India is trying to scientifically validate the benefits of Panchgavya — a concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd, ghee, water and three other ingredients — and the science and technology ministry has set up a "national steering committee" to guide research, according to a report in the Telegraph.
The committee is chaired by Union Science Minister Harsh Vardhan, who earlier this month said "there is need for scientific validation through modern technology so that the world can recognise" the benefits of Panchgavya.
"The world accepts the power of Ayurveda and Yoga but if we don't validate it scientifically, it won't get the deserved recognition," Vardhan told IANS at the conclusion of a two-day Department of Science and Technology conclave. "The work that is being on Panchgavya, we are validating it scientifically. By only saying that cow urine is good, it is not done. Our scientists are examining the aspects scientifically," he said.
The committee will "select, guide and review research projects involving Panchgavya, recommend budgets and formulate the delivery mechanisms for widespread application," the Telegraph report said.
"The world accepts the power of Ayurveda and Yoga but if we don't validate it scientifically, it won't get the deserved recognition."
Hindus hold the cow in high regard. Committees of self-appointed, as well as locally recruited cow protectors, who call themselves 'gau rakshaks' are tasked with the work of stopping cow smuggling and slaughter for meat. Cow slaughter is banned in most states in India, and often these vigilante groups take law into their hands to deliver mob justice to people they suspect of smuggling cattle.
According to the report, the DST, in a note circulated to the committee, seeks to validate the use of Panchgavya in agriculture, medicine, nutrition and utility products. For now, the committee maintain that the sole motivation for the project is science, and not politics.
IANS adds: In December 2016, IIT-Delhi had organised a national brainstorming-cum-consultative workshop on "Scientific Validation and Research on Panchgavya" (Svarop). It was supported by DST, DBT and CSIR under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, said a consortium of ministries would be involved in establishing the scientific basis of different aspects of Panchgavya's usage. Sharma also clarified the validation had nothing to do with the belief of the "sacred cow".
"The material is same but its usage is different. There is nothing to do with sacred cow. Its a material resource, whether you look at it as a construction material, or a fuel. You use it as a fuel (cow dung is used in villages) but how do we get better fuel out of it, how we do we get cleaner fuel out of it?
"Because of the way we burn it, it causes pollution, so you can not get away from the reality of pollution or the reality of the use of that material," he added.