Skip to main content

NYT "advises" Modi not to patent cow urine, calls it dangerous move stemming from obsession with the animal

By Our Representative
In an unusual Opinion article (June 16), titled “Mr Modi, Don't Patent Cow Urine”, the New York Times (NYT) has wondered why the BJP government, which released India’s first National Intellectual Property Rights Policy last month, is calling for “protecting traditional remedies like cow urine.”
Calling the move “dangerously misguided” for a policy paper which “reaffirms the basic tenets of India’s admirably farsighted patent laws”, NYT says, “Even as the Modi government’s new policy paper reiterates the need to limit patents in the name of public health, it repeatedly argues for plucking ‘traditional knowledge’ out of a multimillennial cultural commons and patenting it.”
Pointing out that “with this move the B.P is picking up unfinished business from its previous excursion in power, when it”, the daily recalls how that was the time when “the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Center for Research in Cow Science, an outgrowth of Hindu nationalist groups, first tried to patent cow-urine technology in India.”
NYT recalls how “in the early 2000s, when the BJP led the governing coalition of the day, the CSIR, a state-funded network of research laboratories, started promoting cow-urine technology as a treatment for diabetes, infections, cancer and even DNA damage.”
Written by Achal Prabhala, a writer based in Bangalore, and Sudhir Krishnaswamy, a professor of law at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, the NYT article says, quoting a report, “Over the last decade the CSIR has spent around $50 million on patent applications, including for using cow urine in health tonics, energy drinks and chocolate.”
“Patenting cow urine is a natural extension of the Hindu right’s obsession with the cow”, the paper continues, adding, “It makes ideological sense for a nationalist party that rides on a wounded Hindu psyche to claim that Indian science was well ahead of Western science.”
However, it underlines, “But this is bad history. A large part of what India claims as its indigenous heritage isn’t exclusively ours: Unani medicine comes from Persia; the origins of homeopathy are German.” The approach stems from the BJP’s “nativist, Hindu-pride approach to patents”, it adds.
“India’s patent laws, currently under consideration as a model in South Africa and Brazil, are a world-class innovation”, NYT says, insisting, however, the country’s “cow-urine technology, which has yet to garner much interest abroad, is not.”
“To patent cow urine isn’t just silly”, NYT says, adding, it stems from the ruling BJP’s “famously obsessed with the cow, which is venerated in Hindu cosmology.”
“Most Indian states have now banned cow slaughter”, the daily points out, adding, “The government of Punjab wants to tax alcohol to pay for shelters for stray cattle. Last year, after a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh was lynched by a mob for eating beef, a cabinet minister from the BJP demanded to know who else was “involved in the crime” — meaning the beef eating, not the man’s killing.”
“It should probably come as no surprise, then, that the BJP is also touting the medicinal virtues of consuming cow urine”, NYT says, adding, “The therapy is mentioned in the Ayurveda, an ancient healing system described in Hinduism’s foundational texts.”
“Today, the Indian government holds more than a dozen patents related to cow urine and has filed applications for them in nearly 150 countries. Many nations, including the United States, France and South Korea, have recognized these, but not India, which has much stricter standards for patents. For now”, the daily says.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.