‘Matted hair isn’t sign of godliness’

Chaitraly Deshmukh

Despite living in twentieth century, we still fall pray to superstitions. Here is an example, where parents of a 16-year-old-girl wanted to surrender their girl to a temple, after she developed numerous tangles in her hair after accidentally rubbing the dough against it. However, thanks to volunteers of Maharashtra Andhrashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS), the parents were convinced to untangle her hair.
Mitali (16) (name change to protect identity), is a school drop-out and is staying with her parents and a younger brother at Gokhale Nagar on Senapati Bapat road at Pune. For the last few days, she was being treated as god-woman. Just then, MANS volunteers came to her rescue. Milind Deshmukh state co-ordinator of MANS said, “This is a second such incident in three months. In earlier incident, a wife of a bank manager who had matted hair was being treated as god-woman and she was also helped by MANS. Now we came across this incident.”
The tangles were noticed by her paternal aunt, who then proclaimed her to be a god-woman. The family had organised a function and had called 16 married women for lunch and also paid for various religious trips. The parents had plan to surrender her to a temple of a godness claiming that she is a god-woman.
Speaking to DNA, Mitali recalls, “After my paternal aunt noticed my matted hair, she started calling me a god-woman. I was not aware about it. My parent also started following her belief. Initially I liked the fact that every one calling me a god-woman, but later my parents started putting several instruction on me, like preventing me from combing hair, not allowing me to eat non-veg food, not to sleep during the day. Later my friends had also stopped playing with me. Due to all this, I dropped out from school and started making Papad at home.”
However, the situation changed, when her teacher Priya Nighojkar approached Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) secretary Nandini Jadhav and Shriram Lalwani, who then approached her parents. After counseling, they were convinced to untangle her hair.
“On Friday, we cut a piece of hair and put it in water. The parents noticed that it was dough from the papad that she used to make. She had the habit of touching her hair with her fingers, due to which they were getting tangled,” MANS members said

Courtesy: DNA