This Guj village is full of ‘millionaire’ canines
Mehsana: You have heard of landed gentry. Now, meet the dogs of Gujarat’s Panchot village, near Mehsana, which are landed sentries.
In the past decade, construction of the Mehsana bypass has sent land prices soaring — it’s Rs 3.5 crore (USD 539,000) per bigha today — and about 21 bighas (13.12 acres) here belong to the 'Madh ni Pati Kutariya Trust', an informal village body that administers assets donated for welfare of dogs. The land is not actually in the names of the canines, but the entire income from the land is set aside for them. Thus, the 70-odd dogs housed here could easily ‘have’ over Rs 1 crore each (USD 154000).
Not just dogs; birds, monkeys and cows also enjoy focus
Chhaganbhai Patel, president of the trust, said the concept of ‘kutariyu’ (land donated for the welfare of dogs) has origins in the village’s long history of jivdaya (compassion for animals).
“The tradition started with richer families donating a piece of land that was not easy to maintain,” Patel said, adding, “At that time, land did not cost much. In a few cases, land was donated as the owners could not afford to even pay tax and the donation shifted the responsibility.”
A group of Patel farmers — notably Prabha Lallu, Chatur Viha, Amtha Kalu and Lakha Sheth — started the administration of the land about 80 years ago. Patel said almost all the land came to the trust at least 70 years ago.
Every year, each plot in the trust’s land bank is auctioned before the sowing season. The highest bidder gets tilling rights for a year. The money goes into sustaining the system. Dashrath Patel, one of the descendants of the families that had donated 1.5 bigha for the cause, said the village feels proud for this system (1 Bigha 5/8 acres).
In 2015, the trust constructed a special building, known as ‘rotla ghar’ (bread loaf house), where rotlas (wheat bread loafs) are prepared by two women. They make 80-odd rotlas every day with 20-30kg flour. Volunteers load a handcart with rotlas and crushed flatbread, and start off the distribution drive at about 7.30pm.
“It takes about an hour to complete a round of 11-odd spots where there are stray dogs,” said Govind Patel, 35, one of the volunteers.
“Twice a month — on full moon and new moon days — we also serve laddoos to the dogs,” Govind added. These villagers do not focus on dogs alone. Volunteers reach out to birds and other animals as well. Abola Trust in the village has an air-conditioned burns ward for cows. It has different units for birds, monkeys and other animals.
Times of India, Delhi edition, Today.
All things here are Brahman (physical energy).