A 70-year-old fast-food vendor in Kerala has decided to protest in a unique manner against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden move to render ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes worthless.
Yahiya, a native of Kadakkal Mukkunnam in Kerala's Kollam district, has shaved off half his head and has vowed not to grow his hair back until Modi is voted out of power.
In a Facebook post, Dr Ashraf Kadakkal, an assistant professor at University of Kerala, narrates the 70-year-old vendor's tragicomic plight.
Yahiya, who makes beef fry among other food items for his customers, likes to wear a nightie. He claims that this is the most comfortable attire for him when he is cooking, serving and cleaning, all by himself.
"My customers enjoy the tasty beef and chicken fry I serve from 5 PM till midnight, and stay entertained by what they consider a ridiculous attire for a man," Yahiya said. "Had I been running this store in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, I would have been hanged."
Yahiya told Dr Ashraf how he had gone to the Gulf years ago to seek his fortunes when he realised that the money he earns from climbing coconut trees and working in farms wouldn't be enough to get his daughter married.
"I sold everything I had and went to the Gulf," he narrated. "Nothing but a life of suffering awaited me there, a poor, uneducated man. I came back with whatever little I made. With that money, and a bank loan from Kadakkal Co-operative bank, I got my daughter married."
Before Prime Minister Modi announced his 'surgical strike' against black money, Yahiya said he had ₹23,000 in cash -- all in the form of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.
He didn't know what to do with the demonetised notes.
"I tried my best to get it exchanged from nearby banks, stood in queues for two days," he said, recounting his ordeal. "On the second day, blood sugar level dropped and I almost collapsed."
Yahiya only has a loan account at a co-operative bank. "Since all transactions at co-operative banks were frozen, I realised I cannot get it deposited anywhere," he explained.
After the 70-year-old returned home from the hospital, he lit his choolah and burnt the entire ₹23,000 in it.
He then went to a nearby barber shop and had the hair on half his head shaved off.
"I vow to grow it back only when Prime Minister Modiji, the man who, in a jiffy, burnt all my hard work and savings into ashes, is voted out of power and this country is saved," the semi-tonsured food vendor then proclaimed.
Here is Dr Ashraf's Facebook post: