ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Matting of Hair among Women in South-western India

Matting of hair is a neglected health problem in India with religious undertones and paucity of research on it. To capture the experiential understanding of matting of hair among women in south-western India, an interpretive phenomenological study was conducted. The thematic accounts of affected women uncovered the health and human rights marginalisation surrounding the matting of hair, effectively making it a neglected harmful cultural practice. 

Matting of hair among women in India (largely called as Jata) is a neglected coercive cultural practice. In south-western India, when any woman gets affected by matting of hair, and her family members or the members of the community come to know of it, they tend to tag it as a manifestation of the divine (Kumbhar and Dhaske 2009). As a religious phenomenon, the small matted portion of hair grows under observance. Eventually, it leads to multiple mental and physical health problems for the affected woman. In the run, affected women and their family members have to face other forms of religion-based marginalisation. In common terms, matting of hair, that is jata, is different from “butt of hair;” rather jata can be termed as several butts stacked together to form an agglomerated mass of hair on the scalp. As there is paucity of research on the topic, the scale and wider implications of the matting of hair are yet to be documented. This study was designed to create systematic foundational knowledge on this issue.


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Updated On : 6th Sep, 2019
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