Why are women wearing cow masks in public spaces? It’s part of an Instagram project | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Why are women wearing cow masks in public spaces? It’s part of an Instagram project

As part of an ongoing series, photographer Sujatro Ghosh is shooting women wearing cow masks near city landmarks and public places to highlight the lack of importance given to their safety

art and culture Updated: Jul 04, 2017 14:41 IST
An image from Sujatro Ghosh’s series.
An image from Sujatro Ghosh’s series.(Photo courtesy: Sujatro Ghosh)

A woman sits on a classroom bench in Kolkata writing on a sheet of paper, a middle-aged woman with a bag full of purchases stands next to a butcher’s shop, a young woman poses in front of India Gate in New Delhi… What strikes you as a bit weird is that the women are all wearing cow masks.

These images are part of Delhi-based photographer Sujatro Ghosh’s (23) ongoing Instagram series where he highlights how women’s safety is secondary to topics like cow vigilantism, lynching and people’s eating habits. “We are living at a time when cows are protected but women are not. Issues pertaining to women’s rights are suppressed while everyone is focussing on political concerns. What’s happening to our country?” questions Ghosh.

Ghosh wanted to showcase how women are not safe in public spaces. (Photo courtesy: Sujatro Ghosh)

While Ghosh’ images feature women wearing a cow mask (picked up in New York during one of his trips), he is quick to clarify that his series is ‘secular’ and not a critique on the political scenario in the country. “This is a deep-rooted issue; the problem of women’s safety has always been there. The photos were shot at different spaces (trains, at home, in the market, at tourist spots) to show how they are not safe anywhere,” says Ghosh.

During the shoot, Ghosh recalls, there were curious glances from people, but no one came up to ask what he was doing. Once the images were uploaded, however, he started receiving death threats. But Ghosh chooses to remain unfazed. “I don’t take them seriously. This project is for the greater good,” he says.

A post shared by Sujatro Ghosh (@sujatroghosh) on

Ghosh funded the project from his savings but is now looking to crowdfund his journeys. So far, he has shot in Delhi and his hometown of Kolkata. Next up, Ghosh want to travel and shoot in Mumbai and Bengaluru, and in states of the North East and Kerala.

Along the way he hopes to gain new insights on the project. After all, it was thanks to his move from Kolkata to Delhi that he got the idea for the project. “When I lived in Kolkata, I ate everything edible and didn’t understand what the fuss about eating habits was about. Once I moved to Delhi, I was able to meet different kinds of people and put things in perspective. Each city has its own characteristic and that’s why the project must be taken to different cities,” says Ghosh.

To view all the images, check out instagram.com/sujatroghosh

You can contribute to Ghosh’s crowdfunding campaign on bitgiving.com/cowmask

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