Inspired by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath affection towards cows, women of Varanasi are not only serving the cows but engaged in self-employment by making fragrant incense sticks and other products from cow dung in their quest of making this Diwali eco-friendly.
This initiative of making natural products from cow dung has helped in generating employment and also helping the cause of environment. Apart from joss sticks and Sambrani cups, the women of Kashi also make eco-friendly idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.
As soon as the cups and incense sticks get ready, they are dipped in Panchagavya cow urine. Ingredients which are used in the making of incense sticks (dhoop batti) and Sambrani cups include Brahmi, Jatamansi, Shankhpushpi, Sugandh Bala, Guggul, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove, Cardamom, Balchhad (Jatamansi), Camphor, Nut Grass (Nagarmotha), Balangani, Rudraksha Wood, Resin, etc.
Chairman of Madan Mohan Malaviya Research Centre of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), B.D. Tripathi explains, “Wood or bark of ayurvedic and medicinal plants are being used in the making of incense sticks and other ‘Pooja’ materials. These materials when burnt help in killing harmful and pathogenic bacteria and also purify the environment.” He also requested not to buy imported idols that are made from harmful metals including chromium, nickel and aluminium as these pollute the river which gives harmful effects on aquatic animals.
Requesting to boycott chinese products, Mr Tripathi stated, “ Indian women are challenging chinese products by making top class items from natural ingredients that are equipped with many features. So, I request you to boycott chinese products and promote indigenous products. This initiative will also help in promoting employment in the country.”
Here it is worth a mention that Rita Tiwari, an entrepreneur, took the initiative to find employment for poor people so that they could become ‘Atmanirbhar’ or self-reliant. She contacted Swanand Gau Science Center and decided to start the business of making incense sticks from cow dung. Within a short time, this initiative was joined by over 300 women and now each of them is earning Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per day.