Published: 05th March 2019
K'taka parents promise God never to cut or wash their 16-year-old's hair, son begs CWC officials to get him a snip
Two days ago, the officials from the child welfare committee visited the village for a legal awareness programme called 'Kanoonu Sakshsrata Ratha'.
It was nothing less than a life-changing moment for this 16-year-old from Gadag, when he could finally let go of his hair that has grown for over two years, as a vow to a Goddess. As per the vow that his parents had taken, he was not supposed to bathe his head or let a drop of water touch his hair. The blind belief is practiced in many parts of North Karnataka despite several laws existing against it. The practice is called 'devara jade' which literally means God's Plait.
Two days ago, the officials from the child welfare committee visited the village for a legal awareness programme called 'Kanoonu Sakshsrata Ratha'. After the function, the boy appealed the officials to convince his parents as he was being outcasted in the society as well as in his school. It was not easy for the officials to convince the parents though they had assured the boy who is studying SSLC that his long hair will soon be removed.
The parents put a condition that the cutting of hair has to be done in a temple in Belagavi district where they had taken the vow. The boy was taken to Goddess Renukadevi Temple in Saundatti where his hair was taken off. 'The boy is happy and now can concentrate on writing his exams. He was feeling bad all these months as his friends had started avoiding him," said an official from the Child Welfare Committee.
The boy, requesting anonymity, explained his feelings to the officials during the legal camp after which steps were taken to rectify it. "But we request people in Gadag, Dharwad and Belagavi districts to shun practices that are unscientific and cause harm to the individual, especially the children," the official said.
"It was a bold move from the boy," said a villager. "He was getting irritated by the heavy hair on his head and he was not ready to follow superstitious beliefs. We had not expected that the boy would dare to ask officials. We are happy about it," he added.
Malleshappa Sudi, a social activist from Gadag said that there still many parents who ask their children to have long hair for the welfare of their family. "There are even elders who leave long hair in the name of gods and goddesses. The government has initiated some awareness programmes and these types of incidents have considerably reduced now. However, awareness is still needed," he said.