Back in 1947, at the time of independence, India had 111 different types of indigenous cows. Now, there are only 37 left. This is largely due to the import of crossbreeds from other countries. Now, India's native varieties are facing extinction. One man, named Chandran Master, has dedicated his life to caring for what's left of India's indigenous cows.
Master lives in a small village in Kerala, a state in southwest India. He says people don't care to save the indigenous cows because they believe they don't produce enough milk. While this might be true in the short-term, indigenous cows can produce almost twice that of hybrid cows in the long run. However, Master says people are more interested in producing large quantities of milk to make money, rather than produce higher-quality products.
"In the matter of money, you may think I am a loser," Master says in a video called The Keralan Cowboy, produced by The Source Project. "But life-wise, the good life, healthy life, I have to observe the native rules and regulations. Then we will be wealthier in spirit."
Master began collecting indigenous cows 25 years ago, and now has 17 varieties. He believes in natural rearing, which involves the cows going in the forest for grazing every day. There, they eat 50 different kinds of medicinal leaves a day, which adds medicinal value to the milk they produce.
"My greatest wish is that everyone should collect and conserve one of the indigenous cows," Master says. "In that way we can save the country."
See more of Master's story in The Keralan Cowboy below.