The cow holds an important place and role in our Indian rural economy. Apart from the programme for the preservation of the cow, as an animal, we have also to consider the steps to be taken to build up the economy symbolised by the cow. We cannot take up isolated items and concentrate on those without consolidating village life on all fronts. Our villages are dependent on animals for the satisfactory working of their economy.
The cow plays a vital role in all our economic activities. This had been recognised even in ancient times. That is why sentimental, religious and great importance had been attached to ‘the cow’ Why Gandhiji took to the cow was for reasons deeper than this-To him ‘cow’ symbolized all animal wealth. The service of the cow was to bring him nearer to his goal of truth and non-violence. This entire programme sprung from this root.
Just as an artisan depends on his tools, similarly the farmer depends on the cow and if we extend the economic sphere, we may say the cow, being the means of producing food, becomes the centre of the economic organisation of man, especially in an agricultural country like India.
India is an agricultural country, with about 300 millions of its population depending on agriculture for their livelihood. For them the cow is more than their right hand, since without the aid of bullocks which the cow provides, ploughing, irrigating, weeding, harvesting, threshing, carting and marketing will be next to impossible. Bullocks are necessary for carrying on village industries like oil-pressing, At present these animals, which provide the motive power in agriculture and village industries, are weak, starved and diseased. How can people in our villages become prosperous so long as they have to depend on such a feeble instrument for eking out a livelihood? The bullock is the villager’s machine. If a man is struggling with an inefficient machine which requires repairing and overhauling, who would say, "Why bother with the machine? Help the man". The best way of helping him is to provide him with an efficient machine.
It is calculated that through its milk, bullocks, manure, hide and bone, the contribution of the cow to the wealth of India is over Rupees one thousand crores annually, an amount which no other industry in India except agriculture can be equal. Gandhiji has also established the Go Seva Sangh (association for looking after the cow) to devote its attention on a countrywide scale to the improvement of the condition of cattle in India.
Importance of Cows