Roadside barber shops declining fast

Published : 26 May 2022 08:22 PM

Now a day, there are AC and non-AC saloons and barbershops in the cities, towns, and village hat bazaars all around the country. In the evolution of time, modern parlors have also been opened for men today. In those salons and parlors, there are modern equipment and machines for cutting hair and beard, trimming, facial facilities. 

However, in this evolution of time, the number of barbers operating makeshift barbershops in rural area, towns, weekly markets are declining rapidly. Over time, like many other professions, this profession of barbers with portable barbershops is on the verge of extinction. Even then, sometimes the work of a traveling barber can be seen in the rural markets.

These traveling barbers sit in the rural markets, bazaars with hair cutting or trimming equipment. The customers who come to the market to buy daily necessities are the target customers of these hairdressers.

On Tuesday, a wandering barber was spotted in front of Shibchandi Government Primary School in Debangarh Union, Tentulia Upazila, Panchagarh District. Going closer, the correspondent saw that he was cutting the hair and beard of the customers by putting them on the pedestal. The scene of hair and beard cutting was eye-catching. So he picked up a conversation with barber's permission.

Talking to the barber, he said that he has been cutting his beard and hair in this way for several decades. His name is Sudhir Chandra Shil. 

He is the son of late Yaru Chandra Shil of Ragun village in Anipukur union 10 of Dinajpur Biral upazila. He is survived by 6 sons and 3 daughters. One of his sons is a police personnel and the other is a barber in Bangladesh Navy. 

He is currently living at Barnir Bazar in Bhadreshwar area of Bhajanpur union of Tentulia upazila. Every day, he crosses the Bhajanpur Versa River and sits under a pomegranate tree in front of a school in the area. His customers are people who come and go in need to the shopkeepers in front of Joygunjot Shivchandi Primary School. He takes 20-30 TK for haircut and 15-20 Tk for shaving beard.

Abdul Hai, who came to the area to cut his hair, said, "As a child, I used to come to the market with my father and get haircut from these traveling hairdressers." Now he is bringing himself and his grandchildren there for haircut.

"I am a man of the middle class," he said. It costs 50 to 100 Tk to get a haircut in a salon. But these roadside barbers can cut hair and beard for only 30 to 50 Tk. Salons and their work are almost the same.

Maqbool, a resident of the same area, said that most of the people in our area cut their hair with these traveling hairdressers. They can cut their hair for much less money.

Narsundar (barber) Sudhir said that this profession was his grandfather. After the death of his grandfather, his father was also in this profession. He got his hands on this profession from his father. 

This is the fate of his father. He is trying to keep this profession alive. He said that he earns 150 to 300 Tk every day by cutting his hair and beard. He runs the family with this income.

Locals in the area said that roadside portable barbershop is a long part of rural Bangladesh. Modern technology is replacing these barbers and decreasing their needs.  Initiatives should  be taken to 

rehabilitate these barbers so that they can still take part to the betterment of the society.