Why Kodavas eat pork and not beef – Part 2/2

Why Kodavas don’t eat beef? It’s simple….. Pure common sense, sense of gratitude & in harmony with the nature. Realization that a living cow is more valuable than a dead one. What would be referred in Corporate & Banking Sector as Profits & Return on Investment (ROI)!! So the far-sighted Kodava fore-parents developed the culture of respecting the cows & prohibiting the slaughter & consumption.

No other animal is as important & panacea* than the cow to mankind. It provides milk twice a day – morning & evening religiously. Milk is a complex substance, & a variety of constituents can be extract from it for use as ingredients in other foods. Who never tasted the cow’s milk & its byproducts known as dairy products like curd/yogurt, buttermilk, butter, ghee, cheese, ice cream, condensed & dried milk, etc., etc? If a child unfortunately loses his/her mother or mother does not have sufficient milk, the child can be raised only on cow’s milk & in majority of the counties there is no other alternate too. Even if the mother is alive, once we reach a certain age we grow up (cradle to grave perhaps) drinking milk obtaining all the nourishment.

Bullock is used to plough the field to grow different kinds of crops; the cow-dung is the best natural manure which makes the soil fertile & produces the purest organic food!! Flattened & dried cow-dung is also used as renewable fuel in many developing countries. The hide (leather) of the cow is used, the bone & fat extracts are used in various products &, even the dead cow becomes manure after it disintegrates in the nature. Those who can’t afford cement use diluted cow-dung to cover the mud floor to prevent dust. So I guess most of the readers agree with me that the cow definitely deserves to be respected & not killed & consumed.

It reminds me of a simple lesson my mother taught: because you cannot extract all the milk from the udder, you don’t cut the udder. You have enough common-sense to know it’s of no use…

Cows grown naturally eat only greens or fruits in other words only vegetables & eating different types of grass & leaves, the milk produced is very nutritious. There is one complaint from the scientists that it produces loads of methane… well even that can be harvested & used as gobar-gas for cooking & heating. Sometimes I wonder what would be the human production of methane particularly the ones who eat beef!! Just kidding….

The cute faced, humble eyed calves running around happily with their bell in the neck is a site to behold & slaughtering it as veal… the thought makes my heart heavy.

So how could anyone who does more good than harm could be mistreated or harmed? Just like a mother does for the child, cow is practically sacrifices its entire life for the good of humans. Someone once told me that God made the cows to slave, serve & be human food. That makes me wonder, why did God really made the humans? Is it just to propagate? Aggrandize? Destroy everything on the path just to fulfil the greed?

If you have grown up around the farm land you will realize how gentle & social the Cows are. They maintain the meadows by grazing evenly & maintenance of the grass is very important. Grass acts like sponge in absorbing & holding the rain water which seeps slowly into the ground. Cows are as diverse as cats, dogs & people. Some are bright, bold, adventurous, some are friendly, they cry (tears in the eyes) when in pain or sad & mourn the loss. They are intelligent, interact in socially complex ways & have cognitive abilities. They always come home in the evening & stand in their place at the pen.

According to Ayurveda cow’s ghee is the best compared to all the other fat products & is used intensively in the medicine. I remember while growing up, my mother left the freshly churned butter on the dining table inside a pool of butter milk. Every time I passed in front of the table, a small glob of butter went to my stomach. There were many occasions nothing left for the next day breakfast. Yet she left it on the table, perhaps indirectly encouraging us to eat. And I was always very slim. Then that butter was made out of the milk from the free roaming cows fed on green grass/hay & other greens/fruits, unlike the present day cows which are fed anything from animal protein to God know what??

Among all domesticated animals, cows hold a special place in the human evolution. Relationship between humans & Cows perhaps stretch as far back as the existence of humans or cows itself! The divine wish granting cow Kamadhenu (Kama = desire, wish & dhenu=give or grant), believed to be the ancestor of the present day cows came out during Sagar-manthan (churning the ocean) for Amrita (Ambrosia – the drink of immortality) & the story of Punyakoti is practically known to all the Indians. Kamadhenu (aka cow of plenty, Surabhi, Shaval, Aditi & Kamduh) is considered holiest jive (soul) on earth since creation & it is said that if a child is born under unlucky star is passed under the body of a cow to offset the effects.

For those who city dweller who never heard of, a sweet dish is prepared similar to thick custard by steaming the new milk (colostrum – after the calf is born) along with jaggery/sugar to taste & little cardamom powder. This delicacy is rare as it is made out of new-milk only. We call it Ginnu (AKA Ginnu in Kannada, Foosa in Kokni – Maharashtra & Barhi in Karachi, Pakistan). You cannot drink or use colostrum in beverages. When I asked my mother why we are depriving the calf of its mother’s milk, I was told that the calf cannot have more as it causes lose motion & we have to extract it whether we use it or not!! More over if we don’t extract, like humans they also have pain which might result in fever or shock.

Note: It’s ironic that inspite of not eating beef, all most all of us taste/tasted the traces of cow’s bone in our diet every day!! Don’t trust me read my next article…..


*Animal byproducts.. Interesting… most of the goods mentioned are the byproducts of cattle.

I am not discouraging anyone from using but just telling how much the animals are part of our system. Many people are allergic to animal products & you can find non-animal related products too. I use many of the products mentioned but like they say ignorance is bliss… as long as we don’t see… the raw material we will keep using the things. After all man is a creature of habits & we are already seasoned users of most of the things.

Gelatin (unless specifically mentioned vegetarian), what is Jello is made from the connective tissues of the cow. Gelatin also found in some gums, fruit snacks like gummy bears & marshmallows!

Animals like cows, sheep & swine have remarkable similarities to human bodies, & many anti-rejection drugs used in organ transplant (heart, liver, etc) & the natural insulin (used by diabetics) contain animal byproducts.

Some ointments for burns & first aid creams may contain animal byproducts.

The little white tablets called enzymatic cleaners used to clean contact lenses contain enzymes, an animal protein. Enzymes are also used in laundry pre-treatments.

Expensive wool & woolen material including the beautiful shawls comes from animals. The smooth beautiful silk is the cocoon of silk worm!! Leather jackets, wallets, shoes, belts, gloves, watch bands, car seats, chairs, etc., etc., are made from leather. The saddle soap used to help the leather to maintain its softness contains…

Fatty acids from cow CAN BE USED to make adhesives (remember the sticky part of the bandages), in toilet papers to make it soft, dish soap that helps make your hand soft, nail polish remover (gelatin) that gives strength to nails, soaps-lotions-makeup-lipsticks-shaving cream-deodorants (may contain stearic acid, a fatty acid or lanolin from sheep), etc.

Coating of the film (contains gelatin), crayons (can also be soybeans), paint brush (mostly horse hair), some printing inks like high gloss printing, industrial cleaners contains animal byproducts. Candles may contain the fat to give them more strength, longevity (last longer) & make them more opulent.

Cow’s hooves & horns are used to make glue in the labels. The world famous, exclusive bone china, (a fine material is the brain child of English potter Josiah Spode created in 1748) is made using the bone ash, feldspathic material & kaolin…

Sports equipment is made from the cow’s hide like basketballs, baseballs, footballs, volleyballs, soccer balls & gloves. Football is also made from pigskin.

The binding agent in asphalt on highways, stearic acid in the tires which helps to maintain their elasticity contains animal byproduct. Chances are that even the hydraulic brake fluid, car wax & glycerol in antifreeze contains animal byproducts.

There are many more to list… the question is how much more we want from the animals particularly the cattle & how do we repay them?

Manure and an old-timer’s tale…..Coffee (4/9)

Manure brings to my mind an actual incident which has become a joke in Kodagu. There was this rich & famous gentleman from South Kodagu, late Mr.X, who was well known for his high yielding, well-kept coffee plantation. He was a school dropout who could not read or write properly, but he was a great planter. Since majority of the Kodavas are literate, they made a joke of Mr.X.  It is said that once the District Collector(administrative head), who had heard so much about the yields of Mr.X’s plantation wanted to pay him a visit. Mr.X was very happy to be recognized & felt honoured but he had one little problem: even though he could manage to understand English, he could barely speak it! Since Mr.X could not say no to the Collector he accepted the visit & a date was set.

The night before, Mr.X could not sleep well, tossing & turning waited for dawn. Finally as day broke, Mr.X all suited & booted, waited for the dignitary along with his family, friends & neighbours. Most of them were curious whether Mr.X will make fool of himself or what? Finally the Collector’s entourage rode on. Mr.X after the initial welcome, stomach pooja, etc., took the Collector around. Pretty much impressed, the Collector said Mr.X your work is commendable; I never seen such a well-kept plantation. Tell me what’s your plantation maintenance secret? Now Mr.X had no choice but to reveal his secret. Everyone around was intently waiting for the revelation of the “secret ingredient”.  Also deep inside a ray of hope that Mr.X will make fool of himself. Mr.X all sweat.. thought for a while for the right words no use… what shall I do now… smart guy he is then goes… it’s just cow-dung & kokkales (he knew chaane is the kodava word for cow-dung but he did not know what dry leaves were called in English). Mr. Collector sahib seemed very impressed. Even though he never heard the word kokkales before in his life, he was feeling bad to show his ignorance… he patted Mr.X on the back and said good work… good work… but inside thought to himself oh this kokkales must be a new thing in the market, blamed himself for not keeping up with the fertilizer market. Made a mental note of it to add to his memoirs & rode out thinking of the correct spelling… coool right? (Who is having the last laugh?) Look… look… I did bring a smile to your lips.. I can see it hum..

Morals of the Joke: You don’t need fancy chemicals to get good crop. Personal experience is better than the book knowledge. Well everyone knows that knowing English will help you in general but if you don’t know English so what at least you know your language fluently.. and also the ghora does not know your language either. So that makes him equal to you right?  If ghora knows more than one language he will be known as bilingual… most of the kodavas in the village can speak at least 4 to 5 languages right?
(End Part 4 of 9)