Soon after, I wrote Jalapaata (Waterfall) and Tabbaliyu Neenaade Magane (You have been orphaned, my Son). A singular experience inspired both these works. A revolution of sorts was brewing in the cooperative sector in the Kaira district, which not just bettered the lives of the farmers there but supplied plentiful milk to far-off places like Ahmedabad and Bombay. AMUL had gained nationwide fame as a producer and supplier of milk products. I wanted to visit the organization that had unleashed a flood of milk across the country.
Dr. Kodagali from Karnataka was a veterinarian at AMUL (Anand Milk Union Limited). In all, the organization had five veterinarians with an assistant for each. Each veterinarian had a jeep equipped with medical kits. Every alternate day, the jeep would visit villages based on a predetermined route to tend to the medical needs of buffaloes and cows. The veterinarians examined the general health of these animals, treated them for diseases, and carried out artificial insemination procedures. A farmer simply filled out an application at the AMUL office in his village to avail of these facilities. The services were free of charge.
I visited about 40-50 villages in a day with Dr. Kodagali on several trips. I also accompanied the milk delivery trucks on many occasions to study how the system worked. AMUL educated these farmers about the techniques of modern veterinary science on how to obtain the maximum output of milk. For instance, when a cow or buffalo delivers a calf, its milk yield increases substantially for over seven or eight months following which the yield decreases and then dries up. If the animal becomes pregnant again, it stops producing milk till it delivers its baby. From a milk productivity perspective, these are wasted months. These wasted months were reduced by artificially inseminating the cow when it was still lactating (i.e., when the present calf was about 4 months old). That would result in no loss in the milk output. Thanks to the insemination, a new calf would be underway. This process ensured that there’d be only two wasted months with negligible difference in the milk productivity.
Artificial insemination meant no contact of the cow or the buffalo with the male. This also meant that both the female and the male were deprived of enjoying the sensual and emotional pleasures bestowed by nature. I witnessed the artificial insemination procedure. The veterinarian used his equipment to directly “fertilize” the cow with the best seed. I followed his instructions, wore surgical gloves, and felt its uterus and other reproductive organs.
“If you ceaselessly impregnate the cow this way, without giving it any rest, wouldn’t that reduce its lifespan?” I asked him.
“It does. But it yields more milk this way with this reduced lifespan than it would if it lived a full life. Besides, you need to guage its lifespan not by years but by the milk it yields as long as it lives. If you set up a new textile mill, your focus will be on running the machinery round the clock to ensure the quickest return on your investment, minimize interest payments, and reap profits. When the machinery no longer performs as efficiently, you ‘condemn’ it, then buy a more technologically advanced replacement. Old technology is always loss making. The same revolution has occurred in Veterinary science.”
“But doesn’t the poor creature at least deserve to experience the pleasure that occurs when procreating naturally?”
“It is after all, an animal.”
In some units, they had installed machinery to milk the cows, which made the manual milking process redundant. On the other side, this resulted in completely severing the calf’s ties from its mother.
The experience deeply impacted my emotions. I was aghast at this barbaric method of extracting milk, and concluded that it was sinful to drink dairy milk. In Karmasad, several vendors weren’t part of the cooperative, and sold milk independently and let their animals breed naturally. I decided to buy milk for my home from these vendors. As far as I was concerned, the cooperative experience had rendered a massive assault on my sense of morals and ethics. Jalapata and Tabbaliyu Neenaade Magane resulted from this experience. Although the subject matter, focus, and aim of these two novels are different, they emerged from the same experience.