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Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 21:17 GMT
Diamonds are a cow's best friend
By Rajeev Khanna
BBC correspondent in Ahmedabad

The merits of cow dung in South Asia have long been praised.

Indian cow
One of a group of stray cows ate the diamonds
It is used for cooking, construction and manure.

But diamond studded cow dung is not something that is a regular occurrence.

Now it seems that diamonds are a cow's best friend in the sleepy town of Limbudi, in the Indian state of Gujarat.

Nearly 2,000 of the precious stones were lost by jewellery trader Mohobat Sang Gohil on his way home from work earlier this month.

Retracing his steps, Mr Gohil worked out that he had probably dropped the diamonds - worth more than 800 dollars (40,000 Rupees) near a group of stray cattle.

It occurred to Mr Gohil that one of these animals may have eaten his precious package.

His suspicions were confirmed when a packet containing foodstuff that was wrapped with the same paper he had used to cover the diamonds was ignored by all the cows except one, which consumed it voraciously.

The broker then rounded up the cattle and took them to a compound where his hunch was confirmed.

Dung vigil

The suspect cow was given a strict diet of dry fodder, and an all day vigil has been launched to see if the diamonds might appear from its' rear end.

Giving laxatives in this case will not help as the chances of diamonds coming out with thin dung are remote
Mohobat Sang Gohil, Gujarat diamond dealer

It was not long before sparkling cow dung began to be seen.

The dung is now regularly diluted to make it easier and more hygienic for Mr Gohil and his workers to retrieve around 20 to 25 precious stones a day.

He has obtained special permission from the owner to carry out the inspections

Government servants are now visiting the cow daily to ensure that it is not subjected to any cruelty.

The cow is a sacred animal for Hindus who treat them with reverence even when they are not defecating diamonds.

Mr Gohil says that so far 322 diamonds have been retrieved from the cow dung.

"I believe it will take a month to get them all back,'' he says.

Hard times for holy cows
30 Sep 03  |  South Asia
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09 Aug 01  |  South Asia

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