An Indian photographer is capturing women in cow masks as a form of protest against increasing cow vigilantism in the country.

These Indian women are wearing cow masks and they have a powerful message for you sujatroghosh/Instagram
Social Art Friday, June 30, 2017 - 17:39

A 23-year-old Indian photographer is clicking women wearing cow masks as a form of silent protest against the increasing cow vigilantism in the country vis-à-vis the poor condition of women's safety.

So there's a woman wearing a cow head mask on a boat, another playing a piano, one speaking on the phone, pointing to just one thing, the dire need to get priorities right.

"My art comes as a form of protest. In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security," (sic) Sujatro Ghosh writes on his Instagram account.

Growing up in Kolkata, Ghosh had a liberal upbringing and was not exposed to much religious polarisation.

Several incidents over the past few years, including the Dadri lynching, however drove him to not just act but also make himself heard in the process.

"Dadri was around two years ago. And such incidents are still happening. Whenever I pick up the paper, I read about once such incident. Whenever I go to sleep, I often wonder what will be in news the next morning," he tells The News Minute.

A couple of weeks ago Ghosh was in New York where he picked up a latex cow mask. On his return, he asked women in his close circle if they would be interested in posing for his series.

"Since it is a sensitive issue, I started by asking by asking my friends who believed in my cause," he says.

The few-weeks-old project has been striking the right chord with many and is already gathering quite some steam.

"Women from India, as well as abroad, have been writing to me expressing their interest in being a part of the project," he says.

There are also the occasional "Go to Pakistan, do this there and see how secular they are" comments, but Ghosh does not pay heed to those.

While it is a comment on the socio-political scenario in the country, the photographer does not want the attention to be diverted from the main issue, that is, women's safety. According to Ghosh, it is time to "rise beyond the jingoism" and focus on more important matters.

"This is the first time I am using my art to make a statement. But I do not have any political intentions," he says.

He goes on to ask, "We all live in big cities. Imagine what is the situation when we move to the interiors of the states?"

After the positive response his project has received, Ghosh has started an online crowdfunding campaign. He has shot in Delhi and Kolkata, but intends to take the project to other cities as well.

As he writes on his Instagram page, "... the cow will keep travelling".

All images courtesy: Sujatro Ghosh

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