Dried patties in packs of 6, 10 and 12, labelled organic, for what it’s worth, are available at the click of a button. All for an average price of Rs 50 per patty. However, there is a catch. Local neighbourhoods sell the same dung for as low as Rs 50 per dozen. For urban folk though, getting them online is a more viable option.
Meanwhile, sellers on Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, Shopclues also vouch that these cakes are a, er, cash cow, especially during festivals like Pongal, Deepavali and so on. Says K Rajasekhar, a priest in the city who caters to several high-end functions, especially in north Indian households, “These patties or cakes are sold online as ingredients for poojas, and are very convenient for people who want organic products.
Apart from Amazon, there are other specific websites such as Gaukranti for cow products where dung ‘paint’, purified cow urine, and cow dung cakes can be purchased. Many families believe in their medicinal properties and also consider the cow holy. So they think using its produce in some way brings good fortune to the family. The uses of cow dung are so historic and well-referenced that it cannot be compared it to the poop of say, a dog.” Agnihotra and havan ceremonies are rituals during which cow dung cakes are used, he adds.
Animal activist Shravan Krishnan says, “I don’t think this is any kind of discrimination against any animal. The fact is that it is illegal to raise cows on the streets and while they do poop on the roads at times, they are usually raised by poor farmers and the ilk. Whereas, dog owners only need to act responsible and carry a scooper around to make the city a cleaner place. I hope a fine is also brought about for humans defecating on the road and the Corporation takes efforts to implement this properly.”
Still, while we revere the discharges from a cow enough to have a supply chain built around it, the society never wastes a chance to remind you that not all poop is equal.