A BIZARRE soft drink made from cows' urine is being developed to take on mega-brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
And even more bizarrely it is backed by India’s Hindu nationalist movement.
The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.
Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called “gau jal”, or “cow water” – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched “very soon.”
Mr Prakash, who is based in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges, said: “Don’t worry, it won’t smell like urine and will be tasty too.
“Its USP will be that it’s going to be very healthy. It won’t be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins.”
The drink is the latest attempt by the RSS – which was founded in 1925 and now claims eight million members – to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness.
Hindus revere cows and slaughtering them is illegal in most of India.
Cow dung is traditionally used as a fuel and disinfectant in villages, while cow urine and dung are often consumed in rituals to “purify” those on the bottom rungs of the Hindu caste system.
In 2001, the RSS and its offshoots – which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party – began promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.
Mr Prakash said the drink was made mainly of cow urine, mixed with a few medicinal and ayurvedic herbs.
He said it would be “cheap”, but declined to give further details about its price or ingredients until it was officially launched.
He insisted, however, that it would be able to compete with the American cola brands, even with their enormous advertising budgets
. “We’re going to give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind,” he said. “We may also think of exporting it.”