Holy Cow?

We may work as hard, and provide the same services to mankind, but we rate much lower in the social order

5/8/2017 1:12:47 PM
written By : Shobhaa De Print

Go on... call me a “cow”. I’ll accept that as a compliment. Seriously. Millions of women across India are happy to be compared to cows these days — if that makes even the slightest difference to their miserable lives. Indian cows enjoy privileges women certainly don’t. We may work as hard, and provide the same services to mankind, but we rate much lower in the social order. As our former Prezzie A P J Abdul Kalam had once reminded us rather sadly, women’s lives are worth less than the price of a bicycle. So many of us will get traded for much less. Sigh... as the summer heat fries our brains, it is time to chew the cud, lie down under the shade of a neem tree, and ruminate... as our more fortunate four-legged soulmates have been doing for centuries.

I love and adore cows. My one fervent wish is to keep a few at the farmhouse. This small wish has not been granted by the family so far. Perhaps they believe one cow in the family is enough. I often feed temple cows. Not because I think they will ensure my prayers will be answered, but because I like to watch their mouths moving efficiently while chomping on fresh, green delicate and juicy grass. I wish someone would feed me with as much love. Last week, more than ever, I was gripped by acute cow envy. As were countless other women. We feverishly exchanged messages and texts, pointing out the obvious — we are a severely discriminated lot. We don’t stand a chance. We can be raped, brutalised, molested, kidnapped, murdered, maimed, abused, tortured, starved, traded... but not many folks will care or intervene to save us. Try that with a cow and see what happens! Noose happens. On paper, all these acts of emotional debasement and physical atrocities women endure are brushed aside by society as “things that happen to women”. The State may or may not take cognisance of such blatant crimes against humanity. On paper, one more nasty statistic may or may not be recorded. And yes, we will be ordered to shut up and put up. Because we may be called cows, but we aren’t holy. We are the defiled cows, worth nothing. Easily replaceable, at that. One of us dies, gets killed, and there will be a thousand more in line to take our place.

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