While returning from my morning walk, I thought I must get my haircut and entered a saloon. It is good that in Noida, some shops are open even at that early hour. But still I had to wait. I grumbled but I did wait. And the experience was not bad as I could learn some lessons in social engineering.
I started the dialogue with the young entrepreneur who owns the shop and came in after cleaning his plastic chairs. “How are normally the boys get trained in this skill of hairdressing?” “Are there any vocational school?” “Are they from the caste that traditionally was in haircutting?”
I was amazed when he said there is one place in New Delhi where the boys are trained in the skill. As I remember, the center is named after one Habib. There is lot of reputation of that training center. I strongly feel hairdressing must be a part of vocational skills, as it provides a lot of well paying and respectable employment. I always keep on remembering Sotelal who really served me in my HM days and Lakshman who used to provide comfort in our village.
The owner further confirmed that the boys from other castes are not coming to this profession. But surprisingly, the young women of even higher castes, rather all castes, are working as lady hairdresser in parlours. I myself know many. Are not our young ladies bringing a social engineering based revolution to get themselves liberated and independent? I remember, Mansa, Yamuna’s niece at one time wanted to learn hairdressing and wanted to open a ladies parlour. But the elderly lady of the family threatened that she would not come to her place if she went for that profession. Bad luck Mansa! Things have changed now.
However, I was shocked when the owner said, “Sir, but you will not find our ladies, even the educated ones starting a parlour. Our community does not like it.” I got reminded of the good old days, the ladies from the families of the daily or contract labourers of the village were the only doing the transplantation during the paddy cultivation. Nowadays, it is a male domain and is done by outsiders on contract. Employment has gone outside the village. How do you crate the job opportunities in the village itself?
I recently came across a story and that too from Bihar. Some of the religious places are now having Dalit priests. And is it not great that the people are accepting it?
I do also remember how my grandfather wished to bring my uncles in business. He started with milk business, followed by a hotel in Sasaram. Lastly, he started a mill- rice and flourmill in the village for my youngest uncle. My uncle started enthusiastically, but it again failed. Surprisingly they kept on blaming their failure for the caste they were born in. I wonder I could have told them that the best of the businessmen in South are Brahmins and not Vaishyas. However, things are changing fast. The need to survive is making one go in all the nontraditional professions.
I wish Sankracharyas, Viswa Hindu Parishad and the orthodox Hindu organizations could d have come out with a fatwa against the practicing of caste discriminations of all sorts. If anyone wishes to call himself a real Hindu, he must help in getting this malaise of the community burnt forever.
And then I look at Yamuna for some additional material on the topic. She points her finger towards the kitchen. Do we know what are the castes of the maids that Yamuna is to employ so often for cooking? Why should we know that? She must just be cool help.