Marathwada’s Beed district has a skewed sex ratio and female foeticide has been an issue of major concern there. Kumbhephal is a village in Beed infamous for illegal sex determination tests and female foeticides. 29-year-old Ashok Pawar is a resident of Kumbhephal and wants people to change their perspective towards the birth of girls. He rightly believes that change should come from within and is making his own efforts for a greater cause.
Ashok Pawar’s life as a barber
Ashok Pawar is the owner of Ishvari Gents Parlor in his village. He has a 1-year-old daughter named Shravani. He believes that Shravani is very lucky for him since it was after her birth that he got money to buy his own shop. Before her birth, Pawar was working as a helper at somebody else’s hairdresser shop for 6 years. Pawar only earns enough to feed his family. He does not have money to buy a bike and has to travel 3km one way from his home to shop daily.
Pawar’s beautiful gesture
On his daughter’s birthday on 1st January, Pawar decided to do his bit for the girl child. He started an offer that any man blessed with a daughter can get free shave and haircut done from his shop. This will be valid till after 6 months of the girl’s birth. Not only this, he will also tonsure the baby girls, as is customary for free when they turn one.
He has a matchbox sized salon and finds it difficult to make both ends meet. He has hung a board outside his shop proudly announcing his scheme and has already given this free service to 15 men of the village. After knowing about his special act, men from nearby villages are also coming to him to avail his services.
The change that he wants to bring about
He feels that people do not want a girl child because they are afraid of the upcoming expenses. In such a situation, he wants to shoulder some of their expenses so that people can warmly welcome their girl child. He has named his shop after his niece’s name. People of his village believe that he is rightly taking the Beti Bachao campaign forward.