It was India’s first Prime minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, who described India in his book ‘Discovery of India’ as a ‘bundle of contradictions’. What an apt description indeed.
On the one hand, we have thousands of children dying due to malnutrition. On the other hand, thousands of litres of milk is poured away every day as offerings to our Gods. Indeed, the World Bank estimates that India has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world.
The Madras High Court in 2014 passed an order in a PIL putting an end to this wastage of milk. While the order was a step in the right direction, the court also conceded that it could not force the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department to follow through.
24-year-old Karan Goel, a resident of Meerut, also sought to put an end to the amount of milk that gets wasted during the festive month and along with four other former classmates developed a system to collect and reuse the milk without any contamination.
The group then convinced the priest at Bileshwar Nath temple in Meerut to set up the system in the premises on Shivratri and published pamphlets and distributed them to devotees. On Wednesday, they saved over 100 litres of milk and distributed it to underprivileged and orphaned children, as reported in Times of India.
The idea is unique in its simplicity and manages to balance the practical realities and religious sentiments of the people.
“Devotees pour milk on the kalash which is placed right above the Shivling. We made two holes in the Kalash — one on its base and the other one at a certain height. The Kalash had a capacity of seven litres. So we devised a system which ensured that after one litre of milk trickled down on the Shivling, the remaining six litres flowed into a container through the pipe attached to the second hole,” Karan said to the publication.
The apparatus used for this cost Rs 2500 to develop and helped save almost 150 litres of milk. This milk was then sent to Satyakaam Manav Seva Samiti, which provides shelter to orphaned children and HIV positive children.
The apparatus has been handed over to the temple authorities and every Monday a portion of the milk offered would be kept aside to be sent to various orphanages across the city.
We feel that this is an initiative that should be encouraged and hope to see its adoption across India. The idea certainly seems like a God-sent.