‘Bald, beautiful’ women of Assam tonsure their heads to protest against BJP
Guwahati, Sep 1: Apart from models, actors and those who visit religious places like the famous Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh, in India we hardly see women shaving their heads and going bald.
Women generally like to keep long hair as it is considered to be a matter of pride in the country. Those with long, black and silky hair are also revered a lot by certain sections.
However, three women in Assam on Friday decided to do something "shocking". In an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protest in Guwahati, the three women decided to shave off their long hair to make their voices heard.
The anti-BJP protest was hosted by Swadhin Nari Mancha, a newly formed women's group in Assam, at the famous protest site, Dighalipukhuri, in Guwahati. At least 100 women took part in the event, however, only three of them decided to tonsure their heads in full public view.
The three women-- Rekha Talukdar, Geeta Barua and Mousumi Prabhat Bora-- said that they decided to shave off their hair as they regretted voting for the BJP in the last Assam Assembly elections in 2016.
In the 2016 elections, the BJP defeated the Congress and managed to form its government for the first time in the northeastern state.
The women protesters added that it was a "mistake" to vote for the BJP as the saffron party took several steps that went against the "indigenous" people of the state. Moreover, they said that the BJP was going against its own poll promises.
"By shaving our heads, we wanted to signify that the government is dead here and we are guardian-less," said Mousumi.
"We made a great mistake by casting our vote for the BJP in last Assembly elections. The government is like our guardian. But in the last few months, the work and decisions of the BJP-led state government made us feel like orphan. So we shaved off our heads in protest," she added.
Mousumi's friend Rekha said that the BJP was repeating the same mistakes committed by the previous governments in the state. "I am a homemaker. I never joined any protest before. In the last election, we thought that the BJP would bring about change. Both the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Congress were already cheating us. So the BJP was our last hope. But it is repeating the same mistakes committed by the AGP and the Congress," added Rekha.
The women activists accused the Sarbananada Sonowal government for failing the people of the state during floods.
"Our Chief Minister is only busy in pleasing the high command in Delhi and has no time for the issues that affect the people at the grass root level. We hope that our protest at least pricks the conscience of the government," said one of the protesting women.
The protest led by Assam women reminded people of the Northeast region of the one in Manipur on July 15, 2004, when 12 elderly women staged a nude protest outside the Kangla Fort in Imphal, then occupied by the Assam Rifles, holding placards that read "Indian Army Rape Us".
The protest was against the rape and murder of 32-year-old Thangjam Manorama by the 17th Assam Rifles.