Saturday, February 14, 2009

Coffee, Tea or Pee?

In late 1970s when I was in graduate school in New Jersey, the late prime minister of India, Mr. Morarji Desai, was the focus of a CBS 60-minutes interview extolling the virtues of drinking urine. It provided Pakistani students an opportunity to embarrass our fellow students and friends from India. When our Indian friends showed up for a visit, my roommate politely asked them whether they would like to have "coffee, tea or pee". It was all in good fun and we all laughed it off.

Fast forward thirty years. The joke appears to be turning into reality with the expected launch of a drink "Gau Jal" in India. It is being touted as the "Hindu Nationalists' answer to Coke" by the RSS.

"Don't worry, it won't smell like urine and will be tasty too," Om Prakash of the RSS told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. "Its USP (unique selling proposition) will be that it's going to be very healthy. It won't be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins."

Many Hindus consider cow urine to have medicinal properties and it is often drunk in religious festivals.

Since 2001, the RSS and its offshoots – which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party – have been promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The Hindu organization, which aims to transform India's secular society and establish the supremacy of a Hindu majority (often referred to as Hindutva), said it had not yet decided on a name or a price for the drink.

My marketing suggestion to the RSS is to brand this new desi concoction as "Desai Cola" in honor of the late Indian prime minister who was the first to promote the benefits of urine to the world on a major TV show. The ads for this new invention should boldly ask the prospects, "Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing?" And then offer "Desai Cola" as the answer. In spite of its "medicinal properties" the RSS should price it competitively with other cola drinks such as Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola to rapidly gain a large market share. The RSS should also consider hiring some of the smart middle-class Indian graduates from Harvard, Stanford and Wharton Business schools, specially the kids with certifiable RSS sympathies, to give their product international recognition.

Here's a brief video clip about RSS's cow urine drink:

Related Links:

Hindus plan cow urine drink to rival Western sodas

Sonal Shah to Help Divide Obama's Victory Spoils

India to Launch Cow Urine Drink as Coke Alternative

Hindu Nationalists' Government in Exile?

India's Guantanamos and Abu Ghraibs


Anonymous said...

It is disgusting. Indians should thank other cultures from saving this lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

A Hindu friend whom I met on one of my visits in NJ told me that he "really did not drink cow pee, and if he did, never more than a teaspoon". At that rate, I doubt that cow pee could ever be a marketing success.

Anonymous said...

Riaz, honestly speaking I was not comfortable reading this post. Desai Cola was a common name given to cows urine after Desai admitted and later in an interview detailed the health benefits... However very few Hindus indulge in drinking this stuff.

The Cable Guy said...

Ditto Anwar!!!

Riaz - Please remove that picture atleast. I understand that you don't have any agenda but there is a great difference in discussing a matter of this sort with close friends then posting it on a blog.

Anonymous said...

Anwar, The Cable Guy: good to see you mindful of other peoples' sensibilities.

Riaz, wonder if you'd be brave enough to post something similar on the Danish cartoon issue? That's about as silly as this one. If you cannot, would be most interested to hear why.

Anonymous said...

ROFL!!! I thought the guy in the pic was taking a bath from a public bore well which is so common in slums. Took a re-look after reading the comments above and realized what it actually is about.

Btw Haq , as an Indian, I dont have any probs with that pic on ur blog. AFAIK only a minority of Hindus really drink cow pee.

Anonymous said...

my oh my..nice venom..
Dont know about RSS's cow urine ventures. But Indian Ayurveda medicine system considers cow urine of highly medicinal value or urine in general(I am not sure).Ayurveda is highly popular in Middle-East too. To best of my knowledge, I think by Indian community standards, cow urine or cow dung are not something embarrassing or a taboo.I use Homeopathy medicine system, because Ayurveda requires rigid dietary restrictions and hugely expensive. In Homeopathy too, extracts from cockroaches(insects) and dead animals tissues are used in its medicines. Homeopathy is followed by Clinton family, Tony Blair,Prince Charles etc..and some of these guys are Russells group or Ivy League not so dumb...I dont know what the fuzz is all about cow urine...

Anonymous said...

Why are we suddenly discussing such things here? Appears to be a complete shift from whatever we were discussing since last many weeks.

Anonymous said...

It is true that Hindus consider cow sacred and there is a belief among the conservatives (especially people living in villages) that cow's urine is sacred and believed to have been used in medicines in the ancient times.....but to say that "many Hindus" drink pee on festivals may not be correct. I haven't come across a Hindu who drinks or has drunk cow urine. May be a very few do. But it is largely a thing of past. Only some ultra conservatives like RSS can revive such past stories.....

Being an Indian I was not really comfortable reading your post but I must say your suggestion to RSS on naming the drink as "Desai Cola" is very appropriate..:)

A peep into the Pakistan blogs will always fetch me at least one odd story about India which is difficult to find in our Indian mainstream media.....

Anonymous said...

Just for information,some people have been objecting that Muslims are also allowed to drink Camel Urine!

That is correct.Prophet Mohammad SAWS had prescribed Camel milk and urine to some people of Uranayah tribe,who had come to Medina ,but got seriously ill.They recovered,but later on did some criminal act and murdered a shepherd and were accordingly punished in accordance with Islamic laws.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a differing opinion I found on answering Christianity website at

The Prophet prescribing Camel Urine as medicine:

First of all, let us clarify the reason and story behind the prescription. Some people had become very ill at the time of the prophet, and were suffering from an unknown illness. Their bellies had swollen and they were not in a fit state. Hence, the prophet said to them, that they would find a cure in the milk and urine of a camel and so he sent them out to an area where camels were grazing. These men went to this area and drank the milk and urine. Sure enough, just like the Prophet said, they were cured and became fit and healthy.

However, at the same time, evil thoughts entered their minds and they decided they wanted the camels for themselves. They therefore killed the owner, and made off with the camels. When news of the murder reached the prophet, he sent an envoy to capture the men, and when they were captured and brought before the prophet, capital punishment was meted out to them.

Having read this story, what do we conclude from it? The answering islam team would have us believe that this Hadith means that drinking camel urine is permissible in Islam. This is INCORRECT. The real meaning of this Hadith is that if a person needs to consume an impure and impermissible substance as a cure for an illness, and no other reasonable alternative is available, then it is permissible. In all other circumstances, camel urine is prohibited.


Ray Lightning said...

Riaz, It is a pity that spending so much time in the USA haven't taught you a thing about the necessity of objectivity when assessing other cultures.

A lot of societies engage in customs that are considered to be disgusting or despicable when viewed from another culture. I can relate a thousand customs from China, Malaysia, Amazon basin, Africa, Arabia or
even Europe which many people find objectionable. As global citizens, our responsibility is to stand aside and let other people live as they wish, and not be judgemental on their doings. Of course, unless these acts violate basic human rights of other human beings.

When Europeans or Americans indulge in bashing Islamic culture and attacking bogeymen, you complain of orientalism. But now you are indulging in nothing short of the same.

The superiority of a culture lies in how permissive and liberal it is in accepting the doings of fringe minorities. I am glad that India boasts of such a culture. And yes, those who drink cow piss are a fringe minority, if you don't know yet.

Sikander Hayat said...

To read more about Pakistan please visit

Rohit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Riaz Haq said...

From the tone and content of your comments, it's easy to see that your are far more angry than amused. My suggestion to you is: Get a Life, Dude!

Anonymous said...

Rohit, Riaz is presenting the truth, you just cannot handle the truth, by the way your English vocabulary is outdated. Boy such uncivilized rude comments against Mr. Riaz, who is definitely an intellectual(read his complete profile, u can learn a thing or two) he has the freedom of speech but he presents with facts, god bless USA for that right. The other day I read on BBC that a boy was married to a dog in India to get rid of bad omens. You guys are freak show man. Like Riaz said get a life dude (R u one of the slum dogs?), well then I can understand your frustrations. PEACE BRO, plus all of you Indians what is your motive logging into Pakistani blog, what do you expect? its PAKISTANI BLOG/COMPRENDE!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with what rohit says. You've got no rights to mock Indians... Do you know that most of the doctors around the world believe that urine is actually good for health. And for your kind information it is also used in allopathic medicines...

And if you say that Hindus drink pee on there festivals then I think its one big lie... We who have spent so many years in India have never come across any such thing. So please stop spreading rumors!

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Tehelka story titled Hindutva Lab 2.0 on rising Hindutva threat in Karnataka:

IS KARNATAKA the new Gujarat, the second “laboratory of Hindutva” for the BJP and the broader Sangh Parivar? As the BJP government in the state enters the final year of its first term in power — it had earlier ruled in alliance with the JD(S) — that disturbing question comes up again and again. Behind the morality and hypocrisy, the humbug and corruption that the BJP establishment in Bengaluru has been charged with is a harder, harsher truth: the scary distortion of an entire society.
Take a small example. On 22 January, there was uproar in Uppanangadi, a hamlet near Mangalore. Kalladka Prabhakar Bhatt, a senior RSS leader known for his proximity to Sadananda Gowda and his predecessor BS Yeddyurappa, was addressing a crowd and resorted to extreme and undignified imagery. “Lift the veils of Muslim women,” Bhatt told the throng, “and glimpse what they have to offer.” His listeners cheered; policemen listened too, but strolled casually, as if nothing were happening.

Soon after, the local minorities — a mix of Muslim and Catholic organisations — approached the police, which reluctantly filed an FIR against Bhatt. Yet it refused to arrest him, arguing there was no basis for taking him into custody. Rather, as if to compensate, the local police then filed an FIR against the president of the Muslim Central Committee, Mohammad Masood, under Section 153(a) of the Indian Penal Code — “Promoting communal enmity between classes” — as well as Section 505(2) — “Making statements that create or promote communal enmity”.
In 2009, Sitaram was arrested when a case was filed against him for defamation. Twenty-five policemen turned up and surrounded him. “It seemed like they had come to arrest a terrorist,” he exclaims. His fault was he had written about the exploits of a local Bajrang Dal leader.

Sitaram points to the newspapers stacked in his office. Picking up some of them at random, from the previous month’s pile, almost every day one finds mention of an attack on Muslims and Christians, on churches and mosques. Sitaram is distraught: “They go around shouting ‘Pehle qasaai, phir Isaai’ — First butchers (Muslims), then Christians.” According to official figures, a church has been attacked almost once every 10 days in the past three years. In some cases, the very presence of a Muslim boy with a Hindu girl has caused a riot.

The opposition to Hindu girl-Muslim boy romance is part of a peculiar phenomenon that the Sangh Parivar labels “love jihad”. This paranoia began in Kerala and alleges that Muslim men are being trained to woo and then indoctrinate Hindu girls, to win converts to Islam.

Bhatt is an exponent of theories of love jihad. In December 2011, the Hindu Nagarika Samiti held a massive protest meeting in Sullia, where Bhatt attacked the police for its supposed anti-Hindu sentiment and spoke of how love jihad, terrorism and cow slaughter were rampant in the state.

He was joined by others, notably Satyajit Suratkal, regional convener of the Hindu Jagran Vedike, who said: “Whenever the Muslims provoked us, we have given a suitable response. If they want more, then there might be a recurrence of earlier happenings. If the police join hands with traitors we will teach them a lesson too.”

Riaz Haq said...

Ghee, pure fat drawn from milk, is considered sacred in Hinduism It is used in religious rituals ranging from puja (worship) to cremation of the dead. Hindus claim many benefits of ghee which have not been confirmed by research.

Here's a piece on ghee use in Ayurveda, the Hindu medicine:
Ghee is considered one of the most (if not the most) precious foods in Ayurveda.

What is Ghee?

When I first began my study of Ayurveda, one of the first foods I was exposed to was ghee. Ghee is the Indian term for clarified butter. When one clarifies butter, the milk fat solids are removed; thus, ghee is a healthy alternative to butter. Ghee can be used in place of olive oil in cooking and butter in baking.

Ghee is considered one of the most (if not the most) precious foods in Ayurveda. It is known to help build ojas or physical and mental strength and stability. Ghee is considered sacred in Ayurveda and Hinduism not only because of its various health benefits and medicinal applications, but also due to its origin from cows. In Hinduism, cows are sacred and are symbols of life and a main source of food for many.

Benefits of Ghee

In the West, the thought of consuming ghee for its health benefits might seem a bit backward because we are programmed to believe that fat makes fat period. However, we must have a paradigm shift and understand that healthy fat makes healthy fat, while unhealthy fat makes unhealthy fat. One cannot live without the intake of fats. Healthy fats from ghee or omega-3′s or 6’s keep our joints lubricated, skin and hair lustrous, insulate our bodies, provide protection for our internal organs, boosts our ojas (immune system and mental strength), lower cholesterol and prevent acute and chronic disease. Ghee is also known to heal internal wounds, particularly in the gastro-intestinal tract.

In short, ghee is a healthy fat that provides nourishment to our bodies and minds. These qualities are particularly beneficial in the fall and winter seasons where the dry and cold qualities are prevalent.

Riaz Haq said...

Health Consequences of Ghee and Butter

Research on ghee and health is limited, but fairly consistent. When ghee is consumed at levels above 10% total calories, it can increase risk of cardiovascular disease. (For a person consuming 1,800 calories per day, 10% of those calories would be 180 calories, or about 20 grams of fat, which equals approximately 2 tablespoons of ghee.) At levels under 10% of total calories, however, ghee appears to help lower cardiovascular risks, especially when other fats consumed during the day are exclusively from plants or plant oils.

Butter, like ghee, can increase risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed in excessive amounts. One research study has shown that 3 tablespoons of butter per day over 4 weeks can increase total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. For this reason, if you are going to cook with butter, you will want to keep the amount at a moderate level of no more than 1-2 tablespoons.

The benefits of butter at moderate levels do not yet have the same level of research backing as ghee. However, there is increasing research interest in butter as having some unique potential benefits of its own, particularly in relationship to its vitamin K and vitamin D content. This content may vary, however, depending on the diet and living circumstances of the dairy cow. (We look forward to new research in this area, especially with respect to vitamin K2.)

Types of Fats in Ghee and Butter

When comparing ghee to butter in terms of health, one reason for the more favorable past research record of ghee versus butter might be the increased amount of medium- and short-chain fatty acids in ghee. Butter contains about 12-15% of these medium-chain and short-chain fats, whereas ghee contains about 25%. (Our bodies metabolize medium-chain and short-chain fats differently than long-chain ones, and medium- and short-chain ones are not associated with cardiovascular problems in the same way as the long-chain ones are.)

Ghee Has a Higher Smoke Point than Butter

Ghee tends to have a higher smoke point than butter. For butter, smoke point is typically reached between 325˚-375˚F (163˚-191˚C). Some clarified butters also fall into this general range, but ghee usually has a higher smoke point, between 400˚-500˚F (204˚-260˚C). This higher smoke point can be an advantage when cooking at high heat since smoke point is that moment when heat damage to some of the components in a fat or oil is sufficient to become visible in the form of smoke. When it comes to our health, heating above smoke point is not a good idea with any oil or fat.

Cooking Recommendations

For persons choosing to cook in fat at higher heats in the 400˚-500˚F (204˚-260˚C) range, ghee makes sense to us, provided that it's used in moderation (no more than 1-2 tablespoons per day). Even for a person deciding to cook in fat, however, the use of butter at higher heats does not make sense to us due to its lower smoke point (325˚-375˚F/163˚-191˚C).

The use of butter and ghee at lower heats (300˚-375˚F/163˚-191˚C) may be acceptable, provided once again that both of these animal fats are used in moderation. Whether there are distinct advantages to the use of butter at lower heats versus plant oils is not clear to us from the existing research. In general, however, we do not like the idea of heating plant oils due to the delicate nature of their polyunsaturated fats and phytonutrients. Since butter has far fewer polyunsaturates than plant oils, it might provide a lower heat cooking alternative for this reason. However, the phytonutrient and vitamin content of butter would still be susceptible to heat damage, and since we have not yet seen research to confirm the health benefits of butter in lower heat cooking, we cannot recommend this practice without the benefit of more research. On our website, we offer a method of healthy sautéing that requires no fat or oil of any kind. You can visit the Cooking Healthy section of our website to learn more about this method.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian woman fined $400 for carrying 2 #cow urine bottles in baggage into #NewZealand. #India #BeefPolitics #Modi …

An Indian-origin woman has been slapped with a hefty fine of 400 dollars by New Zealand customs for not declaring two bottles of cow urine.

Border officials fined her after she failed to declare two bottles containing cow urine as part of her luggage after her flight landed here.

The woman was slapped with a fine of 400 New Zealand dollars (USD 260).

“When the officers started to inspect the contents of the luggage, they found two bottles of cow urine for medicinal purposes,” said Antony Owen, Ministry for Primary Industries central region team manager for border clearance.

Owen said the belief animal products have a healing properties can stop people from thinking they need to declare it.

“We probably get things like this because they are related to culture, religion or traditional medicines. When they fall into that category that can cloud people’s judgement sometimes in what they’re declaring,” he was quoted as saying by New Zealand-based 3 News.

Riaz Haq said...

In #Modi's #Hindu #India, cow #urine can sell for more than #milk. #BJP

India-trained veterinarian Navneet Dhand, who is an associate professor in veterinary biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Sydney, points to three diseases prevalent in India that could potentially be transmitted to people in the raw urine of infected cows: leptospirosis, which can cause meningitis and liver failure; arthritis-causing brucellosis; and Q-fever, which can cause pneumonia and chronic inflammation of the heart.

That's not dissuading Jain's Cow Urine Therapy Health Clinic, which buys 25,000 liters (6,600 gallons) of cow urine a month from a dozen gaushalas. Virendar Kumar Jain, who founded the 15-doctor practice in the central Indian city of Indore, said his center has administered urine-derived medicines to 1.2 million patients over the past two decades for ailments from cancer to endocrine disorders, such as diabetes.

His staff field inquiries from 4,000 online patients daily, Jain said. Consumers can also buy the products via e-commerce websites, such as Amazon. He estimates cow attendants can make 1,200 rupees a month from the sale of a cow's liquid waste, which can easily pay for the beast's upkeep.

Urine distillate sells for $1.20 to $1.50 (80 to 100 rupees) a liter, says Balkrishna of Patanjali.

Still, the value of cow urine is not a great incentive for keeping unproductive cows until their dying day, said Pankaj Navani, a former engineer whose 300-cow Binsar Farms produces 2,200 liters of milk a day. The lifespan of a cow is about 15 years, though most stop producing milk years earlier.

Navani's herd, established in 2012, is still relatively young and he's yet to face the challenge of what to do with his former milkers, he said. "A more logical policy approach is required to deal with the issue in general," Navani said.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #cow #urine can be as valuable as #milk in #India via @nbcnews

Vishal Gupta, 37, gave up his job to become a full-time practitioner of cow urine therapy and attended a cow medicine training school in the district of Kanchipuram, southern India, before launching a store selling products made from cow urine.

"Cow is the only animal whose everything has medicinal value," he said. "From milk and dung to urine, everything can be used for a medicinal purpose."

While the belief that cows have curative powers has been part of Hindu practices in India for centuries, these traditions got a big boost when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014.

Some leaders of Modi's rightwing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) advocate cow urine as a cure for all kinds of illnesses — including cancer — and cow urine therapy appears to be taking off.

In fact, cow urine typically trades for as much as $25 per gallon, compared to 25 cents per gallon of its milk.

Versions that are boiled and condensed, sweetened, or have added herbs are sold internationally on Amazon under the Hindi name "gomutra ark."

All doctors contacted for this story declined to comment on whether cow urine was an effective cure for any disease.

However, devotees swear by it.

Ajay Dube, a 54-year-old jewelry-maker, came to Vishal Gupta for advice on how to treat intestinal bloating caused by inhaling gas from the acids used to clean gold.

He believes the recommended solution of two teaspoons of cow urine mixed with herbs and berries cured his problem.

"When I first tasted it, it was very bad but I got used to it in few days and in one month's time my gas problem was over and also my appetite increased," Dube said.

Vishal Gupta has entered a business partnership with Gyanendra Kumar, a farmer turned entrepreneur who wakes every morning at 4 a.m. to fill large pails with urine from his cows.

The urine then is boiled and condensed to make the "ark" extract. Last month, one of India's biggest cow shelters began producing 10,000 liters of ark a day at a production facility inaugurated by the health minister, and similar sites are springing up all over the country.

And it's not just medicine — other products made from cow urine including insulin substitute and mouthwash.

Reverence for cow urine has become a political issue in India, where hindus worship cows as "gau mata" — "mother of all." Hindus seek nourishment through milk, dung and urine but almost never cow meat — they regard the cow as sacred and many see its consumption as an abomination.

Since the BJP was elected, a raft of cow-protection laws were implemented as were vociferous demands for their strict enforcement.

Riaz Haq said...

#Cow Urine Sale on Delivered chilled & frosted to your home. Uses: Elixir, food flavoring, recreational drink, and medicinal (1-1/2 teaspoon with breakfast). #Modi #India

Riaz Haq said...

Like #Nazi #Hitler in #Germany , #Modi’s #India to produce ‘highly intellectual’ #Hindu children by giving cow urine to pregnant women. #Hindutva #India #Eugenics

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog wants to produce panchgavya drug using cow urine. It says pregnant women will give birth to ‘smart kids’ if they take the drug regularly.

The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is working with the Ministry of AYUSH to produce panchgavya drug using cow urine and dung that it says will help develop “highly intellectual” children.

The commission has claimed that pregnant women may be able to give birth to “smart, highly intellectual and healthy children” if they consume the drug regularly.

The drug will be made using cow urine, dung, milk, ghee and curd, the commission’s chairman Vallabhbhai Kathiria told ThePrint.

The Aayog was set up by the Narendra Modi government in February for the purpose of conservation and protection of cattle population in the country.

Kathiria, who is a former BJP MP from Gujarat, said that shastras and Ayurveda texts also vouch for panchgavya drug, which is a mixture of five cow products.

“Shastras and Ayurveda texts say that if pregnant women consume the drug, they may produce smart, highly intellectual and healthy children,” he said, adding that they have sought the AYUSH ministry’s help in producing the drug on a large scale.

He also said the AYUSH ministry and the newly-formed Ministry of Animal Husbandry will seek the cooperation of the MSME ministry in producing and marketing the drug.

Kathiria added that once they produce the drug on a large scale, they will appoint vaidyas (practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine) in villages so that they prescribe them to pregnant women.

Kathiria said the commission’s responsibility also includes development and conservation of indigenous cow breeds, and, therefore, it has already selected 44 indigenous breeds.

Among the breeds, Gir and Kankrej of Gujarat, Sahiwal of Punjab, Gangatiri and Red Sindhi of Uttar Pradesh, Malvi of Madhya Pradesh and Krishna Valley and Vechur of south India are the prominent ones.

Kathiria further said that there is a problem of semen-shortage, which forces the government to import semen of bulls from other countries. The only way to solve the problem is by opening at least one semen-production centre and one mating centre in each state, he added.

“Semen-production centres are already operating in Bhopal and Visakhapatnam where semen of good breeds of indigenous bulls is produced with the help of genetic breeding,” he said.

In this regard, the commission is working with the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, which is gravely concerned about the dwindling population of indigenous cows, Kathiria said.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Animal Husbandry Pratap Chandra Sarangi told ThePrint that farmers are no longer interested in keeping indigenous cows due to higher milk production capacity of Jersey cows.

But due to high medicinal value of indigenous cow milk, increasing their population has been one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Sarangi said.

The central government is also planning a scheme in coordination with the state governments to subsidise procurement of indigenous cows by farmers, he added.

Plan to set up gaushalas on PPP model across India
The commission is working on a plan to set up gaushalas (cowsheds), similar to the one built in Gwalior, which operates on a PPP model and produces phenyl, pesticides using cow dung and urine.

“India imports potassium worth Rs 7,000-15,000 crore every year as it is used as a fertiliser, but if all the gaushalas can produce pesticides on their own, it would save the government a lot of money,” said Kathiria.

The former MP said they have already written to the state governments on how to come up with such gaushalas and will soon convene a meeting in this regard.