(Extracted from an article appeared in Indian Express)
Attached to the oldest temple in Kishangarh village is the oldest cow shelter in Mehraui’s. The Shelter houses more than 1200 cows including 84 blind cows abandoned by their owners. The farm employs around 20 caretakers who look after these animals. One exceptional feature of this Goshala is that the torch bearer caretaker is 40 years old Asiya Khan and her family who take care of 800 of these cows. Asiya and her husband have spent their lives saving cows that India holds sacred and often leave to rot at this shelter. Asiya takes her job pretty seriously; from early morning starting from giving bath to feeding cows and observing them closely for any sickness.
|Asiya Khan at Mehrauli Gaushala Dehat.|
Asiya proudly says “taking care of cows is the only job I have known and it makes me happy to nurse ailing cows that come to the shelter”. She always felt secured doing her job within the gaushala temple premises.
People like 77-year-old Singh, a retired farmer from Haryana number of farmer volunteers offer their self-less active support and don’t mind commuting from places as far as Gurgaon and rest of National Capital Region. ‘For finances Mehrauli Gaushala largely depend on donations from all communities, including minorities’, says Sukhbir Singh, manager at the shelter. He says the gaushala has never been wary of including non-Hindu communities in any celebrations, neither feel uncomfortable about their cows being tended to by Muslims.
|Balbir Singh and Ayub Khan at the cow shelter.|
The couple joined Goshala more than 15 years ago and proudly mention that the place has nurtured their family when they lost their roots in Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013. The couple earn Rs 20,000 a month which is just enough to sustain the family comprising of four young children. Although they live in temple environment they do not feel uncomfortable to keep fasts during Ramzan and celebrate festivals while at the job. Living in the temple premises Asiya is conscious of respecting the sentiments of Hindus. They don’t hide their faith to visitors and the management and visitors to Goshala respect them a lot for their services.
The Indian Express in its article rightly mentioned ‘This nondescript gaushala in the capital shelters not only one of India’s most loved animals, but also the ganga-jamuni tehzeeb that celebrated ethnic differences as much as similarities’.