Saturday, April 21, 2012

Facts about the “Holy Cow”!!

India has 150 million cows. Indian cows give less than 200 litres of milk  per  year!! If they are properly  fed and looked after,  they can give 11,000 litres Indian milk is the cheapest in the world. With enhanced production we could become the world's largest exporter of milk and that will become India's biggest foreign exchange earner.
The cow was elevated to divinity in the Rig Veda. Indian society has addressed the cow as “Gow Mata”. The  “Samudra Mathana” brings to light the story of the creation of the cow. Five divine Kamadhenus  - Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila, Bahula.
Thousands of names in our country are cow-related: Gauhati, Gorakhpur, Goa, Godhra, Gondiya, Godavari, Govardhan,  Gautam, Gomukh, Gokarna, Goyal, Gochar etc.
Directive Principles of the Constitution of India in  Article 48 says: “The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”.
During the First War of Independence in 1857, when Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ was installed as emperor by the Hindus in Delhi for a brief period and made cow killing a capital offence. In Maharaja Ranjit Singh's  kingdom, the only crime that invited capital punishment was cow slaughter.
The cow, according to the Vedas, provides four products for human  use:
(i)        Godugdha (cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk has fat, carbohydrates, minerals and Vitamin B, and even a capacity for body resistance to radiation and for regenerating brain cells.
(ii)      Goghruta (ghee): The best ghee, it is, as per Ayurveda useful in many disorders. In yajna, it improves the air's oxygen level.
(iii)    Gomutra (urine): Among 8  types of urine used for medicinal purposes, cow urine is held to be the best. If we don’t act fast, Americans will patent  it. It has anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. It has immune-modulator properties, which makes it useful for immune deficiency diseases. In the classics there are many references to cow urine as a drug of choice. Even the Parsis follow this practice.
(iv)     Gomaya (dung): That  is considered as valuable as Gomutra and used to purify the environment, as it has radium and checks radiation effects.

Ancient Hindu wisdom on the medicinal properties of cow urine is borne out by 2 patents granted in the US for cow urine distillate (Patent numbers 6410059 and 6896907).
Even China has granted the distillate a patent as a DNA protector.
A global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent and for fungicidal and growth promoting properties for different crops (WHO 2004/ 087618A1). A US patent has been granted for strains from Sahiwal cow milk for plant growth promoter phytopathogenic fungi controlling activity, abiotic stress tolerating capability, phosphatic solubilisation capability, etc.
And CSIR has filed for a US patent for amrit pani, a mixture of cow dung, cow urine and jiggery, for soil health improvement properties. These claims were initially made in the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta, Vaghbhata and Nighantu, Ratnakar, etc. They prove the utility of cow dung and urine  for sustainable agriculture as well as for disease prevention.
Thus cow protection makes economic and ecological sense. Non-vegetarianism indirectly contributes heavily to greenhouse gases and other pollution. One kilogram of beef takes 7 kg of grass (or plants) and 7,000 kg of water to produce. A dietician's chart shows that beef with 22 per cent protein ranks below soya-bean (43), groundnut (31) and pulses (24 per cent).

UN report from 2006 that says, "Raising animals for meat as food generates more greenhouse gasses than all the cars and trucks in the world combined". Ten of billions of animals farmed for food release  gases such as Methane, Nitrous Oxide and Carbon Dioxide through their massive amounts of manure. "The released Methane has 23 times the global warming potential of CO2" says the report!!
For these animals to graze, virgin forests are cleared. The livestock industry also needs vast stretches of land to raise crops to feed these animals. The CO2 that the trees and plants store  escapes  into the air when they are destroyed. Alarming though these facts are, all that people have to do is to avoid red meat!!

A single individual by not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one tonne of CO2 prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car.
So there are a number of reasons to be a vegetarian.

Monday, April 02, 2012

What killed Ranjan Das (CEO and MD of SAP) and Lessons for Corporate India? Infused Living: Home Accents, Jewelry, and accessories from around the world!

Ranjan Das, CEO and MD of SAP Indian subcontinent died after a massive cardiac arrest in Mumbai on Wednesday. One of the youngest CEOs, he was just 42 year old!!

What killed Ranjan Das and Lessons for Corporate India
A few months ago, many of us heard about the sad demise of Ranjan Das from Bandra, Mumbai. He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. It was common to see him run on Bandra's Carter Road. Just after Diwali, on 21st Oct, he returned home from his gym after a workout, collapsed with a massive heart attack and died.

It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India . However, it was even more disastrous for runners among us. Since Ranjan was an avid marathoner (in Feb 09, he ran Chennai Marathon at the same time some of us were running Pondicherry Marathon 180 km away), the question came as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumb to heart attack at 42 years of age. 

Was it the stress?
While Ranjan had mentioned that he faced a lot of stress, that is a common element in most of our lives. We used to think that by being fit, one can conquer the bad effects of stress. 

The Real Reason However, everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to make do with 4-5 hours of sleep. This is an earlier interview of Ranjan on NDTV in the program. Well-known cardiologist on the subject of 'Heart Disease caused by Lack of Sleep' have distilled the key points below in the hope it will save some of our lives.

Some Excerpts:
  1. Short sleep duration ( <5 or 5-6 hours ) increased risk for high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night.
  2. Young people ( 25-49 years of age ) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. 
  3. Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. 
  4. Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!
  5. Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL! -6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
  6. Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease.

Ideal Sleep
In brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM ( Rapid Eye Movement ) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times.

The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type. 

For us to be mentally alert during the day, the latter part of sleep is more important. No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, you are
mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess ( lack of non-REM sleep ), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down.

Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sleep to repair the running related damage.

In conclusion:
Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising ( marathoning! ), maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. In our opinion, that killed him.

If you are not getting enough sleep ( 7 hours ), you are playing with fire, even if you have low stress.