The son of the city of Calcutta, the Indian photographer, Sugatru Ghosh, who is fond of photographing nature and the simple in the streets, applies an idea that expresses the support for the Indian woman, who has more than her rights in India. Tourist teacher, as if these women want to say: If only we were in these cities, we were cows.
While Sogatro, through his project, which he is implementing, raises the following question: Are cows more important than women in this country?
The following is a review of the film produced by the island entitled “The Holy Cow”, which traces some incidents of violence against women in India, the lack of security and protection for them, and how cows enjoy more rights than them, the politicization of cow protection under the policy of the ruling right-wing party, and the tolerance of human bloodshed in Sane cows.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.456.2_en.html#goog_271197041play video
The photographer builds his environment
Sogatro says: I believe that photography should be concerned with the issues of our times.
Sogatro picked up his bag after wearing masks in the form of cows’ heads. Then he set out on his publicly funded campaign to meet one of the battered women, the “Bandana Nascar”, to tell her about his project in which he talks about violence against women and about the pictures he takes of them wearing cow masks.
His choice of cows was not specifically a random matter, but rather intended to harm some groups that demand protection for cows, and the matter sometimes reaches the point of killing humans under the pretext of protecting cows, wondering through his campaign: How can we go to this extent in protecting cows at a time when Crimes against women are committed in India every 15 minutes, so why not talk about the issue from this perspective?
Bandana Nascar says: I believe in what you say, because I saw it happen in reality, and these things happened to me as well, as my family will not rush or my neighbors offer me protection if something of that violence happened to me, but during Eid or in the month of Muharram, their sympathy for the cow becomes He has no limits, and their anger reaches its peak when the cows are slaughtered, but they show no interest in the lives of the women.
Fear veils convictions
Sogatru wanted to take a picture of Bandana wearing the mask since she believed in the idea and shared his convictions about the campaign, but she refused due to the political circumstances of those days, and because she is a woman who lives alone and has to walk the streets alone, so she refused to keep herself safe.
However, she accepted that Sogatro would take a picture of her in the car, wearing a cow’s head mask on the seat next to her.
Fear is not a matter of urgency to a bandana, as she lived with it for a period of time, as her family married her for eight and a half years from a man who beat her, imprisoned and violated her, and forbade food for him and his family, until her family, his brother and his brother’s wife asked him to stop his hand from her and be content with talking, so he agreed to that, pledging not to hit her Never, but that era only lasted one night, and he returned to its previous state the next morning and hit her until her eye swelled and her cheek fell into flesh, then he went out to have fun with his friends.
When she was tired and unable to bear it, she returned to her family, but her family refused to receive her because she is a married woman, and she had no refuge in her, and yet she refused to return to her home to live the rest of her life in that situation, and preferred to live as a strong, laboring woman, even if she was alone. Although her wages were low.Cows have more rights than women in India
Domestic abuse and imprisonment
A program manager at the Azad Foundation working in the field of women’s rights, “Dolon Ganguli”, says: When she first came Bandana, she came as a survivor of abuse, as she was a victim of domestic violence in her husband’s house, and she did not have any source of income, and from the beginning she had the conviction that she wanted to Do this up.
The Azad Foundation offers programs to rehabilitate women and support them in obtaining the basics of a decent life, work and earn money, and protect them from the violence that is practiced on them, as men in India lock women in their homes under the pretext that they do not know what is going on in the street, and are not suitable for outside life, And that the best for her is the necessity of her home.
Blame the victim
One night in 2012, a girl rode a bus after watching a movie with her friend, but she was gang-raped on the bus, which led to her death later from her wounds.
At the time, the matter sparked an outcry and outrage across the country, but some were blaming the victim, saying: She was wearing jeans, which is a strange dress, and this is unacceptable for a woman, and then a woman should not go out late at night.
Sogatro says: This incident changed me personally, as it made me think differently, as I started focusing more on women’s issues. I started this project in 2017 in Delhi, specifically in front of the tourist attraction “India Gate”, and I chose Delhi as a city because it is the capital. Patriotism for India, in addition to being the center of everything, and when I started filming I never thought about what my work could lead to, because I had taken the first pictures that evening, and then things started developing rapidly in a jiffy, and I started receiving requests. Of women who want to be part of the project.The idea is for women to wear cow masks that cover their heads and faces
The average person’s project
“The use of the mask was a double-edged sword in the project,” says Sogatro. “It allowed a large number of followers on the one hand, but on the other hand it terrified people.”
So Sogatro started the campaign then, which is a publicly funded campaign, which helped him to travel to all those places that he had drawn to in order to take pictures. He decided to take pictures with his mobile phone because he called the campaign a “common person project”, and the average person does not He can always provide a professional camera, while he can have a mobile phone.
Obviously, one of the reasons for this success was the use of a cell phone for photography, Sogatro says.
Gow rickshaws .. for the sake of the cows
The cow is a sacred animal according to the Hindu religion, and there are active groups to protect this sacred animal called “Gao Rakchaks”, and their only job is to protect the cow, so they go to that extreme to protect the cow, as they do not think twice about killing someone for it.
Sugatru says: This emotional state was caused by the new Indian government (the government of the extremist Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party) that took power in India in 2014, and so the issue was politicized in some way and dressed in religious character, and the current right-wing party was the driving party for that.The issue of cow reverence in India has been politicized in some way and dressed in religion
Maryam Khatun, who has six children, got married at the age of 18 to a man who had a car that would generate his income from which his family lived happily. One day, while he was preparing to visit his daughter and her husband, he went out to get some food around eight o’clock in the evening, but he never came back, as he was killed and his car burned on charges of transporting beef in it.
Although the pictures that were circulated show the car in one place and the meat in another place, as well as in the hands of a terrorist, a police club, its presence at the site of the accident raises many questions.
“This is Hindu extremism,” Sugatru says. Personally, I do not believe in this, and as a responsible Hindu, I have to stand up to any wrong behavior.
Actress and film producer “Prashansa Sharma” says: I saw the Sogatro project for the first time on Instagram, leaving the project to me because I am a woman I live in India, specifically in Mumbai, which is the safest place for women in India, yet I still feel that I am not safe, And that was the reason why I wrote Sogatro, because I think it’s really true, this cow that roams the street is more valuable than me.
Prachansa believes that movies have a role to play in explaining how men view women in India, because in Bollywood women are seen as something sexual like what was in the raids, as they are placed at the bottom of the ladder, or in a lower degree at best, and therefore you will not Women and men are never equal in Indian films, and if it happens, it is rare, and when the films are shown on the screen, everyone sees them, including children, and children are affected quickly and adopt perceptions of things easily, so the scenes of violence become the source of their thinking about how women are treated.Indian photographer Sugatru Ghosh created the idea for the cow mask
Prachansa, 26, was born in a small town called Jhomri Tilaya, which, according to Prachansa, is similar to Timbuktu, India. She grew up in that city in the bosom of vegan parents who pray all day to the cows.
Prachansa says: Sexual violence exists everywhere in India, and I was molested in my childhood when I was eight years old, and it caused me a great shame even though I did not make any mistake on my part, and then I closed my family since that day and never opened up to them. I felt like a part of me died that day.
Prachansa did not muster the courage to tell all her family the truth about what happened in that assault, nor did she tell the wife of the aggressor, but she hopes that she will have the courage to do so someday, or that one of her family members will watch this movie, because she really wants people to know about it.
Prachansa says: My parents made a great effort in raising me in the best possible way in this country. They were not able to provide me with a better education than they were before, nor were there better people who surrounded me, and this is what angers me about sexual violence a lot, if it can affect me A girl who is so protected like me, so what about those women who have no protector?
Between the woman and the cow
Prachansa Sharma says: What Sugatru does does not remove that sacred cow from the cow, it does not exclude the cow from being a sacred animal in India, but only asks questions about the status of women in this equation, so what about women, what about their protection, and what about the position of women in This community?
As for Umm Prachansa, she sees no connection between cows and women at all. People’s concern about cows and their protection for them does not deny that they are concerned about women and feel what is happening to them in terms of violence, which is not something in India alone but is general in all countries of the world even European countries. Her view is related to people’s minds only, and unless mentalities change, sexual violence will not stop.
Sogatro offered Prachansa’s mother to be part of the project in order to take a picture of her with her daughter wearing masks, but she apologized, saying: We can protest without linking these two issues, if we talk about the protection and security of women, there are other ways to protest.People’s concern for cows and their protection for them does not mean that they are worried about women
We’ll cut it into pieces!
“The threats started coming from here and there,” Sogatro says. “I started receiving threats via phone calls from some people who were calling me and my family as well, claiming they knew everything.
Sugarto’s father says: When the matter was reported in the local and international media, they called me and said, “He has gone too far. We will cut him into pieces. We will break his legs ..”; Such talk does not even amount to a threat nowadays, rather they put it even in some of the songs that were produced against it; Then they asked me: Are you not afraid of him?
So I said to them: Say this directly to my face.
They answered: Yes, we will come face to face.
In the fields are equal to women and cows
Sogatro says: Whenever I went to meet women from the city and the countryside, I found that their vision of the matter stemmed from two very different approaches. There are certain feelings that women express about the cow. If they are rural women, because of agriculture they consider the cow part of the family.
Sogatru visited Ram Sabha, who is married and a mother of three boys and a girl. She was previously raped by a farmer who worked for him. He came to her house at night sneaking under the cover of darkness, then threatened her with his knife if she resisted or screamed, but she did not give in and wound her With it, and she kept screaming until he was finished and flew him, then her husband threatened, saying: If you inform someone about this, I will obey you.
The next morning, Ram went to the police station to report the incident, but they refused to register the complaint and kept stalling, until she threatened to resort to higher authorities, so they started asking some vulgar questions, and they kept saying that this is a fabricated case.
Ram says: Cows are not safe these days, cows and women are in the same boat, so when the cow goes to another person’s field, the owner of that field hits her with the stick and throws stones at the poor cows, which might break her legs. When the woman goes to the field, the farmers look at her with glances Not innocent, then, as with cows, women are not safe.The cow is a sacred animal according to the Hindu religion
Jan Sahas worker “Asif Sheikh” says: The Jan Sahas Foundation focuses mainly on supporting victims of violence, and we provide our support to victims of rape and sexual violence. Our idea is mainly that if we can build the capacity of survivors and make them leaders, then that is a strong strategy. So when you see Ram Sabha, she is now a strong woman, a leader of victims of sexual violence, as she not only defended her personal cause, but also supported other victims in order to continue their struggle for justice.
The Jan Sahas non-governmental organization concerned with women’s rights and protection from violence adopted and defended Ram Sabha. She joined the organization and received a three-month course, and became an assistant in the general framework of the organization.
Ram says: I help women who try to hide what happened to them, and I tell them, “Do not hide what happened but,” and raise their resolve, and let them know that they have NGOs that support them.
“I think she really makes a difference in society, because she’s playing the role of attorney while she is barefoot,” Sugart says.
The rich man wins
Ram says: Everyone stood on the side of the accused, and they believed that I was an invalid woman. They came from outside the village while they were rich, and threatened my husband and his father, but my husband always supported me, saying: Continue what I started and do not back down. We lost our cause, and they bribed the people, they are the owners of farms, and as for us, what do we have? Since I lost the case, the organization has filed an appeal, and I am determined to continue to fight my case until the end.
One of the girls participating in the project says: I think it is important to start from home, and from the way we raise our children, both males and females, and this will have a strong impact on sexual violence.
Another says: “This discrimination can stop if men start to support women, and violence will stop as well.”
And a third says: I just want to be as safe as a cow in India, I think it is very confusing that a woman in India is someday as safe as livestock.