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‘Mum’s the Word’: Mother raises daughter for 30 years in Man’s disguise!

A mother from Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district disguised herself as a male for 30 years in order to raise her daughter alone. Pechiyammal, 20, from Katunayakkanpatti village in Thoothukudi, lost her husband to a heart attack 15 days after their wedding three decades ago. Pechiyammal returned to work after giving birth to a girl, but she was harassed. Pechiyammal chose to disguise herself as a male and use the name Muthu in order to nurture her sole daughter without remarrying.

She cut her hair and began dressing like a male, wearing a lungi and a shirt. Muthu has worked in a variety of settings over the past three decades, including hotels and tea shops in Chennai and Thoothukudi. She was referred to as ‘Annachi’ everywhere she worked (a traditional name for a male). Muthu was thereafter known as ‘Muthu Master’ since she worked at Parotta and tea shops.

‘I worked as a painter, tea master, parotta master, and 100-day work,’ Pechiyammal explained. ‘I saved every bit I could to provide a safe future for my daughter. After a few days, Muthu became my identity, which was then listed on all documents, including my Aadhaar, Voter ID, and bank account.’

Pechiyammal stated that it was difficult at first. ‘I resolved to go through the hassle for the sake of my daughter’s safety. During a period when I was traveling more to make my living, disguised as a male kept me safer at work. To establish my identification, I always sat on the men’s side of buses. I used the men’s restroom. Although the government announced free travel for women in buses, I paid the fare,’ she said.

Pechiyammal, 57, is now satisfied. ‘ My daughter is married, and I believe I have accomplished all of my dreams.  I want to be remembered in this way long after I’m gone. If I obtain a government pension, I’ll live the rest of my life as a guy. I’m disqualified for several schemes,’ she explained. Only a few individuals, including her daughter Shanmugasundari, were aware of her difficulties. ‘She dedicated her life to me.  I hope she receives the allowance,’ said Shanmugasundari.


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