High Demand for Cow Dung Drives E-Commerce in India
By Riaz Haq

Cow patties -- cow poop mixed with hay and dried in the sun, made mainly by Indian women in rural areas -- are among the hottest selling items by online retailers including  Amazon  and  eBay  in India, according to  media reports .

Some retailers are offering discounts for large orders and offering free gift wrapping. 

Cow dung has a special spiritual significance in Hindu religion. The cows in India do not eat non-vegetarian items and only eat grass or grains which makes cow dung holy and acceptable. In a lot of pujas (worship rituals), both dried and fresh cow dung is used.  From Govardhan Puja to havans, cow dung is used during pujas.
In many spiritual "yagnas", the fire is lit using dried cow dung and desi ghee (clarified butter). It is believed that burning cow dung with ghee is one of the best ways to purify the home, according to  BoldSky.com .
In addition, cow dung is the most widely used fuel in India for heating and cooking in rural areas. However, the online orders are coming mostly from cities where it would be difficult to buy dung cakes. The cakes are sold in packages that contain two to eight pieces weighing 200 grams (7 ounces) each. Prices range from 100 to 400 rupees ($1.50 to $6) per package.
Hindus do not eat beef but  cow urine   and cow dung are considered sacred.  Urine is believed to be beneficial by as a beverage and for purification of buildings. American newspaper  USA Today  published a story earlier this year about a urine bottling plant in Haridwar, India. A recent  Times of India  report said cow urine was used by a group of Hindu activists for cleaning some government buildings.

Online sales of cow dung offer a uniquely Indian blend of ancient Hindu culture and modern information technology being embraced in the country.  Rise of Hindu nationalists to power under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given renewed impetus to total  Hinduization of India .



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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