A comic book by a French journalist and author William de Tamaris has used the crackdown on beef and violence of cow vigilantes to highlight the dangers of Hindutva and the rise of Hindu nationalism in India. The 30-page comic book introduces French readers the concepts of Hindutva and the propaganda for a Hindu nation.
“Here I was, supposedly, in the land of tolerance but the hate in the discourse of so-called gau rakshaks was shocking,” the journalist de Tamaris told the Scroll. “In France, people still believe India is the land of Gandhi but that no longer holds true,” he explained the reason behind the comic.
“We were inspired to do the story after I met Vijaykant Chauhan, who calls himself a gau rakshak,” de Tamaris added.
According to Scroll, the French journalists interacted with Muslims of the Qureshi community of Maharashtra, who have traditionally been involved in butchery. They found that the beef ban has devastated their lives, many have lost their livelihoods and live in constant fear.
With the BJP ruling the country, the holy cow is dividing the society, the comic reads.
Scroll reports that following the release of the book, French mainstream media began to speak of genocide and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the same breath, while referring to the 2002 Gujarat riots. One of the radio discussion said this brand of politics and the “extreme discourse” was bringing “instability” to India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France in June and held talks with the newly elected President, Emmanuel Macron. This was Modi’s third visit to France since he was elected as prime minister in 2014.
Attacks on minorities and Dalits across the country in the name of cow protection have seen a spike ever since Narendra Modi sworn in as Prime Minister in 2014. The kind of incidents also witnessed an unprecedented increase after the recent saffron surge in Uttar Pradesh.