The registration of Vedic Plaster an Indian organization under MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) took place in April 2018, but the idea hit Dr. Shiv Darshan Malik long ago in 2009.
Vedic Plaster is an organization which makes plaster for walls and floors without using the conventional method and components. The major breakthrough achieved by Vedic Plaster is replacing cement with Indian breed cow dung.
The formula for mixing cow dung and gypsum along with other natural ingredients proved beneficial for the production of plaster. The thermal insulating properties of cow dung plaster have a cooling effect in summers and keep houses warm in winters. Unlike cement plaster which makes homes warmer in summers and cooler in winters. Another great property is it acts as an air purifier and releases positive energy in the house.
The radiation shielding properties make it all the more favorable for the users by protecting them from harmful rays. The basic requirements of applying plaster on walls are minimal without over usage of water as required in another case. The cost-effective cow dung plaster which is way cheaper than the cement plaster is the reason for its success. Looking at the global issues like global warming, food security issues, unemployment, population and many more as listed by United Nations, the only option left is to go for sustainable natural resources.
The sustainable solutions offered by sustainable entrepreneurs one day will become the backbone of the entire globe. The depleting role of biodiversity encompassing varied species of animals, plants, humans etc. need to be highlighted again in order to look for further sustainable solutions.
The regular involvement in the household chores due to the illness of his mother and absence of other female members ignited interest for Dr. Shiv Darshan Malik in the ingredients used on a regular basis at home.
The significant impact on his mind was left by the common practice which used to take place in his village. The small Madina village located in Rohtak district of Haryana where he resided use to apply the paste of Indian breed cow dung mixed with regular sand on their walls.
Traditionally this practice was prevalent all over the country until cement plaster came into the picture. His passion for profoundly studying the chemical properties of natural resources like Dakar sand, cow dung, the composition of spices used in the kitchen, traditional ancient products used by Indian saints, etc. enhanced further his curiosity level. Eventually, he ended up doing a doctorate in chemistry.
But the unmatchable properties of cow dung always existed in the back of his mind. He took the career of teaching in Murthal and assisted a lot of IITs (Indian Institutes of Information and Technology) as a consultant. The projects of World Bank gave him more extensive exposure and opportunity to travel worldwide. During this period he observed mud houses and the usage of rice straws in making homes in European villages. His interaction with villagers revealed how major inspiration comes from Indian communities. That encounter firmed his belief of going back to the roots and going back to his village.
Back home he started experimenting his ideas. The ideas have moved beyond the boundaries of his lab to his house. As an enthusiastic researcher, he came up with the formula of making cow dung plaster and shared with concerned authorities of ministry. But his file has not received the proper attention that was necessarily required to uplift the project as expected.
The fight against the system made him take up the charge of the project and awaken his existing latent entrepreneurial spirit. The practical and groundwork has started taking off in the year 2012. He began experimenting cyclically year by year, season by season. The results were unfolding in front of him and giving more confidence to his dreams. Meanwhile, the atmosphere of cow protection has started taking a toll on the country where the cow is at the status of a mother called as "Gomata." His ideology of protecting the cow was by linking it with its utility. The higher the use, the more would be the demand.
Simple logic was drawn by him. In 2018 his Vedic plaster has hit off the market with an overwhelming response but the journey of sustainable entrepreneur has started way before the time.
Initially, the workplace of 835sq yards was identified in Rohtak (Haryana) followed by a bigger manufacturing plant in Bikaner (Rajasthan). Both the places are readied with all the manufacturing, packaging, storing and supplying facilities. Today, 15 to 20 tonnes of per day production is happening. Both the plants are self-financed by friends and relatives. No capital is borrowed from banks instead it is heavily dependent on angel investors. The arrangement of cow dung was done by taking it directly from cow shelters (goshalas) and giving them the price way higher than the market price. The ideology behind price rise is to attach greater importance to its existence in the society. The gypsum sand purchased from the land of abundance - Rajasthan. The lemon extract and Guar gum are majorly taken from Rajasthan. Initially, the project started at a small scale but a rise in demand has forced them to operate on a larger scale. All the key ingredients are refined minutely and then mixed in a certain proportion to get exact results. The enthusiastic team of 40 members working day and night in order to give sustainable solutions to the society considering the gravity of bio-diversity. Today, the product is distributed all over the country excluding the disturbed state of Jammu & Kashmir. Different modes particularly social mediums like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter are used to advertise and market the product. Word of mouth has increased the sales tremendously. The vision of protecting cows and improving their utility by making sustainable products has doubled the energy of people working in this venture.
Vedic plaster production uses minimal electricity only for grinding purpose compared to cement plaster. All the factors of production are natural resources no chemicals are mixed by making its eco-friendly product. The essence of this product lies in the properties offered by cow dung. The unmatchable properties like a natural air purifier, thermal insulator creating a temperature difference of 10-15 degrees, pollution control measure, radiation proof quality, etc. all difficult to find in other resources. The 20-22% of cow dung in an entire mixture contributes immensely to the plaster production. Hence, making it valuable both socially and economically. Other benefits like good for health, the decline in water consumption, reduces dampness, the source of positive energy, indirectly increasing the utility of cows, raising economic value of cows, protection against harmful insects, etc. increases the value proposition of the product. The other components like gypsum, guar gum, lemons are witnessing an increase in demand due to industrial use. The most significant benefits, in this case, are farmers who are never seeing before like demand for guar gum (Cluster beans). The additional property of plaster is that the coat of Vedic plaster is sufficed to decorate the house no further use of paint is required. The cement plaster involves four stages starting with plasterings, wall protection putty, wall smother, i.e., primer and then paint. But Vedic plaster needs only one coat of plaster on walls. To add color natural ingredients and fruits and vegetable extracts are used. Economically, the difference of Rs. 13 can be noted to apply plaster on 1 square foot area. The results are incomparable because of the harmful effects of cement challenging to overlook. The lack of alternativeness of cement plaster and paints has left people to compromise with their health. But with the stepping of Vedic plaster in the market offering incredible benefits can completely change the outlook of the people towards the plaster and paint industry. The socio-economic impact and inclusion of bio-diversity result in sustainable solutions. The sustainable solutions are a future-ready solution of problems offered by sustainable entrepreneurs. Therefore, the innovation of Dr. Shiv Darshan Malik is one big solution to the global issues like climatic change – global warming, food insecurity, environmental problems, health issues, etc.
The saddest barrier or obstacle posed by the mindset of the people towards cow dung. The usage of cow dung in a product for them is not up to their standard. The humongous challenge was to change the thinking toward cows. Next, lack of institutional support from concerned authorities placed in ministry. The time spent in gaining the trademark for the product. Until then the fear and uncertain climate have occurred overall. The more significant challenge was to carve a niche for the product. Convincing distributors, training team members on how to develop skill sets of labors – the vital link in this process showed expected challenges. Generating awareness and building trust towards the product once again made the path trying to tread. Though, the way was challenging but not impossible to achieve because eventually, the sustainability criteria played for the product. To operate at a large scale and meeting consumer demand on time was challenging initially but now lessons are learned through experience.
The target is to apply the product on the walls of hospitals, mental asylums and other places where people get treatment, so that, they can get the real benefits of the cow dung properties. The product should be globally launched in order to curb pollution and reduce global issue. The other economies can make most out of these innovations. Further experiments are to be conducted in this direction for meeting problems with sustainable solutions.