Cow Entrepreneurship for a ‘Strong and New India’: Marketised Hindutva meets Casteised Speciesism

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


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria

© 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd