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Cow Protection Discourse: Categories and National Identity


Cow Protection Discourse: Categories and National Identity

de Souza, Ana (2019) Cow Protection Discourse: Categories and National Identity. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Cow Protection Discourse: Categories and National Identity
Ana de Souza

This thesis focuses on contemporary cow protection discourse that Hindu nationalist (Hindutva) groups produce. In an Indian context, the phrase ‘cow protection’ broadly refers to social, political, and religious movements concerned with promoting the welfare of cows and their progeny. These movements seek to enshrine the value of both actual cows and the cow as a symbol through laws, governmental bodies, social movements educating the public about cow products and welfare, and religious movements promoting cow-related rituals and the spiritual importance of cows. Hindu nationalist groups have been invested in the cow protection movement from their origins and commonly include it in their discourse.
This thesis proposes three categories of cow protection discourse based on the the kinds of evidence each uses: environmental, social, and religious arguments. Despite the substantial difference between the categories, these arguments are often mixed together to provide broad support for cow protection. As cow protection is an essential characteristic of so many different aspects of Hindu society, concern for cow welfare becomes an integral aspect of Hindutva formulations national identity. Four specific cases will demonstrate the categories, the pattern of mixing, and its effect for national identity. A test for the concepts of Hindutva, based on Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? by V.D. Savarkar, will be applied to each case, indicating their participation in formulating national identity. This thesis will classify the cow protection discourse that has recently become more visible and impactful within the Indian public sphere and provide an analytical map for further study.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:de Souza, Ana
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History and Philosophy of Religion
Date:9 April 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):Orr, Leslie
ID Code:985260
Deposited By: Ana de Souza
Deposited On:17 Jun 2019 18:36
Last Modified:17 Jun 2019 18:36
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