It was in 1978, a German woman, Friederike Irina Bruning visited the beautiful country ‘India’ as a ‘tourist’. Literally, she had no idea what life has planned for her in the future. The 59-year-old woman fell in love with Indian culture after learning about it and she is still here in the country. She is now a saviour for 1200 sick, injured and mostly abandoned cows. She has her own ‘cowshed’ called as “Surbhai Gauseva Niketan”.
She told PTI that when she came to India as a tourist, she understood that in order to progress in life “you need a guru”. So, she then went in search of a ‘guru’ in Radha Kund in Mathura where a neighbour requested her to afford a cow. She willfully said yes and bought a cow along with some books on cows as well.
She developed an intense love for cows and started treating them like her own children. She opened an ashram and that was when her life changed. She learnt that people recently abandoned their cows after ageing. “I saw that people of late abandon their cows when they grow old and stop giving milk,” she told PTI.
Popularly called Sudevi Mataji, she now has a large family of cows and calves Radha Kund (town). “They are like my children and I cannot leave them”. In her 3,300 sq. yard gaushala (protective shelter for cows), she takes care of the animals by giving food and medicine.
She has been doing great work, which is worth applauding but sadly she hasn’t received any help from the local authorities. “Initially my father used to send some money but now he is a senior citizen. Every year, I visit Berlin to see him. He is not well. I am not getting any help from the local authorities, but somehow managing my work,” she said.
According to her, around Rs 22 lakh is required per month for medicines, foodgrain and salaries of about 60 workers. “I have 60 people working here and they all need money to support their children and family and I have to take care of my cows, who are my children.”
She still has not received a long-term visa from the Indian government and has to get it renewed each year. “I cannot take Indian nationality as I would lose rental income from Berlin. My father was working in the German Embassy in India. Its the money of my parents that I have put into this gaushala,” she told PTI.
(With inputs from PTI)