In these times of cow politics, the poor bovine is the only one ignorant of the status it has suddenly acquired. And perhaps as the logical next step it is now being fast turned into a lucrative enterprise.

A Gaushala (cow shelter) in Chandigarh has now come up with an innovative idea to cash in on the spirituality of the bovine issue. The enterpreneur is now selling the milk from this shelter by linking it to the karma of the individual. So, the cows milk is being peddled as a cleanser of individual Karmas, with consumption of course being projected as a long term investment.

The Gaushala owner Rishy Vyas, insists that the milk is ‘shudh’ as he ensures that the cow is not subjected to any ‘atrocity’ such as hormonal injections for increased flow of milk. He talks about his love for his parents, and relates it to the love for the mother cow and father bull. He insists, of course, that the venture is not commercial although the milk is being sold as a Karma free product, under the brand name “Ahimsa.” This is because the cows here have not been subjected to any “atrocity.”

“We take care of our cows and bulls till the end of their life. Selling them when they are not productive is not our way,” Vyas says. He points to the bad Karma that people accumulate while buying milk from the dairies that usually sell their cows off after they become non productive. Putting an emotional foot forward he asks,"Do we sell our mother and father when they are old or shunt them out of our house? We keep the cows and bulls like our parents."

It is the linking of the milk brand to the Karmic cycle that fetches an exorbitant rate of Rs 73 per litre of the milk from the desi (indigenous) cow and Rs 43 per litre of that of foreign breeds. The milk is being presented with the shield of the cow protection act.

Pointing that most of his rivals have been selling their non productive cows to slaughter houses, Vyas says that customers at such dairies are actually purchasing bad Karma. “One should know what they are paying for. By buying milk from these commercial houses, the buyer is indirectly being a party to the bad Karma of slaughtering a cow,” he said.

The Gaushala selling 'Ahimsa' milk is being taken care of by a variety of astrologers who enlighten the people about the good days and time to feed the cows with different delicacies to make their wishes come true. The Gaushala sees a large number of people turning up daily to feed the cows.

The astrologers capitalize on all the selling strategies relating them to the beliefs that rationalists call superstition. For example a bundle of green grass is a massive hit on Wednesdays and the Gaushala makes good money selling it for Rs 10 per bundle. People throng for it, looking for accumulating some good Karma. The cows are over fed with the grass and the rotis that the karma seekers come with.

While the marketing for 'Ahimsa' milk is being developed, the grocery shops which sell packaged milk in the vicinity feel that the Karmic angle will not impact their business."Our customers do not have two minutes to chit chat, we wonder how would they have time to think about all this?" says a shop owner in the locality.

At the recent Chandigarh Literature Festival, senior journalist and author Akshay Mukul while discussing his work 'The Gita Press' had pointed how the magazine 'Kalyan' brought out 'Gau Ank' (cow specials) several decades ago where its editor relied heavily on government's statistics to make his point about the dwindling number of cows, and by implication their waning importance in the life of Hindus, not to mention the grave threat the cow faced from Muslim citizens.

In the 1940's the director of commercial intelligence and statistics in Calcutta, along with the director of farms in Shimla were approached for statistics on dairy farms. In the process the cattle utilization adviser to the government of India was requested to provide the list of Gaushalas and panjrapoles( homes for old cows) in various provinces and states.

This bears a stark similarity to the government proposal now for a unique identification number to check bovine smuggling.