Dr Priya Chacko1, Dr Yamini Narayanan2
1University Of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia, 2Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
In May 2019, shortly after being re-elected, the Modi government in India created a new Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, and announced that growth in livestock and dairy production was to be a key driver in the creation of a $5 trillion economy by 2024. This paper argues that this policy agenda marks a new phase in the Modi government’s political project of ‘marketised Hindutva’. This project melds Hindu nationalist and neoliberal politics, placing the burden of producing economic growth on the weakest members of society – poor, lower middle and lower caste women and male and female youth through the promotion of policies encouraging entrepreneurship and financialisation – in the name of serving the Hindu nation. It is argued that the new emphasis on animal husbandry serves this project in two ways. First, the promotion of animal husbandry extends the burden of producing economic growth to bovines – native Indian-bred cows, crossbred/Jersey cows and buffalo – whose varied treatment is shaped by a gendered, classed and ‘casteised speciesism’ that originates in Hindu scriptures and reflects caste-based human hierarchies. Second, through the promotion of education and welfare schemes for ‘cow entrepreneurship’, particularly to women and youth, the government reproduces this speciesism, while transforming it to serve the contemporary project of marketised Hindutva.
Priya Chacko is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Adelaide
Yamini Narayanan is Senior Lecturer in International and Community Development at the University of Adelaide