A woman from Tamil Nadu, who was widowed shortly after marriage, disguised herself as a man for more than 30 years to singlehandedly raise her daughter.
This is the story of how Petchiammal, of Toothukoodi district, became 'Muthu Master'. According to reports, Petchiammal was just 20-years-old when she lost her husband to a heart attack just 15 days after their wedding. She had by then conceived and after giving birth, she started working.
However, it was not easy going as Petchiammal faced sexual harrassment in a patriarchal society, and it was then she started to change her disguise to a man.
She cropped her hair short, swapped her saree to men's shirt and 'lungi' and changed her name to 'Muthu' - a disguise that lasted for almost 36 years. She shunned the idea of remarrying as she wanted to live independently.
'Muthu' then took up a range of odd jobs, ranging from a painter, a tea master and to parotta maker, and was renowned in the area as 'Muthu Master'. The disguise became so real that she even changed her name to Muthu in her official documents, including her Aaadhar card (identification card), bank account, and voter ID.
She saved up every penny so that her daughter Shanmugasundari could have a good life.
It was only recently after Shanmugasundari got married and settle down, did 'Muthu's' disguise unravel.
According to reports, the gutsy mother is now facing difficulties in securing Tamil Nadu's Widow Pension Scheme since she has a male name on all her official documents. Despite this, she is not willing to give up her male guise, saying that she still wants to be known as "Muthu".
Photo source: Oddity Central
Fri May 20 2022
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