For 30 years, Tamil Nadu woman disguised herself as man to raise daughter


Guwahati: For 30 years, a mother from Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district disguised herself as a male in order to raise her daughter alone. Pechiyammal, 20, of Katunayakkanpatti village in Thoothukudi, lost her husband to a heart attack 15 days after their wedding three decades ago.

Pechiyammal began working after giving birth to a girl, but she was harassed. She chose to disguise herself as a male and become Muthu in order to nurture her sole daughter without remarrying. Not wanting to become entangled in the marriage purpose, Pechiyammal made an ingenious choice to change her identity in hopes of avoiding the pestering of males.

She cut her hair and began dressing like a male, wearing a lungi and shirt. Muthu has worked in a variety of settings over the last three decades, including hotels and tea shops in Chennai and Thoothukudi. ‘Annachi’ was her nickname everywhere she worked (a traditional name for a male).

Muthu became known as ‘Muthu Master’ after working at Parotta and tea establishments. According to media reports, she worked as a painter, tea master, parotta master, and 100-day work. Reports reveal that she saved every bit she could to provide a safe future for her daughter and after a few days, Muthu became her identity, which was then listed on all identification documents.

She added that dressed as a man while travelling to make my living, kept her safer at work. To establish her identification, she always sat on the men’s side of buses, used the men’s restroom. “Despite the fact that the government declared free bus travel for women, I paid the fee,” she explained.

Only a few individuals, including her daughter, Shanmugasundari, were aware of her difficulties.