Divided By Religion, United By Cows

By Rishav Agarwal

When you look at the topic, you might wonder on how cows, the topic constantly on the top of every controversy in the political circles recently, can actually be uniting people above their religion. Well, you are in for a surprise as the Gomatha (our cows) definitely do not distinguish men based on their religion. And the example is very much alive in the Mangaluru city of Karnataka. The story speaks of the love a person has for the bovine and how it has rewarded him over the years. It speaks of a love that has outgrown the limitations set by religions and beliefs, a love that has surpassed the common perception and has brought nothing but only good to the owner.

The story you are about to read is that of Ahmed Musthafa from Mangaluru, Karnataka. Yes, now looking at the name, you are already wondering on how this is possible. Coming from a community which is often targeted by the cow vigilantes, the story is a truly inspirational one to everyone. Without much further ado, here is what happened.
It was at the age of 36 when Musthafa started rearing his cows and he had three cows, jersey ones at that, when he started. Now nearly 12 years later, he is the proud owner of the dairy farm, Hajaj Farms. He now owns 33 cows and the farm also includes cows of the Holstein Frisesian breeds from Australia and more.

Ahmed Musthafa’s father is an industrialist and so there is no surprise here on the business genes. He claims that he had always dreamt of owning cows and having a dairy farm of his own. When speaking about his yesteryears, he said, “I used to help my parents rear the three cows we then owned at my early age. Then I started to think seriously on opening a dairy farm which came true nearly a decade back. I built a simple shed for the three cows we had and started on my own. “

Musthafa supplies nearly 250 litres of milk to the local milk markets every day. And while it has become a profitable business, he has not lost his love for the cows. He says, “They are like my children. I have 27 milch cows and 6 calves on my farm and each of them is like a child to me. I take time out every day to spend with my cows. I ensure that I feed them personally and their shed is completely clean. I look out for their health and they look out for my livelihood.”

Some might think that Musthafa probably did not have another option which is why he took up dairy farming. If you are one, then you cannot be more mistaken than this. He is a player of both Kabaddi and volleyball and is part of many different organizations in the state. To him dairy farming is a passion he held close to heart from his childhood. “It is not about the profit that I make. It is about the fact that I can care for these animals and I enjoy doing so, “ says Musthafa.

Despite being passionate about the farm, Musthafa’s journey hasn’t been filled with roses all along. “When I decided to start with Dairy farming, I wanted to do it with the proper breeds, which meant that I had to invest quite a lot in getting them. And it hasn’t been a jolly ride all along. There were losses in the early stages as I was just getting a hang on the business. Recently though the ride has been quite profitable thanks to KMF (Karnataka Milk Factory). The rate of subsidy from KMF is an added bonus to us dairy farmers,” says Ahmed Musthafa when enquired on his business gains.

Ahmed Musthafa owns different breed of cattle, each of them bearing different amount of milk every day. “I have Gir breed cows that can give you 10-20 litres everyday, jersey breed which gives 8-15 litres and of course the HF cows that give the maximum of 15-25 litres per day. I also have Tharparkar and Sahiwal in the farm.”

Musthafa is quite diligent in caring for his cows, especially the HF ones as they are easily prone to diseases and have to be handled with care. In his words, “Raising cattle, especially cows from different breeds is quite a challenging task. You need to feed and wash them every day and also ensure that their environment is very clean. You have to be very wary of possible diseases if you don’t want to suffer from the loss of a cow.”

There are three workers on the farm who help him out with the daily chores and he also grows the hybrid hay required for his special breed of cows in his own land.
When enquired on how society looks at him, given the many controversies surrounding cows and their lives, he just smiles and answers “If you know the worth of your cow and you really respect it, then people can see you doing it. When they see me treating the cows with respect, they know that I am not causing any harm to them or the society. And that is what has helped me gain the respect I have in the society now.” He is an ardent supporter of cows and has constantly been supporting the cause for saving cows. And this has earned him respect and a good reputation in the society.

Ahmed Musthafa, aged 48 spends a lot of time everyday caring for his bovines, making sure that they have everything from a clean space to the kind of fodder they need. His story is a testimony to the fact that when you do anything with passion, you will never have to run behind success as it will always accompany you.

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