The Andhashradha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANS), founded by Narendra Dabholkar, went to Ghavar village near Rajgadh to find 12-year-old Harshada Ranjane, a Class 6 student, suffering with the said hair condition from the past three years. Her hair was allowed to grow for years as in parts of Maharashtra it is believed that naturally formed dread locks are god given.
The team from ANS, headed by Nandini Jadhav,reached Ghavar without prior notice in order to avoid resistance.“When we met Harshada, we tried a lot to talk to her but she would not utter a single word .With an odhni (piece of cloth worn with traditional dress) around her head, a frail Harshada sat in front of us” said Jadhav.
Harshada’s case was the 100th shaving of dread lock ANS. The team, Jadhav says they always met with initial resistance as they did with Harshada and her family. Harshada had fallen sick multiple times as the lock kept growing. However, a local godwoman had the family believe her poor health was a result of menstruating girls from school touching her during their period.
The team met with Sita Ranjane,Harshada’s mother who according to Jadhav, came up with various reasons to avoid shaving the lock. After close to 3 hours of explaining, they agreed with the team from ANS.
“The sight of the condition of Harshada’s hair disturbed me.Like ants dig hills, lice had formed hills on the girl’s scalp.Lice kept falling off her head. Due to religious belief and fear, the godwoman had told them not to apply medicine to rid her of the lice” said Jadhav. Drawing from past experiences of cutting dread locks, Jadhav added that the condition is usually accompanied by a foul smell along with lice and garbage and lead to neck problems among other medical problems.