Every summer, as the fear of drought looms large, Maharashtra is among the states at risk of getting badly affected. The drought not only affects the people, but also takes a toll on the livestock.
While many farmers in the region have sold their livestock due to drought, Shabbir Sayyad (58), who hails from a village in the drought-hit Beed district of the Marathwada region, has been protecting hundreds of cows for the past 30 years, who would have otherwise died due to lack of food and water.
Recognising his contribution towards the welfare of cows, Sayyad was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, by the President of India this year.
Sayyad lives in a two-room tin-shed home with his 13-member family, who help him to take care of the cattle. The family looks after more than 100 cows, and grows food for them on their own grassland.
Speaking to ANI, Sayyad said,
As a child, I started taking care of the cows. Due to the dearth of drinking water and food for the animals, we sometimes face difficulty in looking after them. There are also some people who donate money for the welfare of the animals.
The cattle require more than 1,500 litres of water per day, and a matured cow drinks nearly 10-15 litres of water at once, reports India Today in its article about Sayyad.
Although Sayyad’s family belongs to the butcher community, they neither milk the cows nor eat beef. Instead, they sell the organic manure to the farmers, which earns them Rs 70,000 every year.
The family also sells bulls, but only to the local farmers at a discounted price. Sayyad also makes sure he gets it in writing that the farmers won’t sell the bulls to any butcher, and will be returned once they are old.
Speaking about his love for cows, Sayyad said, he is just continuing his father’s legacy. His father, Budan Sayed, quit his job as a butcher to look after the cows in his village. Initially, he started with two cows, and later Sayyad bought 10 cows from a butcher and took care of them. The locals came to know about the family’s cow shelter, which made them give their old-age cattle to the family.
Now, Sayyad and his family are hoping that the award might be of some help to their cattle. They have applied for the fodder camp, which they hope will bring some relief to the cattle in the coming drought, reports New Indian Express.
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