Even as we hear about cow vigilantes taking the law unto themselves now and then, here is a group of ‘cow lovers’ who are making a difference to the lives of cattle, silently.
Leading the pack of Social workers is Aparna Pal, a commercial artiste.
At the risk of making neighbours ‘unfriendly’ due to her cow compassion, Aparna feeds green fodder to around 20 stray cows in Gomti Nagar’s Vivek Khand area, around 8 pm, almost daily.
These cows assemble outside her house without fail to have their daily share of green vegetables.
Aparna leaves her house around 7pm each day with empty sacks to collect green vegetables from nearby vegetable sellers. “They keep aside cabbage, spinach, peas and other similar vegetables for me and I collect them for the cows,” said Aparna. There is adequate arrangement for clean water as well.
While neighbours object to Aparna’s gesture, nothing deters her.
“I take the responsibility to clean the place after the cows are gone. I even lift the cow dung so that people don’t face any inconvenience,” says the girl who has been holding the ‘cow feast’ for eight months now.
A volunteer of Dhyan Foundation, several other friends of Aparna help her in doing yeoman service to stray animals.
“All of us associated with Dhyan Foundation are animal lovers. We work against animal trafficking, slaughter, sterilisation and aid in their rescue as well as other activities,” said Preeti Khare, an ex-banker and an active member of the foundation. The team has saved several cows and camels from trafficking.
“Unlike people who shoo away stray animals, we take care of them. For us, saving or feeding cows is far beyond religion,” said Roopali Saha, another volunteer.
Each of these volunteers feed stray animals in their vicinity. While some give jaggery to cows on a regular basis, others feed stray dogs and ensure their comfort.
“We do arrange vessels to feed cattle in different areas where residents show interest,” said Ira Katiyar, a former Physics lecturer.
The group also conducts awareness activities in schools and colleges to awaken consciousness towards stray animals.