Goshala: Shelter for stray cows

Shiv Chander Sharma
Near the Central Jail at Ambphalla in the centre of Jammu with posh colony of Karan Nagar on the one side there is a Goshala where stray cows and those abandoned by the owners are kept, and are provided proper shelter, food, water and Medicare.
This Goshala is the oldest and only one in Jammu city which was initially set up by Sanatan Dharam Sabha in early 1960s. An official of the Goshala said that initially it was set up to take care of those cows and calves which used to be caught by Police while being taken to Valley and other places of Jammu and Kashmir allegedly for slaughtering.
Later, the Go Raksha Samiti was formed for taking care of the affairs related to the welfare of the cows which have great significance in Hindu religion and culture. The Samiti decided to set up a full-fledged Goshala after taking over the affairs from Sanatan Dharam Sabha, the official said.
A large piece of land for setting up of permanent Goshala was taken by Ved Mandir on lease basis in 1960’s by the Go Raksha Samiti at its present place. Over 180 cows, both milching one or not besides oxens have been kept in the Goshala under roof.
These cattle are provided extra care for which a veterinary doctor has been engaged permanently who checks and treats sick cows during his daily visit. A room having medical facilities has been provided for this purpose.
Giat Nandan Jain, a social activist and an office bearer of the Goshala said that the Goshala was functioning on the basis of donations which are given by the people liberally both in cash, kind and grass and other such weed which cows generally eat.
Goshala has also set up branches at Jindrah village and Subechak in Marh block of Jammu where the abandoned cows by the villagers of nearby villages are kept with full care, Giat Nandan added.
He further said that when cows being taken to other places illegally by the smugglers are caught by the police they are brought here. However, he regretted that many among those bovines die even before reaching Goshala since they are starved by the smugglers while carrying them in trucks.
A cow lover and one among the Sevaks of Goshala, Gurdev said that those caught in these cases should not be allowed to move freely before being punished for this heinous crime. He also appealed to the people to donate liberally so that more care of the cows can be done as more and more people are abandoning the cows when they stop milching.
However, an octogenarian, Dr Ved Raj, a resident of Exchange Road in the Jammu city informed that earlier, the Goshala existed in the Ahata area on Telephone Exchange Road in Jammu city during Royal times before 1947 which was later shifted to Ambphalla area in the city. The Goshala is a renowned one in the city and people take out cows for their religious rituals as prevalent in the Sanatan Dharma. The cows are accompanied by the attendants of the Goshala, who take back them after the rituals are over, which are mainly, Barkhis, Choubarsi ets besides some others when Go Daan is compulsory.
Large number of people can be seen rendering their self-less service for the cows . However, the Goshala authorities have also engaged some staff members for proper care of the animals and have provided them shelter inside the premises.