PUNE: Continuing its tirade against superstitious practices, the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) rescued three women on Friday from superstition-related to entangled or matted hair.
“PSI Shivaji Bhosale of Khadki police was patrolling in the PMC Colony area when he saw a woman, Lata Khadekar, with a large mass of matted hair. After convincing her, he contacted me and asked me to talk to her. She had had the entangled hair for more than 15 years,” said Nandini Jadhav of MANS.
“I told her how the matted hair occurs and gave her examples of 45 women I personally rescued from this occurrence. She took her time but then got the entangled hair cut on her own,” said Jadhav, adding, “The lock was 7 to 8 kg. She couldn’t move her head or hands. Now she feels relieved and more capable. She asked us to counsel two other women in her area, who also have the matted hair.”
Jadhav counselled those women too. One of them, Asha Shinde, developed matted hair a year ago. After the counselling, Jadhav cut off the matted hair in Shinde’s hair immediately, fearing she might change her mind if delayed.
The other woman, Shanta Bhise, was reluctant to cut the matted hair in the beginning, but looking at the other two women, she followed suit.
“In the 45 cases that I came across, one woman was a software engineer, another a bank manager’s wife. Even upper class women suffer from these issues,” said Jadhav, adding, “A 16-year-old girl who helped her mother make papads got some flour stuck in her hair. As it was near the nape of her neck, it did not wash off and she developed matted hair. Her parents took her to a godman, who asked her parents to apply a potion. He told them if the potion doesn’t work, the girl should be sent as a devdasi. The potion was nothing but banyan tree sap, which created even more matted hair. We rescued that girl, but this is how these superstitions are used to exploit these women.”
Nandini Jadhav of MANS said this superstition is unfounded and makes the women suffer a stigma for no reason. “Basic hygiene and care of hair is enough to avoid development of matted hair. But sometimes, due to some conditions, matted hair might develop. If not for this superstition, this can be taken care of easily,” Jadhav said.