, Gir, Tharparkar, Kankrej and Hariana at its Kamdhenu Gaushalas in Punjab and New Delhi. Kamdhenu Gaushala incorporates an integrated approach of traditional and modern scientific methodologies for the purpose of breed improvement. This includes segregation of cows in separate sections according to their breeds, age groups, health conditions, physical potential and milking potential, maintenance of details about their phenotypic features, physical and milking potentials and their daily milk output; and selective breeding with bulls of superior quality through natural selection or Artificial Insemination (AI). Practising Bull Mother Farming, special care is given to bulls. At Kamdhenu Gaushala, Bull is considered to be a seed that can potently enhance the selected breeds of cows. It is believed that the quality of cows of native breeds that have become impure due to indiscriminate cross breeding can be revived back only with the instrumentality of bulls of pure breeds. At breeding of superior bulls with mother cows, the native breed quality gets re-established in the offsprings after few generations. Improved breed quality is directly proportional to enhanced milk production and longevity that means increased number of lactations in total lifetime.