Plans afoot to clean India's offices with cow urine

By AFP
Published: January 9, 2015
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PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

PHOTO: NEFER SEHGAL/EXPRESS

NEW DELHI: 

Cow urine may soon be used to clean the floors of India’s government offices in a country where bovines are sacred and their bodily waste considered therapeutic and even thirst-quenching.

A charity working to care for and protect the cows that freely roam India’s streets has developed a cleaning product with their urine – distilled and spiked with natural perfumes to remove the pungent odour.

“Initially when we tried the product, it had too strong a smell. Nobody would have used it. So we have distilled the urine now and added natural ingredients like pine oil to cover the smell,” said Anuradha Modi from the Holy Cow Foundation.

Modi said she was working on a deal to get the company that supplies housekeeping items to government offices to use the product — which is called Gaunyle, with gau the Hindi word for cow.

“We have tested the product in labs and we can say that it is much better than the phenyl that you get in the market which is so full of chemicals,” she told AFP.

“We want to create a market for cow urine and I can say supply won’t be a problem.”

The product is the latest in a long line of items made from bovine bodily waste, ranging from toiletries such as soap to urine-based medicines and even a soft drink labelled a “healthy” alternative to Coke and Pepsi.

While the sacred status of cows precludes India’s huge Hindu majority from eating beef, their waste falls into the same acceptable category as dairy products.

The cow, also known as Kamdhenu — “that which fulfils human needs” — is described in Hindu scriptures as the “mother” of civilisation.

Their revered status took on extra significance after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party won a landslide election victory in May last year.

The party’s election manifesto pledged to work to protect cows.

The Economic Times on Friday quoted the head of the company that supplies housekeeping products to government offices praising the urine cleaner.

“It is a great product for the health of safai karamcharis (cleaners) as well as for the cows,” Jagdish Bhatia told the daily.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Atif Ejaz
    Jan 9, 2015 - 3:50PM

    It happens only in India

    Recommend

  • KasmiriMuslim
    Jan 9, 2015 - 5:14PM

    @Atif…This is Indian tradition…if u muslims want respect…the first start giving respect…if they do it thats there issue….do americans say anything to u when u dont eat pork..or do indians say anything to u when u kill camels on eid..Recommend

  • Aamir - Toronto
    Jan 9, 2015 - 5:51PM

    @KasmiriMuslim…….I concur with you, it is not our prerogative to criticize someone.

    Recommend

  • Jan 9, 2015 - 6:00PM

    This is India’s religious matter. Nobody has any right to make negative comments.

    Recommend

  • Awais Ahmad Qureshi
    Jan 9, 2015 - 6:20PM

    @ Kashmiri Muslim
    Well I do accede to your point. But sense should prevail.

    Recommend

  • Stranger
    Jan 9, 2015 - 6:27PM

    @KasmiriMuslim:
    U just stole my heart. Smooooch.

    Recommend

  • Bewildered
    Jan 9, 2015 - 7:51PM

    @KasmiriMuslim:

    “if u muslims want respect…”

    Hello Kashmiri Muslim. What do you mean by “u Muslims”? Aren’t you a Muslim yourself?

    Recommend

  • Rumormonger
    Jan 9, 2015 - 8:02PM

    The motive here is not religious. Some ingenious chemist thought of this to make money.

    Recommend

  • Malatesh
    Jan 9, 2015 - 8:42PM

    I know it is tradition, but we know uncivilised cultures like SATI, DEVADASI, Black Magic.. list go on.. were also part of our tradition since these things were never questioned by our society earlier. Some elite people in the society fought to remove these from part of our traditional culture.

    When we debate and raise voices then only we can improve our religion.

    I’m against this kind of cultures.. My father used to do this… I hope next generation will stop this kind of nonsense completely.

    Recommend

  • Malatesh123
    Jan 9, 2015 - 8:43PM

    I know it is tradition, but we know uncivilised cultures like SATI, DEVADASI, Black Magic.. list go on.. were also part of our tradition since these things were never questioned by our society earlier. Some elite people in the society fought to remove these from part of our traditional culture.

    When we debate and raise voices then only we can improve our religion.

    I’m against this kind of cultures.. My father used to do this… I hope next generation will stop this kind of nonsense completely. ..

    Recommend

  • Gullu Badsha
    Jan 9, 2015 - 9:44PM

    @Malatesh123, brother I appreciate your honesty and openness, hats off to you. Very humbly I want to point out to you that there is a difference between religion and culture. Religion is law that has to be followed and cannot be changed. Cultures change over the time and are a reaction of the people of that area to the different situations arising there over a certain period of time.

    Recommend

  • KasmiriMuslim
    Jan 9, 2015 - 9:44PM

    @bewildered…
    You muslim means..I dont want to reveal my religion…thats my personal matter..between me and my god…I am no tableeghi like pakistan cricketers on ground…a mere show off…
    moreover if ever anybody ask my religion…i have a answer…my religion is my country and my god is my mother and father….do you have any issues….

    Recommend

  • Imran Qadri
    Jan 9, 2015 - 11:10PM

    @KasmiriMuslim:

    “I dont want to reveal my religion…”

    Make up your mind,dude. With an screen name like “KasmiriMuslim” you say you don’t want to reveal your religion..? that means like your screen name we should think that what ever you say is also untrue?

    Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jan 9, 2015 - 11:15PM

    @Malatesh:
    I agree with you totally, particularly when you say “When we debate and raise voices then only we can improve our religion.
    I’m against this kind of cultures.. My father used to do this… I hope next generation will stop this kind of nonsense completely. ..”

    Recommend

  • Eh?
    Jan 10, 2015 - 1:09AM

    @KasmiriMuslim:
    Heh, then why proudly display your religion in your name, it seems to me you are trying to fool people by pretending :)

    Recommend

  • KashmiriMuslim
    Jan 10, 2015 - 1:14AM

    @Imran Qadri…..My full name is qamar muslim….i.e…muslim is my surname….actually to think all this require brain……and moreover i live happily in bandipora in kashmir of India….if u come here…you are welcome….i will be happy to serve you…
    regards

    Recommend

  • John B
    Jan 10, 2015 - 1:44AM

    Urine is a solution of Urea and Uric acid. It is an excellent source of nitrogen to plants and can be used as alkaline or acidic solution depending on how you shift the pH by addition of acids or bases. Naturally, then it becomes an antiseptic in either pH. Addition of pine oil which contains terpene hydrocarbons make it even better.

    Other than the irrational metal repugnancy, urine is a aseptic waste in healthy individual.

    Some chemist is making hay while the sun shines.

    Regardless, it is easier to make pine oil antiseptic economically than wasting the energy in collection of urine and rendering it for antiseptic use.

    However, if the same individuals make use of the nitrogen content of the urine for plant fertilization then they will make a lot of positive wave.

    Recommend

  • Surajit
    Jan 10, 2015 - 3:38AM

    Well, the concern is whether the urine is treated or not. If it’s treated properly, I am in for that. At least it is organic and bio-degradable, unlike the extremely poisonous chemicals in Phenyl that not only harm the users through their toxic fumes, but also do major harm to the soil, oceans – and therefore, animals and plants etc. when Phenyl used waste water is released into the environment.

    It is because of the indiscriminate use of chemicals such as Phenyl, DDT etc. that India is seeing huge increase in the incidence of cancer.

    My 2 cents.

    Recommend

  • dunimal
    Jan 10, 2015 - 5:09AM

    @KasmiriMuslim:
    Thank you for this comment. It is true, and important. I’m not Hindu, or Muslim, but I am pro acceptance and tolerance and appreciate your efforts to bring logic to this thread. Please keep in mind, all that urine contains urea, and urea can be used for cleaning and stripping.

    Recommend

  • Sid
    Jan 10, 2015 - 6:07AM

    @Atif Ejaz:
    I resume you eat egg. Where do you think it comes out from ?

    Recommend

  • raheel
    Jan 10, 2015 - 8:28AM

    KashmiriMuslim – you made my day!

    Recommend

  • Kashif
    Jan 10, 2015 - 8:46AM

    @KasmiriMuslim:
    Then don’t mask your identity and use any other name instead of muslim as your nick name.

    Recommend

  • shahid ali
    Jan 10, 2015 - 11:38AM

    This is religion or extremism. Who can distinguish. If Indians consider this right so how can others say it is wrong particularly when it is not affecting them in any way.Muslims, Jews and Muslims are not allowed , by their religion, for such things and no Hindu except perhaps Modi wish them to accept this practice..this is the issue.

    Recommend

  • Imran Qadri
    Jan 10, 2015 - 2:57PM

    @KashmiriMuslim:

    And majority of people named “Qamar Muslim” are non muslims,right? You don’t need to hide behind a fake Screen name in order to make your point. We don’t mind even if you’re a Hindu from New Delhi or any other religion’s follower as long as your comments make sense. Once someone lies then he has to cook up many more lies to cover his initial lie.

    Recommend

  • Gujesh
    Jan 11, 2015 - 6:33AM

    The intention here is to avoid the use of harmful chemicals. Many such products are available in India. Recently, I used a herbal product for anti-termite treatment of my house. It was very effective.

    Recommend

  • chai
    Jan 11, 2015 - 10:19AM

    “We have tested the product in labs and we can say that it is much better than the phenyl …”
    This statement means that they are providing an Eco-friendly alternative to toxic chemicals. There is not a single statement saying that it is inspired by hindu scriptures. I don’t know why people over here are arguing over religion here.
    1. No issue of toxic waste disposal.
    2. Additional income for cattle breeders.

    I think this is how we should view this. FYI India is a secular country and not a hindu republic.

    Recommend

  • globalobserver
    Jan 12, 2015 - 12:17AM

    ET Mods, please allow my correction to @shahid ali, who while he means well, is making incorrect statement that is subconsciously condescending. What I am posting are real facts that most Muslims, who are taking a higher-than-thou attitude here, are not aware of. My post is not disrespectful but just points out facts.

    @shahid ali:

    “Muslims, Jews and Muslims are not allowed , by their religion, for such things “

    That is not true. Drinking of camel urine is allowed. Read:

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2012/raymond-ibrahim/sharia-medicine-egyptian-clinic-treats-people-with-camel-urine/

    http://islamqa.info/en/83423Recommend

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