As Dalits were finding it difficult to get a haircut at barber shops and salons in some Mysuru villages, two brothers from the Dalit community stepped in. KP Mahadeva and his brother KP Siddaraju started offering services at the doorstep of community members in Kappasoge, Kuruhundi, Gowdarahundi and Madanahalli. These villages have a sizeable Dalit population.
Being barred from availing services from barbershops in their village several times, Dalits of all age groups had to visit Ullahalli or Nanjangud town for a haircut — not only spending extra money on the travel but also sparing a day for the odd job.
For Mahadeva, the service he provides is more important to him than making money. Both the brothers have been in the profession for eight years, and have been planning to open a harmonious salon if they get financial support from the government.
In an attempt to to end social tension and harmony and brotherhood among people, Mahadeva said that he has plans to set up exclusive salons in Dalit colonies in villages, The New Indian Express reported.
The salon owners are afraid that extending services for Dalits would land them in trouble, because upper-caste clients avoid such places.
“We have 30 guntas of dry land. We work as agriculture labourers or take up electrical jobs on holidays when there is no request for their services,” he said.
Amid the pandemic, the brothers provide doorstep salon service to Dalits and charge a nominal Rs 40 for a haircut and Rs 20 for a shave.
“Despite being in the profession for over eight years, our repeated pleas for loan to set up a shop have fallen on deaf ears of local politicians. However, we do doorstep until when there is potential to set up shops in Dalit dominated villages which have no salons,” he said.
The brothers hope that their effort and success will encourage other youths to set up their own business and give rise to harmony in their villages.