An Indian woman has made an unusual sacrifice by pretending to be a man for 36 years just to protect her daughter, it has been revealed.
According to DailyStar, S Petchiammal from the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, made the unusual sacrifice for decades while raising her child alone.
Married when she was 20, she tragically lost her husband while pregnant with his daughter only 15 days after their wedding — and quickly found life as a single mum a struggle in the strict, traditional and sometimes unsafe environment of her village.
Petchiammal eventually decided to move away, and began to cut her hair and change her clothing after a personal visit to Tiruchendur Murugan Temple, where she rechristened herself with the name ‘Muthu’.
The devoted mum then spent the rest of her life keeping her true identity a secret from everyone but her daughter and close members of family as she took on a range of manual jobs, including work in construction, hotels and tea shops.
Revealing the story of her life in disguise as a man, Ms Petchiammal told the New India Express: “We resettled at Kattunayakkanpatti over 20 years ago. Only my close relatives back home and my daughter knew that I am a woman,”
“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 [a male name] turned to be my identity, which in turn was mentioned on all documents, including Aadhaar, Voter ID, and bank account.”
Petchiammal added that while her daughter has now married, she is not willing to revert back to female attire yet as she thinks the identity she took on gave her child a “safer life” — and so believes she should die as the same person.