Eleven-year-old Raju wants to be a veterinary doctor, because in every cow he sees his Gaura maan, the cow his father Gopala has reared. When he sees any cow limping/bleeding, he feels that it is Gaura maan who is hurt, so he aspires to treat them all. Alas, the good work has to begin early and at home.
When Gaura maan begins to yield less milk, Gopala maltreats her - no feed, no vaccines. Gaura maan’s condition worsens when she feeds herself from stinking garbage bins. Raju discusses her plight with his friend Qasim and decides to transport her to a cowshed. But that’s easier said than done.
Gopala doesn’t allow this transport, Qasim can’t help him being Qasim, Gaura maan refuses to leave him and he himself gets cold feet realising that separation from his Gaura maan is imminent!
The story is underpinned by Sandeep Kumar Rana’s preoccupation with the themes of empathy for all and interfaith harmony.
Eminent theater teacher Barry John is all praise for The Hungry Cow and says that “It's a relief to enter a world that is not full of rape, murder, drugs, and violence. The central issues around the cow as a mother but also as a neglected, abused and starved symbol of animosity between the two main communities are real, contemporary and serious.”
This book makes a great gift for Young Adult readers who couldn't put down The Jungle Book and/or Malgudi Days.