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An Indic dilemma: Should you be drinking cow urine?

Do you have a choice? The proposition leads to a series of valid questions.

At a time like this, with winds of change in the air, many have been considering an important question: Should they be drinking cow urine?

There are arguments in favour of it. It shows that their heart is in the right place, and it’s possible that it will provide some health benefits.

In any case it might soon become compulsory. Subsequently, questions such as bottled or fresh, and sweetened or unsweetened will arise.

These are all valid questions and well worth considering.

I myself have fond memories of urine consumption. They go back to 1977. It was the best year ever. In that year, just after the Emergency, India was waking to life and freedom (again) and everyone was busy celebrating democracy and swearing mightily to each other that they would never, ever allow that awful Indira Gandhi to come back. Who can blame them? Mention her name to an Indian male of a certain vintage and he will instinctively shield his crown jewels.

But I digress.

Others had much to celebrate at this time, such as narrowly escaping a vasectomy, but for me, only one thing mattered. Morarji Desai was our prime minister, and he drank his own pee. I was in school at the time, trying to be funny from the backbench.

For a degenerate like me, it was a gift from heaven. I spent many happy hours drawing ads for Morarji Cola in my notebooks. I created a logo. I designed a bottle. Following the established practice of other urine-coloured drinks, I made it dark green, with his smiling, pixie face on the label. He never smiled in real life, but he did on the bottle of Morarji Cola. He radiated good cheer and vitality. I also created cocktails, such as Peena Colada and Royal Flush. He provided hours of innocent fun, and for this reason, I remember 1977 very fondly.

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I never thought it could get better than this, but it has.

What used to be a young boy’s dream has become a national reality. You can now purchase bottled urine everywhere, online, off the shelf and at almost any venue where the words health and wellness appear together, but instead of elderly Gandhians, this urine is produced by cows. There are many competing brands, and business is booming. A wide variety of benefits have been claimed for it.

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It cures diabetes, cancer, liver disease, asthma and leprosy, purifies and cleanses the skin, and helps turn gay people straight. Much scientific research is being done, by respected institutions and qualified scientists. Sri Sri Ayurveda Gomutra is available on Amazon at Rs 85 for 500 ml. Reviews have been positive. Forty per cent of the sales on www.gaukranti.org come from cow urine. Like wines, tea and single malts, the output of specific gau shalas are much sought after, and Gaukranti allows you to choose. Cow urine is available in both blended and single source forms. Go Ark produces GoSeva from Gir cows, while the cheaper Gouganga is produced from mixed Indian breeds.

As competition intensifies, brands are attempting to differentiate themselves. For example one question that any potential cow urine drinker ought to consider is, what have the cows been eating? The Keshav Srushti Go Shala feeds its cows grass and green vegetables. At the RSS Cow Protection Department in Haridwar, where Gau Jal is being developed as an alternative to carbonated fizzy drinks, cows are fed on a diet of grass dipped in milk, herbs with unrefined cane sugar and water containing essential salts. Somewhat disturbingly, cow urine is also being marketed as a floor cleaner called Gaunyle, by the Holy Cow Foundation, recommended as an alternative to Phenyl. I did not make any of this up.

Cow urine is everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before some of those cocktails become standard, and they serve them at wedding buffets, lukewarm and frothy in winter, chilled and fizzy in summer. This means that the decision about whether to drink cow urine or not may soon be taken out of your hands. If it’s your boss’s wedding, or a government function, it’s going to be bottoms up for you. Close your eyes and think of India. To be on the safe side, stay prepared. Carry a small bottle of honey and a lemon wherever you go. It helps it to go down smoothly.

Shovon Chowdhury’s most recent novel, Murder With Bengali Characteristics, is smooth, refreshing and flushes toxins.

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