Earlier this month, during his visit to New York, he purchased a cow mask from a party shop and thus began a project that took the internet by storm.
Delhi-based photographer Sujatro Ghosh found a novel way to make a “political” topic talk of the town again. India is often in the news for crimes against women and, according to government statistics, a rape is reported every 15 minutes yet we pretend to have a bigger fish to fry. Pointing out this hypocrisy, he started a photo series in which women are donning the cow mask to make a point of how cows are much more important than women.
In an interview with the BBC he told, “I am perturbed by the fact that in my country, cows are considered more important than a woman, that it takes much longer for a woman who is raped or assaulted to get justice than for a cow which many Hindus consider a sacred animal, I've been concerned over the Dadri lynching [when a Muslim man was killed by a Hindu mob over rumours that he consumed and stored beef] and other similar religious attacks on Muslims by cow vigilantes."
Ghosh realised what consequences follow the mix of religion and politics. Thus he decided to start this photo series as a silent protest.
He started with the iconic India Gate and went up to Hoogly river, Kolkata. He also went from public places like trains, stations, roads to personal spaces like a bedroom to show how women are vulnerable in many places.
His models have so far been friends and acquaintances because, he says, "it's such a sensitive topic, it would have been difficult to approach strangers".
But if only his efforts were appreciated by all!
While people were all praises for his work at the beginning he had to face the backlash later. "Some wrote comments threatening me. On Twitter people started trolling me, some said I, along with my models, should be taken to Delhi's Jama Masjid [mosque] and slaughtered, and that our meat should be fed to a woman journalist and a woman writer, the nationalists despise. They said they wanted to see my mother weep over my body.Some people also contacted the Delhi police accusing me of trying to instigate riots and asking them to arrest me".
But he has an appropriate answer for all the love and hate:
"I'm not afraid because I'm working for the greater good," he says.
The cows and his efforts must keep traveling!
title image source: indiasamvad