Cow – a hot topic in today’s India, Mother to some people, platter for some others — from headlines to prime-time chatter, the cow debate is on fire right now. Amid all this a 24-year-old artist from Kolkata has grabbed cow by the horns and started an art project about women safety in India.
Sujatro Ghosh – an independent artist has started a photo series which shows women of different age groups going about their daily lives wearing a cow mask. “I cover women’s issues in my work. I have been following the cow protection debate and then the first thing that came across my mind was, ‘Why not women?’ That’s when I thought that I need to do something,” said Sujatro.
30 days, 40 women and three cities, the series broke through the clutter of news debates, reports and protest around the cow debate and went on to become a talking point in social circles, online and otherwise. It was irony of the fact that cattle are far more important and safer than women in India that led him to start the project. “Every 15 minutes, there’s a rape reported in the country. And vigilantes can go to protect the cow, why can’t we speak up for women?” asks the photographer.
Beginning his project at Delhi’s iconic India Gate, Jamia Millia Islamia alumnus has since then taken it to other cities as well, including Kolkata and Mumbai. Sujatro also received flak for his work. “among all the backlash I’ve got, I’ve also been told that I should be lynched.”
“It’s important for people to know that I started this project when I had no access to the media. It’s a social media project and all pictures have been taken on a mobile phone. This is something all of us are capable of doing today. We all have access to decent phones, so it’s really up to us to start a dialogue for change.” Sujatro concludes.