Contacts

D-1
Second Floor
Defence Colony
New Delhi - 110024

goodnessteam@thechetna.org

+91 93117 49931 
Social Responsibilities

A helping hand – Divye Minocha

Divye Minocha or better known as Manu Bhai from a very young age decided to start taking care of the underprivileged. No matter where he goes, his car is always filled with food items as well as sanitary napkins so that he always has something to offer to people who need it.

Social Responsibilities

Treating Trauma with Psychodrama

Anupriya Banerjee is a young, free spirited person who uses drama therapy for people suffering from depression, anxiety, autism and other issues related to mental health. Her YouTube channel, ‘Doctor Drama’ has various DIY (Do it yourself) techniques to help her patients out!

In a country, where a lot of people suffer from mental health problems, her tech-savvy movement is something to look out for.

Education

Spreading Goodness: A modern ‘Satyagraha’

Goodness knows no boundaries – Our Chetna hero this week, literally knows no limits. She is unstoppable as she has been charging ahead for the last 3 decades working on several common and uncommon issues, not resting to take a break, not filtering out issues by gravity as she recognizes that what could be a non-concern for one might be the bane of another’s life. Not easily classified under any one category of philanthropic services and frequently recognized in her district, Mary canvasses a story that needs to be retold far and wide till there is at least one copy of her in each district of India.

Champaran, Bihar is famous for the many eminent personalities it has borne and the historic nonviolent, civil movement it conceived in the great Indian struggle of Independence. But it didn’t stop there to produce the few marvels that continue to inspire generations and lay the foundation of human dignity and growth. Mary Adline is a household name in Champaran, Uttar Pradesh, and is a ‘Satyagraha’ by herself for the range of social causes that she has adopted and for the enormity of the impact she has created in every person’s life in her area of operation. Education, women empowerment, clean India movement, alcohol abolition, unemployment, prohibition of girl child marriage, prevention of sexual violence and more – this is an encyclopaedia of social upliftment that Mary Adline devotes her life to.

If you know someone like her, tell us about them here at #InspiringGoodness, #SpreadingGoodness.

Education

Redefining Society – Havaldar R. K. Sharma

Unpretentious and unassuming, right there, on the pavement, minus the walls, minus a ceiling, minus study tables and chairs, this is not your conventional classroom, but then this has the makings of all that education should be – eager tutors, and even more eager learners.

Today, we have crossed several cultural impediments and acknowledge the importance of education. We acknowledge education is the one and only social leveler. But does it have the focus it should?

You can find education in every nook and corner and we were pleasantly surprised to find it on the pavement outside one of the swish residential colonies of Noida, NCR, where not just one but all the members of the family of Havaldar R.K. Sharma were unquestioningly involved in imparting the wealth they had. The challenge in our society today lies not in scarcity but in its stark disparity. The challenge lies in absorption of education and circulation of it and this gap is preventing us from being the idyllic society that it can be. This difference in demand and supply can be bridged with just a little cognizance on our part and determination can be the game changer. This realization made Hav. R. K. Sharma make one such attempt in his corner of the world.

Troubled by the sight of many children of school-going age lurking on the streets or involved in labour, Hav. Rakesh Sharma decided to seek them out, teach them, and lured them to the school with promise of nourishing food and gifts at first and then by sowing the seed of hope and ambition that needs no further watering. This school might be on the pavement, this school might not have a shed or walls, but it nourishes dreams that hit the roof.

India’s literacy rate is less than most of its neighbours and one of the main factors contributing to this relatively low literacy rate is ignorance about usefulness of education and availability of schools even in the metro cities. Hav. Sharma counters both these issues by spreading awareness of the need and then takes to the board himself to start the uphill journey.

Empty mind is a devil’s workshop
He brought his pupils who were sifting through the dustbins and ushered them to his classroom, he went into the slums seeking out their parents and counselling them on the need for their children to study. Either the promise of better prospects or just the probability of freebies had them relenting. That was the first battle won, he then persevered to keep that rigour going, cajoling and coaxing the children to be regular and bring their friends and siblings along. His eyes glitter with pride when he talks about their grades soaring high so much so that he’s appointed two of his pupils as the ‘class monitors’. He finds his own ways and means of motivating these children to egg them on to dreaming big and then achieving those dreams.

Heat, rain or winters, he’s there, with his better half and his children helping out from time to time, in between their lesson,s pitching in with their favourite subjects. His daughter, Pooja, can’t disguise the pride she feels for her father and very confidently announces she will carry the legacy forward. She has witnessed the immense difference her father and her family’s efforts are making to some lives and she thinks that ‘we are very ordinary people and if we can do this, anyone can.’ It sure doesn’t take a super humans to contribute to society this selflessly, but it sure makes you one.

With his time and means Hav. Sharma could have concentrated on improving and upscaling his own life but when you meet him and his family, you could not have met anyone simpler and idealistic, who with their limited means concentrated on how they could be useful to the world around them. Conscience, ‘Chetna’, didn’t have to knock twice at the Sharma residence.

Hav. Sharma aims at nipping antisocial activity in the bud. He has seen drug addiction, theft and other disruptive commotion thriving amidst the streets of these slums and villages bordering the relatively privileged residential societies and was convinced that the only way out is by engaging these young impressionable minds by education.

Undaunted learning in the absence of an idealistic world
Starting with 5, the number of students at this ‘mother dairy’ school, in Noida sector 99, have gone up to 65 in just about a year. He has also made efforts to get admission for some of the children who never knew the insides of a school. His complimentary work has attracted the attention of like-minded people in the vicinity and they have begun to support him by volunteering or funding his mission. Despite some demotivating factors that discourage him from continuing in the absence of proper infrastructure or affiliation, he believes there is no reason he should ignore these children and put their future at stake. He continues to march ahead and pave his own way not limited by his means.

Hav. Sharma redefines society as he is of the opinion that society is not made by a few people, it is made of each single person. Every child deserves an equal opportunity that he believes is the only mantra of success, success not of an individual, or a community but of the nation and then the whole wide world. While most of us are enraged by the world around us and can think of a hundred things wrong with it, here’s Hav. Sharma’s family who appreciate the progress India is making, the liberties our country bestows on us and how we need to repay it for our privileged existence.

Education

Industrious trio ruling by the Book – Gyandeep

And miles to go …

Do I get tired after a day’s grueling household work? Am I looking forward to retirement and a carefree afternoon slumber? But can I rest when all I can see around me are many opportunities to make a difference? These three ladies from Mahagun Phase I society, Indirapuram, decided to make it count. While being a rock for their families, they decided to use every available moment in their day to care for those that made their daily machinery run, those that were vital to their day-to-day functioning. They were troubled by the illiteracy or general lack of information and scarcity of means of their support staff and decided to change that.

Three’s a charm

Mrs. Neelam Khuller, Mrs. Suman Saxena and Mrs. Jaya Verma found that they were like minded and brought their thoughts to fruition by utilizing their housing society’s religious place (‘Mandir’) to educate the children of their support staff; guards, housemaids, plumbers, gardeners and others, and Gyandeep was formed. The students at this in-house education facility have visibly improved in their academic performance but the focus is not limited to tuitions, there is more of an emphasis on the moral and holistic development of the children.

In today’s fast-paced world while the focus on ruthless competition is instilled, unfortunately, increasingly early these days, someone needed to spend time with them to listen to them and introduce them to a world they could redeem by bringing to the table ‘integrity’. Mrs. Neelam Khuller, with delight that one takes in one’s child, beams when she says, ‘they touch my feet and run to greet me whenever they see me’.

Levelling with equal opportunities

The most important objective of the teachers is to ensure there are no dropouts from school, they have also been absolutely adamant on admitting to school ones who have not yet enrolled and also sponsor the exceptional performers. The children are clearly motivated and it’s only a little surprise that some of the parents themselves have enrolled for learning because it’s never too late to learn and they hope to match their steps with the world.

Mrs. Suman Saxena has been involved in philanthropic work all through her life and it was a natural progression for her to spearhead the task in her own neighbourhood. The trio devotes 2-3 hours daily and focuses on the three main subjects; English, Hindi and Maths. These three ladies are joined from time to time by other residents of the society as per their availability.

I shall rest in the eye of the storm

Mrs. Neelam Khuller, had run a school for 20 years at Durgapur and didn’t want an easy life on moving to Indirapuram post her husband’s retirement, she wanted to do something more meaningful and with her training and experience. You have to see how she enlivens the class with her energetic hybrid techniques of visual, auditory and kinesthetic teaching. Her passion speaks for itself as she relates her experience with a mute child who showed his enthusiasm in making an attempt to communicate with them and the teachers made an equal attempt to match his attempts despite their lack of professional training in children with special needs.

Mrs. Jaya shares that they have never been short of funds, the credit goes to housing members’ council that encourages these activities and contributes whole heartedly to all such initiatives. The president of the society, Mr. M C Saxena, shared how the residents never have to be asked to step forward to embrace their own and accept it as their social and moral responsibility. This ideal society is an example to all others and if the model were copied it would produce many self-sustainable units. It is a responsibility that not many of us recognise; nevertheless, it is of primary importance because it’s nothing but compassion, something that we need to imbibe as not our second but first nature.

Hunger

Sharer of her plate – Sana Arora

Sana started the Feed’em movement 2 years back and it has brought her face to face with the grave disparity of our world. She tries to reduce it somewhat by offering her platter to the ‘have nots’.

You don’t need statistics to tell you about the hunger around you. It is staring at you everywhere you go in your cities and while beggary is a crime we need to discourage, sharing is what our society needs. We can’t be pointing fingers at the government always, we need to extend that hand and shoulder some responsibility of the world we live in, the one we want to change.

Mumbai is home to the largest slum in Asia – not a happy record
A lot of things appeal to us about the big cities, amidst all the opulence is naked reality that most of us dismiss as an inclusive package. We tell ourselves that we need to face the facts and someone else must deal with this reality. Who is this someone? As consumers of the privileges granted to the citizens of a free country is it only the duty of our elected representatives to preserve humans and the humanity that is at stake? How do we turn a blind eye to the hungry on the road when all of us must have borne hunger pangs at some point in our lives? It is this starving belly that Sana could not tear her eyes from, it is this hunger that she decided to satiate.

Six years ago when Sana moved to Mumbai she observed this stark contrast of the financial capital of India and she stopped to notice this reality of the ‘maximum city’ which has been highly covered in various media and still goes disregarded by most. There are people under the highways and on the streets who don’t belong there and you can’t wait for an eternity for the government to feed them, clothe them, house them because people, you know, are perishable.

Feed’em addresses food insecurity, and thus dignity
Sana started the Feed’em movement that crowd sources food for the food insecure in Mumbai from urban townships and families. Food insecurity is when people don’t know where there next meal is coming from. About 20 crore Indian population is currently food insecure. Feed’em has an extremely fluid model making real impact at the ground level. These are unemployed people or construction workers who can resort to criminal activities if their basic needs are not attended to. She recaps her initial challenges with street drives which were very raw experiences but very enlightening as she saw food packets and bags being lifted out of her hands and disappearing in a mass of hungry faces, ‘there was never enough irrespective of how many packets you carried.’

Night shelters in Mumbai are swarming with people who have no access to aids and donations and are not even listed in any citizen’s register. These unfortunate, non-entities are given the dignity of a meal by the Feed’em Movement. Sana produces an impetus to the students at night schools as she motivates them to be regulars at the schools in return for rations for the family. This safeguarding of their hunger allows these families to budget for getting education and making the difference that will elevate them tomorrow.

Entrusting the poor with decision making on their menu
Sana remembers knocking at the doors of her neighbours in her residential complex to gather as much food and drove down to these flyovers and streets to feed the hungry. Having started with distribution of left-over food, today Sana and her team of volunteers distribute food grains in different locations of Mumbai. Perishability for processed food, she realized, was a risk that she didn’t want to subject these people too. Sana also observed that broth and diluted soup or cereals were a complete meal to them and these receivers could feed many more stomachs, for a longer period with the limited grains they had. She now conducts collections drives from her community in cash or kind and has tied up with the local grocery stores who package the food in smart pack sizes and then hire cars or use volunteers’ cars to distribute the food.

‘I can’ so ‘I will’
Sana utilizes her commutation time to and fro from office to plan her next drive and somewhere between bringing the change rather than awaiting it while balancing a corporate job she has found her peace, she has found her purpose. Not waiting for someone else to make the change, she stepped ahead to do it herself and many joined her. Her nameless, faceless force of volunteers are impacting the society by sparing it a thought and a helping hand. Her team comprises of volunteers, albeit a fluctuating number every volunteer has his own role, helping with money, time or by influencing more people to be a part of Feed’em.

‘People have tried to dissuade me telling me it’s not my job and I have been urged to give it up in favor of agencies like food bank which are nonexistent in Mumbai or the government’, recounts Sana ‘but why relegate the change to someone else when you can do it?’ She feels blessed with family and friends who have helped her with ideation, guidance and finding ways and means to help her realize her vision.

6:1 ratio – an easy maths for even the discalculia
For Sana the deeper she delved, the more of an eye-opener her initiative has been. She found out that there are about 20 crore food insecure people in India as per a UN report. ‘We are a population of 25 crores and such if 6 people got together to feed 1 food insecure we could eradicate the problem of hunger in India, a very easy maths.’ Sana believes one needs to have a cause to live a meaningful life, and that we need to burst the bubble of self-catering satisfaction that each one of us has created for ourselves. We believe each one of us needs to shed this cloak of warmth that is slowly smothering the human in us and share our plates with others to make it twice as wholesome.
The Feed’em movement started 2 years back and has donated 3500 kilos of food

300 tiffins

2000 sanitary napkins

Raised money for books for 20 night schools in Mumbai

The Feed’em movement is now active in Delhi too.

Social Responsibilities

When the going gets tough – Kamala Mills heroes – Suraj Giri and Mahesh Sable

With no time for second thoughts Mahesh Sable and Suraj Giri, two security guards, put themselves literally in the line of fire because they couldn’t tear themselves away from the screams and cries of the nearly 250 people trapped in the infamous Kamala Mills fire.

‘They just couldn’t walk away,’ said Mahesh as he remembered the screams and scuttling of people and the blinding smoke that engulfed the entire Kamala mills compound. With no time for contemplation the first thought that occurred to them was that the only exit doors were crammed with store room deposits and the only alternative door was shut, even if those trapped could break the door down, they wouldn’t find the way out of the interconnected compound. The horror of the casualty and stampede that would ensue jerked them into action almost instantly. This was stuff that movies are made out of only there you receive a standing ovation but here our real-life heroes were forgotten after their initial un-negotiated claim to fame.

Courage in the face of fear
Last month when bail was granted to the owners of the two pubs responsible for endangering the lives of almost 200 people by unashamedly flouting all civic body rules of construction, we dug out information on the two guards who risked their lives not once, not twice but repeatedly that night until they were sure that there was no one else still struggling with the flames that gobbled up 14 lives on that fateful day.

Lost in oblivion after having been followed everywhere by paparazzi for days after the fire, these heroes, we believe, need to be idolized forever. “The smoke in the restaurant was black, so thick and pungent that one couldn’t breathe for even two minutes. I covered my nose with my shirt and just went in and then I kept pushing people to the exit,” recalls Mahesh who was struggling to find a job at the time of interview, despite his bravery and recognition during the course of a year after the dreadful day.

Suraj Giri with his quick thinking assumed the duty of a navigator and directed people out with the best escape routes and helped alleviate an escalating stampede. Suraj Giri called the police and the fire brigade and helped these two teams with the site plan and facilitated the rescue operation. Later they went into their own newsroom and rescued the staff there who were completely unaware of the danger outside. The security guards posted on duty at the two restaurants were the first to scoot at the threat of peril, but not these brave hearts who jumped without a second thought to save those clamouring for their lives.

As the facility was housing 2 restaurants and several offices, there were a lot of gas cylinders lined up and the assessing the gravity of the situation, Suraj removed the cylinders out of the way to prevent further disaster. Till hours later either of the two still hadn’t called back home to confirm their family of their well-being amidst this tragedy, till hours later this thought for self preservation hadn’t occurred to them.

Faded glory
Today in all humility they remember the many parents, friends and relatives of the survivors who had subsequently visited them to thank them and who hugged them crying tears of gratitude. They also shrugged their shoulders in despondence when asked about any special favours or privileges that were granted to them. Some of the survivors came back to thank Mahesh and Suraj and those are the memories that they hold dear.

Stoically Suraj says that every news is celebrated for just about a week and their hour of glory was rather short lived. Both Mahesh and Suraj have moved on from their jobs at the Times Now office but every detail of that gory night is etched clearly in their minds as their brave spirits and kind souls continue to rule the hearts of the many lucky survivors that lived to tell the tale.

Animal Care

A special breed of humans – Janani Krishnamurthy

While we pass by humans lying on the road, we couldn’t care less for the hapless animals even though it only takes a minute to call the helpline for them. . The atrocious crimes against animals daily are appalling and these poor godless beings are at the mercy of people like Janani Krishnamurthy who have dedicated their entire lives to be the voice of the voiceless.

They were here before we were and then have equal right to be here. They can be your playmates, your friends, the best that you may ever have, but they should not be your toys. It is not okay to petrify them with a string of crackers on Diwali or kick them and flog them like little boys would do, and it is definitely not okay to poison them because our civilized society couldn’t bear their agonizing wails in the night.

A rescuer at 9
Janani started her compassion journey at the age of 9 when she brought home an abandoned baby squirrel and would smuggle it to school too so she could keep it warm under her school shirt. She found her calling while we were still acclimatizing to the world around us. Janani was a kid volunteer who would rescue animals and cycle down to Blue Cross of India to get them help. She then started fostering them and helping in finding homes for these innocents.

An environmentalist at 13
The squirrel she had rescued also alerted her to another catastrophe that she learnt of early in life, deforestation. This made her an environment champion and not just an animal rights activist as she found it rather difficult to restrict herself to one cause since the two have cyclical impact on each other.

In her hometown, at the age of 13, Janani recognized the devastating effects of sand mining on local wildlife and soil erosion. That was the first state-wide campaign she began, and fortunately, was able to curb illegal sand mining which is still rampant in most other states.

Boundless spirit
She has been an animal rights activist most part of her life and vociferously fights for the environment with knowledge, perseverance and grit. Without a claim to fame she has been instrumental in stopping the ‘Bali pratha’ in Tamil Nadu temples; she has campaigned for Kurinji, the flower that blooms once in 12 years in the southern parts of India; she has been conducting anti-rabies vaccination drives in Kodaikanal and goals for complete eradication of rabies by 2030. Amen!

She recalls pleading and arguing, citing quotations from the scriptures and articles from Indian laws to establish the illegality and irreligiousness of animal sacrifice. Once at a temple, she almost had a scythe hanging on her neck and after five-and-a-half days of rational and emotional reasoning she was able to save 27 baby goats and ‘that’s all that mattered’ says Janani.

Love conquers all
In 2007 when she got married, she moved to Kodaikanal and while no one can refute the beauty of the place Janani could spot the imminent danger that the mounting backyard garbage dumps posed and took up the cause. This is also when she restarted Kodaikanal Society for Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA). In two years the team has managed adoption of 250 puppies, a huge accomplishment for Kodaikanal which hosts a population of 35000. She has been in life-threatening situations but came out of them victorious and braver than before because love conquers all.

She has worked for the Animal Welfare Board of India, State Board for Wildlife and in the Captive Elephant Welfare Society where it’s her responsibility to govern against cruelty towards animals, prevent sacrifices and poaching, and administer healthcare.

There are many ‘Me’
Janani credits her many successes to the support of the government officials, to the religious and spiritual leaders of the regions, her mentors like Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, her KSPCA team, and to the many animal lovers who have generously donated to the cause every time she has raised a cry.

She passes her love for animals to her son as she inherited it from her parents. Her son bids her to go to the rescue of the animals anytime she receives a distressed call for ‘mama, I can speak but they cannot’. She also mothers 7 canines and 5 felines at her home. Married to a prosperous dairy farmer Janani is a vegan by choice and says that ‘animals can only be my friends and not food on my table or my fashion accessories’.

Rescuing the forgotten ones at Kerala floods
With prior experience in disaster management in Chennai at the time of tsunami, she landed in Kerala on 9th of August, unaided and unescorted, to rescue the ones who were completely forgotten because ‘every life matters’, she says.

“The rescuers faced knee deep muddy slush, leech bites and even ran in high current waters to cross to affected areas. With roads blocked we had to walk to these areas … sometimes 5 hours of walk. Animals and people lost their lives and livelihood. Many animals were tied or went under the mud.” [Excerpts from Janani’s blog https://aviewfromthehillbilly.blogspot.com/2018/09/kodagu-eye-opener-to-untold-tragedy.html?m=1]

Having started out as an animal crusader at the age of 9, Janani dreams of a sustainable tomorrow to keep the world going round when she is not around. Janani would like to live in a retiral home for animals, to be with them till the end of time. She claims she is a ‘fanatic’ and we think it is fanaticism like this that holds any hope for spreading goodness. It’s probably us who need to be disciplined then not the animals.

Animal Care

Rare comrade of manas’ best friend – N Pravallika

Poaching, hunting, killing, eating, experimenting and entertainment – where do we stop in cruelty towards animals?

About 100 stray dogs at Sanskruthi township near Infosys campus in Anojjiguda were poisoned and burnt on the night of October 5, 2018 by dog killers, hired allegedly by the township committee. It made the headlines nationwide but how many of us were rattled by it? How many of us spent sleepless nights over it? At least one, N. Pravallika, who has spent her entire life striving to get them the personhood they deserve and can hear their muted cries.

My first siblings
Born to the first set of animal lovers she ever knew, her parents, Pravallika was raised in a home that had adopted several stray animals that her parents had rescued. Her fondness for them was, therefore, inevitable, they were the first siblings she knew. “When I was little, I used to wonder why some of the stray dogs would disappear every now and then, till I found out one day that they were been taken away by the municipal corporation and electrocuted. I was shaken, helpless, traumatized. That day I decided to fight for the rights of these guileless, artless creatures. Twelve years later I became a rightful activist armed with knowledge and resolve.

‘I have seen suffering of animals everywhere, which shaped me into an animal rights activist. Even as a software engineer, I dedicated my weekends to the welfare of animals and I joined Blue Cross of Hyderabad as a volunteer in 2011. They further honed and shaped my objective and after two years as a corporate employee I quit to follow my cause wholeheartedly’.

The hurdle race to humanity
She has dedicated herself to various animal welfare activities like dog census, feeding them, medical treatment, fostering them, and finding homes for them. But the road is more rock-strewn than one can imagine, she shudders every morning as she picks her phone to learn of animal cruelty cases.

Although she was largely driven by her heart, Pravallika followed her passion by arming herself with formal training by undergoing animal welfare course from TANUVAS, Chennai and attended residential training on Animal Laws of India at NALSAR, Hyderabad.

The horror stories of the ‘animal farm’
Mass culling of dogs continues in the state of Telangana despite several public uproars in the past, in fact in May 2018 as well. Is that what we would do to control human population burst? Animal birth control is the no-brainer solution here but obviously that would mean a lot of work that humankind is willing to overlook for cheaper and quicker and often inhumane alternatives. ‘As stray dogs were not vaccinated, frequent rabid cases were seen because of which a dog starts biting and people instead of getting them treatment like they would a pet dog, start chasing and killing the dogs brutally’, Pravallika explains. Dogs were beaten to death and sometimes axed and beheaded. How can this be amusement to anyone?

Even in this era of evolved human rights and technology, it is alarming that there are still many communities and people who are governed by superstitions and would unscrupulously slay innocent animals to seek illusory benefits. Pravallika deals with brutality, cynicism, counterrevolutionary and rigid mentality. Starting from negligence of pet dogs to killing and poaching of wild animals as well as cats and rabbits, there are several evils that she combats daily.

Champion against the dark ecology
‘As an environmentalist, I make sure every step that I take is an eco step and a green move. Leading a zero-waste lifestyle, responsible waste managing, eco-consumerism, growing my own food and living a sustainable life is how I contribute to the fight against the dark ecology facing us’. Pravallika has adopted 12 dogs and she credits her personality and strength to her parents and family who sensitized her to a harmonious living at birth – a belief and a practice that she has endeavours to inculcate. Unfortunately she is trying to evoke sentiments that should not have been missing to begin with. And unfortunately it is man that has altered his planet unrecognizably, beyond renewal and beyond redemption. Take a pause and think, saving humanity biologically and ethically is not the burden of any one person, it will take all of us, every human.

Animal Care

Caring is not just our duty it’s their right – Vishal Garg

Being human in not limited to us caring for other humans but caring for all those who ensure our survival, who share the responsibility of cultivating and nurturing our environment. Vishal Garg, an IT executive, realizes his dream of restoring dignity to our world by providing shelter for stray cows.

You almost dread driving on the city roads, there are vendors on either side of the road, the slow and fast moving traffic is constantly merging, there are potholes and then of course there is a herd of cows on the road, every road, any road. Such a nuisance really! Why are they there? Well! They have nowhere else to go!

After serving the community they lived in for all their adult life they are now rendered useless as they age and hence driven out of the facility they knew as home.

“I had moved to this place and visited a nearby temple, I found a lot of litter around and unfortunately the stray cows were feeding on the litter. I raised the concern with the authorities and, to begin with, we faced some resistance, but subsequently we were able to reason out with them. We cleared out a place behind the temple, pegged the cows there and started feeding them with fodder”, says Vishal Garg. A finance executive and a father of two, Vishal was moved by the apathy of his neighborhood and ventured out, alone at first, to build a better environment for his co-habitants.

Have we not often heard that when you put your heart and mind to something fate paves out the way for you. Vishal says, ‘I started out alone but a lot of people soon started teaming with me, the fodder seller begun subtracting his profit in lieu of the noble work we were doing. Another gentleman’s son was visiting India and when he got to know of our initiative, he built the shed for the cows.’

Picture book serenity in the midst of millennium city
As the DNL team visited the Gaushala at Khandsa road, Gurugram, the scene was right out of a mythological book, we don’t think we had seen or even imagined seeing something we witnessed there – happy cows. To know what that look is like pay this place a visit; every Wednesday, from 7.30 am to 8 am the community comes together for a special service-feeding the cows.

This is a cashless, community-funded facility, the initial founding members run the cowshed with help from some full-time and part-time employees and a lot of volunteers. Some of them in the picture above are Deepak Bansal, S.C. Bansal, Deepak Goel, Lalita and Satish Tayal. Vishal, having moved to Pune from Harayana carried the best practice with him and replicated a similar facility there. The Gurugram facility is now run by his friends who are equal enthusiasts of a utopian world that they dreamt of and created. There is a cow feeder and cleaner, there is a part-time vet who examines the cows from time to time. The facility incurs a cost of 1.5 lakhs per month which is funded by the care-givers. Other members of the neighbourhood offer services to ensure the basic hygiene of the cows.

Having started with 3 cows, the number went up to 130 at one point in time. Some of the cows recovered with the good nourishment and began lactating again, at which point they were offered to families within the community as pets. The shelter ensures that none of the cows have to suffer the same ill-treatment again.

Why you should do it?
It is the responsibility of the dairy owners who profited from these cows to care from them like any other employees in the business. If they shrug it off, it is our responsibility as they are an inclusive part of our community.

You should care for them because they die painful deaths due to our negligence. The irresponsible waste disposal on the roads and the inhibited use of plastics leads to build-up of plastic in stomachs of cows, other cattle and stray animals. It leads to radical reduction in their milk production ability, painful diseases with the fatality of death.

You should do it because they don’t belong on the road just like no one else belongs there.

You should do it, Lalita Tayal says, because it brings you immense peace and satisfaction.

You should do it because they are sacred; sacred not because they are holy; sacred because they are an essential part of our ecology, our existence.

Every man must step ahead
A country, with a population of over 1 billion, cannot be run effectively by a handful of their chosen representatives…everyone has to do their bit; and it is this bit that the society thrives on. In ancient India people worshipped trees, rivers and even the rain Gods – it made no sense till some years back, it does now when in the wake of serious deforestation, the whole ecological balance is disturbed. Sadly, it won’t be restored in bit by bit anymore, it will take all of us to contribute in some way. Let’s begin with caring for the ones that reared us.

Open chat
💬 Need help?