Two teenage girls named Jyoti Kumari and Neha were honoured by the Indian government after it was discovered they had pretended to be boys for four years to run their father’s barbershop when he became too ill to work.
18-year-old Jyoti and 16-year-old Neha took over their father’s business in Uttar Pradesh after he fell ill in 2014. For four years the duo pretended to be boys in order to run their father’s barber shop.
Their father, Dhruv Narayan, had been forced to close the barbershop after he was left bedridden following a paralysis stroke, leaving the family without an income. With no money coming in, the two girls decided to pick up the scissors and take on the huge task of running the business themselves. They began cutting men’s hair, shaving beards and trimming moustaches in Kushinagar district.
Initially, the customers were sceptical about getting their moustaches trimmed and hair cut by women and did not behave well with them.
To avoid criticism from surrounding communities, the girls cut their hair short, threaded steel bracelets over their wrists and changed their names to Deepak and Raju.
Four years from then, state authorities have finally taken note of these two sisters and have extended them financial support.
After local reports brought the girls’ incredible story to public attention this year, sub divisional magistrate (SDM) of Kushinagar Abhishek Pandey and MLA Mani Tripthi offered the girl some financial assistance, The Times of India reported.
They also said they will write to the state government to provide further funds and assistance to the girls so that they can set up a beauty parlour instead and earn a decent living.