A group of more than five hundred members of the Indian Barbers and Salon Owner’s Association (IBSA) sat in protest in front of 7, Race Course Road today demanding Prime Minister Modi to shave his beard.
The group was constantly raising their voice with the slogans like “Modi Ji, Daadhi Banao” (Mr. Modi, please shave your beard) and “Kalam se pahle Razor uthao, Modi ji chikne ho jao” (Use a razor before using a pen, Mr. Modi please be clean shaven). Many of them were wearing necklaces made up of razors and shaving brushes. Reportedly, there has been similar protests all across the country by the barber community with the same demand.
The group claimed that recent decline in the number of men coming to shave their beard has been due to the ‘beard fashion statement’ created by the Prime Minister.
“We have seen a significant reduction in the number of youth and middle age people coming to shave their beard. Not only this, men with grey beard who used to dye their beard are proudly flaunting their white cheeks,” – said Mahendra Singh, one of the senior IBSA members.
IBSA Vice-President Raj Narain Yadav was also present at the protest site. He mentioned that since past nine months, barbers across the country have been facing a severe drop in their average monthly income and their living standard has deteriorated dramatically.”
“Initially we had no clue on why this happening. But thanks to one of my regular clients and a good friend who is a Statistical Analyst by profession. He agreed to help us out and did a preliminary analysis and confirmed a drop in the barbers’ monthly income across the city. Even he did not have a reason on why this is happening. We then hired a Bangalore based analytics firm to conduct a analysis and research. They turned up with their detailed report in three months and the results were shocking,” – Yadav said.
On further asking about the details of the research, Yadav mentioned – “Last year in the same month, an average salon had an inflow of 23 customers per chair coming for a shaving service, which has significantly dropped down to 15 in the month of May 2014. Not only this, an average salon was receiving 65 cases per month for beard dying, which has drastically reduced to less than 30 in recent past.”
“The analytics firm further did a root-cause analysis and found that this significantly drop in people opting out to grow their beard or keep their white beard is due to the increasing popularity of Modi’s persona and the style statement he has created with his white cheeks” – Yadav added.
He also mentioned that the analytics firm interviewed several folks who have grown their beard recently and one of them answered – “If the Prime Minister of the country can look stylish with a beard, why can’t we. Fashion doesn’t just apply to clothes, it can be applicable to anything which is in trend. Film stars are not always the fashion trendsetters, sometimes its politicians too.”
“We demand Mr. Modi to shave his beard with an immediate effect. We won’t leave this place without seeing a clean-shaven Modi” – another IBSA member almost shouted aggressively.