A 57-year-old 'woman' from Tamil Nadu disguised herself as a ‘man’ for 36 years in order to look after and raise her only daughter safely in a patriarchal society. This news came to light when the wo’man’ in question- S Petchiammal, from Kattunayakanpatti village in Thoothukudi town of Tamil Nadu, in an interview with the New Indian Express explained how she became 'Muthu' after her husband’s death to raise and take care of her daughter. Only her close relatives back home and y daughter knew that she was a woman. It was only recently that she performed her daughter Shanmugasundari 's marriage while revealing her female identity.
As per reports, S Petchiammal was only 20-years-old when she lost her husband to a heart attack and was pregnant. Katunayakkanpatti village, was a dominant patriarchal society, and to make matters worse she gave birth to a baby girl. Widowed and with a young baby, she started working odd jobs to make ends meet. But she was harassed ( even sexually) and taunted by the villagers. One fine day, Petchiammal went to Tiruchendur Murugan Temple, cut her hair short, changed her garb to a shirt and lungi and rechristened herself as Muthu and changed her identity as a man.
She resettled at Kattunayakkanpatti and worked in construction sites, tea shops, and did other jobs. "I did all kinds of jobs, from working as a painter, tea master, parotta master to 100-day work. I saved every penny to ensure a safe and secure life for my daughter. After days, Muthu turned to be my identity, which in turn was mentioned on all documents, including Aadhaar, Voter ID, and bank account," she said. Though Petchiammal doesn't own a house and can't apply for a widow certificate, she has managed to obtain an MGNREGS job card.
But the 57-year-old ‘Annachi ‘is not ready to shed her male identity and she wants to remain 'Muthu' until her death. (The New Indian Express)