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Women wearing cow masks in this photography project is a powerful message to government

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Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram

A photography project that shows Indian women in cow masks has gone viral and lead to abuses and threats for its 23-year-old photographer Sujatro Ghosh. The project highlights two pressing social issues – rising crimes against women in India and the increasing cow vigilantism by Hindu far-right groups.

Just on the basis of a mere rumor that a cow is being transported for slaughter, or beef is stored in a refrigerator, mobs beat, thrash and kill the person with impunity. The action is swift and immediate, and without any fear. And a significant section does apologia for the grave crime. In striking contrast, we see victim blaming in the cases of sexual violence and callous downplaying of the victim’s trauma. And the inability of both civil society and the law enforcement.

The question is rhetorical but the photo project asks it – Are cows safer than women in India.?

Cow vigilante groups and their supporters clamor for the death penalty on cow slaughter, while there is no outrage to make laws more stringent in the case of crimes against women.

The irony is not lost when the government totally has misplaced priorities and considers bovine protection more important than ensuring gender justice and safety of women. There were more than 35,000 reported rape cases in India in 2016. A large number of cases go unreported.

My art comes as a form of protest. In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security. (Reference: Majority of Hindus believe cow as their holy animal and they worship it though Majority of Muslims consume it as a part of their daily meal.) The debate is never ending "Whether to consume or worship it" but gaining political benefits out of it is wrong. Why not let the people decide what they want to consume. I will be photographing women from different parts of the society. I would be more than happy if you reach out to me and want to get photographed or maybe join this form of protest. #RisingBeyondJingoism #travel #cow #women #protest #womenpower #trains #indiarising #workingwomen #thecowmaskproject #animals @instagram #love #laugh #mortality #standup #everydayeverywhere #indiaphotoproject #everydayindia #womenphotographers #myfeatureshoot

A post shared by Sujatro Ghosh (@sujatroghosh) on

My art comes as a form of protest. In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security. (Reference: Majority of Hindus believe cow as their holy animal and they worship it though Majority of Muslims consume it as a part of their daily meal.) The debate is never ending "Whether to consume or worship it" but gaining political benefits out of it is wrong. Why not let the people decide what they want to consume. I will be photographing women from different parts of the society. I would be more than happy if you reach out to me and want to get photographed or maybe join this form of protest. #RisingBeyondJingoism #maternal #cow #women #protest #womenpower #weekend #indiarising #workingwomen #thecowmaskproject #animals @instagram #love #laugh #mortality #standup #everydayeverywhere #indiaphotoproject #everydayindia #womenphotographers #myfeatureshoot

A post shared by Sujatro Ghosh (@sujatroghosh) on

My art comes as a form of protest. In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security. (Reference: Majority of Hindus believe cow as their holy animal and they worship it though Majority of Muslims consume it as a part of their daily meal.) The debate is never ending "Whether to consume or worship it" but gaining political benefits out of it is wrong. Why not let the people decide what they want to consume. I will be photographing women from different parts of the society. I would be more than happy if you reach out to me and want to get photographed or maybe join this form of protest. Nicole says : "At least if I walk down the streets in a cow mask, my chances of being harassed will probably be slim. No one wants to harass anyone who looks like a deity or a representative of a deity." #RisingBeyondJingoism #classroom #cow #women #protest #womenpower #politics #indiarising #studying #thecowmaskproject #animals @instagram #love #laugh #art #standup #everydayeverywhere #indiaphotoproject #everydayindia #womenphotographers #myfeatureshoot

A post shared by Sujatro Ghosh (@sujatroghosh) on

My art comes as a form of protest. In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security. (Reference: Majority of Hindus believe cow as their holy animal and they worship it though Majority of Muslims consume it as a part of their daily meal.) The debate is never ending "Whether to consume or worship it" but gaining political benefits out of it is wrong. Why not let the people decide what they want to consume. I will be photographing women from different parts of the society. I would be more than happy if you reach out to me and want to get photographed or maybe join this form of protest. (Unable to disclose name for security reasons) says : "The mask instils a feeling of closure in the world of creepy gazes and lewd comments. This makes me feel empowered and safe. Empowered because I can raise my voice against these political miscreants and safe because it conceals my identity." #RisingBeyondJingoism #WHPstandout #bedroom #cow #women #protest #womenpower #politics #indiarising #phonecall #thecowmaskproject #animals #love #laugh #art #conversation #everydayeverywhere #indiaphotoproject #everydayindia #womenphotographers #myfeatureshoot

A post shared by Sujatro Ghosh (@sujatroghosh) on

My art comes as a form of protest. In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security. (Reference: Majority of Hindus believe cow as their holy animal and they worship it though Majority of Muslims consume it as a part of their daily meal.) The debate is never ending "Whether to consume or worship it" but gaining political benefits out of it is wrong. Why not let the people decide what they want to consume. I will be photographing women from different parts of the society. I would be more than happy if you reach out to me and want to get photographed or maybe join this form of protest. #RisingBeyondJingoism #misplacedpriorities #reflection #cow #women #protest #womenpower #smoke #indiarising #mirror #thecowmaskproject #animals #love #laugh #art #bedroom #everydayeverywhere #indiaphotoproject #everydayindia #womenphotographers #myfeatureshoot

A post shared by Sujatro Ghosh (@sujatroghosh) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVpaOUolUBh/?taken-by=sujatroghosh

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVxRKNwF6Lf/?taken-by=sujatroghosh

My art comes as a form of protest. In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security. (Reference: Majority of Hindus believe cow as their holy animal and they worship it though Majority of Muslims consume it as a part of their daily meal.) The debate is never ending "Whether to consume or worship it" but gaining political benefits out of it is wrong. Why not let the people decide what they want to consume. I will be photographing women from different parts of the society. This is silent form of protest which starts from India Gate, one of the most visited sights in India. I would be more than happy if you reach out to me and want to get photographed or maybe join this form of protest. #RisingBeyondJingoism #WHPstandout #indiagate #cow #women #protest #womenpower #weekend #indiarising #workingwomen #live #animals #love #laugh #thecowmaskproject #standup #everydayeverywhere #indiaphotoproject #everydayindia #womenphotographers #myfeatureshoot

A post shared by Sujatro Ghosh (@sujatroghosh) on

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