Women, you are truly better off seeking cow rights

Women, you are truly better off seeking cow rights

It’s most certainly true in India. Women across a large number of states in purportedly ‘the world’s largest democracy’ are more at risk and boast lesser access to justice than the nation’s cattle.

[Guest Article]

It’s certainly ironic, given that India stands as the penultimate exporter of beef in the world, churning out 1,900,000 tonnes of beef in 2018.

It’s a state of affairs to have a beef with, which began with the rise to power of the majoritarian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a right-wing political party that promised, amongst a host of unfulfilled promises, a clampdown on the slaughter of the cow, which is revered by upper-caste Hindus as a sacred mother. It’s the one pledge the party has fulfilled, with vitriol enough to spare for export.

Out of 29 states in India, 20 have outlawed the consumption (or even possession) of beef, the definition of ‘beef’ varying from state to state.

Legality of Slaughter in India. Photo: Wiki, Barthateslisa (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It is the prescribed legal punishment that is telling. In states like Haryana, a person accused of cow-slaughter stands liable to face up to ten years in prison and a fine of over 100 USD. The draconian anti-slaughter laws in other aforementioned states are no less reprehensible.

Assuming, of course, that the law gets to the accused first.

India has borne testimony to some of the most barbaric instances of lynching over beef. These extra-legal mob killings were instigated on mere suspicion of cow slaughter, and the number of such murders passed 100 a fair while ago.

Not only have the perpetrators of these heinous acts of savagery escaped the atrophied arm of Indian law, but they have also been promised the chance to contest elections. Cow vigilantes seem to hold even the authorities in thrall, with a cop in UP recently massacred by the very goons the police so often encouraged.

One man’s steak seems to be another sub-animal’s killing reason.

A man with a cow. Photo: Wiki, John Hill (CC BY-SA 3.0)

This part of the article discusses sexual violence which may be triggering to read/see for survivors. 

However, in contrast to the almost retributive cases of cow slaughter, not only does a large percentage of crimes against women go unreported, but the government and the police are complicit in denying even the illusion of justice to the victim.

Ranking as the most unsafe place for women in the world, India bears the unforgivable statistic of 106 rapes each day, of whom 4 out of 10 are minors. It’s also worth bearing in mind that India does not recognize marital rape as a crime.

A woman is raped in India every 20 minutes. A look at this page ought to elucidate how dire is the situation on this no-woman’s land.

Protestors in India. Photo: Wiki, Nilroy (Nilanjana Roy) (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The northern state Haryana, which boasts of the most outrageous punishment for cow slaughter, holds the worst reputation with regard to its mistreatment of women. The skewed sex ratio in Haryana (936 females: 1000 males) has lead to rampant trafficking of women. It’s a sex ratio resulting from (among other factors) the country’s lingering archaic preference for male children, the girl often seen as a liability rather than an equal to the boy. Though female infanticide and even sex determination were deemed illegal under Indian law in 1870 and 1994, respectively, there is little doubt the practice continues unabated in several rural and even urban areas. The state also occupies top spot in the country with regard to gangrapes.

The case of the Unnao rape incident, in which a legislator from the ruling BJP party (which seems more concerned for the well-being of cows) was accused of rape, is illustrative of this sub-human approach to justice. Not only was the accused not arrested or questioned, but the father of the victim died in judicial custody after the legislator’s goons assaulted him.

It’s hardly better in other states in the north.

The Kathua rape case is a study in mob depravity. Asifa, an eight-year old girl from the Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir, was raped over days by a gang and killed by asphyxiation.  

Asifa was found raped and murdered in the dress she was wearing in this picture.

Damning the moral depravity of the people in the area was the fact that a large number of people formed a rally to support the accused. The rally was supported by none other than two ministers from the ruling BJP party. All because the victim belonged to a religious nomadic minority.

Every shred of evidence so far belies the Indian government’s commitment to its “Beti Bachao, Beti padhao” program, which claims to “Save and educate the nation’s daughters”. The claim is hypocritical indeed, since the BJP seems to have an unmistakable preference for legislators with a proven history of crimes against women.

One wonders if the world needs to save its women from the BJP instead.

The Indian citizenry repeatedly exhibits a predisposition to elect sub-animals with scant regard for women.

Take, for instance, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, who heads the state government of India’s most populous state. Adityanath (born Ajay Singh Bisht) is known for statements that would make incels and proponents of MGTOW in the west rush to seek Indian citizenship. From claiming that women don’t need independence but need protection and men need to ‘channelise’ their ‘energies’, to his supporters’ inciting gatherings to rape dead Muslim women, Adityanath’s repugnant statements are perhaps only rivaled by his hate for the minorities.

India’s love affair with misogyny extends profoundly into faith too. Big surprise there.

Generating furore over the past few months is the case of the Sabrimala temple in Kerala for hindus, which discriminates against the allowance of women into the shrine. Despite the apex court’s ruling terming the non-allowance of women unconstitutional, the BJP and other parties have vociferously opposed the view of the court. One of the two women who defied so-called religious heads and entered the temple complex was assaulted and cast out by her own in-laws.

Kanakadurga; one of the women who entered the Sabrimala temple, who was cast out by her own in-laws. Photo: India Today

Kerala is God’s own country only as long as all the deities are male, it seems. Christian Bishop Franco Mulakkal still enjoys widespread support even after a nun accused him of repeated rape and assault at Kuravilangad convent between 2014 and 2016. The four nuns who protested against this travesty were served transfer notices and exposed to unrelenting harassment from his followers. Such is the perfidy of males in the constituency that the local legislator revoltingly referred to the victim as a prostitute.

One gets the impression even a Titan-sized confession box would fail to contain all the revelations of women’s anguish from the country, were they to be poured out.

The venom against women percolates into every community in the country, irrespective of their creed. Rampant amongst the Bohra community of Muslims in India is the hideous practice of female genital mutilation. Instead of deeming this clearly horrific act a crime, the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi, performed a U-turn on his earlier promise of outlawing the barbaric practice.

The misogynistic rhetoric seems to torrent into even the Indian armed forces.

Said the Chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat upon being asked the non-induction of women into the infantry, “…there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her” to “I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion. Can that lady officer be away from her duties for six months? Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus created..”

That soldiers could be conditioned or taught to treat women better never seems to occur to an individual of such an elevated rank.

Cows, on the other hand, seem to never need to even raise a hoof for their rights.

A Sadhu with a young calf. Photo: Wikipedia

The afore-mentioned Adityanath passed a diktat to ensure that all stray cows found a cosy nook in state-sponsored cow shelters.

Indeed, even children might be lesser citizens, as incidents of schools being turned into cow shelters (gaushalas) seem to spring to the fore.

One does wonder if the word ‘solution’ seems too optimistic with respect to this horrifying slew of crimes that plague the country.

Yet the inkling of an answer does come to mind…

The western world seems inundated with dialogue concerning the transition between genders. Rightly so, since transgenders comprise a population that is unforgivably vilified and ostracised for seeking a form truer to themselves. With regard to the needs of India, perhaps it’s high time we looked at transitioning humans to animals belonging to a different order of mammals as well.

Until some bright minds work out the mechanics of transforming bipedal primates to even-toed ungulate cattle, women who visit the country or those that live within it might consider trying on the only clothing that can grant them safety here: a realistic looking cow suit.

Written by Quirkus Maximus (pseudonym).
Editor: Pieke Roelofs

Illustration: Pieke Roelofs

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