Established as a relatively unknown Facebook group in February 2016, the Daari Gang has now won many hearts through its social welfare works via the digital platform.
The Facebook group initially posted photos of men with beards and shared tips on beard grooming. One day, in the company of some of his friends Jagdish Bhandari, who is a student of history, was visiting historian and culture expert Satyamohan Joshi. Soon as he saw the group enter his house, Joshi blurted out: ‘Daari Gang.’
“The name was catchy and we decided to start a Facebook group with it,” says Bhandari, one of the Daari Gang founders.
After its establishment, the network has steadily widened and other daariwals and non-daariwals have embraced it with enthusiasm. The group first met in Pokhara in June 2016. The outcome of that meeting was the “Itahari Jaau Paani Puri Khaau” initiative, which was organized to help children suffering from cancer. After that the Daari Gang has been engaged in many other social initiatives.
It volunteered in the finale of Nepal Idol season 1 as well as in the Voice of Nepal season 1. It distributed relief materials in the tornado-hit Bara district.
The gang supports the Dhurmus Suntali Foundation, and always steps whether in organizing cleanliness programs, charity shows, or in medical treatment of the poor.
“We have a presence in 30 districts and we do welfare works outside the country as well,” says Bhandari. With over 100,000 members, Daari Gang is open not just to the bearded ones; anyone who loves beard and wants to contribute to the society can join.
But how does the group arrange funds for its social causes? Each district chapter conducts a regular monthly meeting that not only discusses current and future programs but also collects money, mostly by selling the group’s t-shirts and badges. If larger funds are needed, charity shows are organized.
“Funds are no hindrance to do good work. We are supported by countless kind-hearted people,” says Bhandari. Recently the group registered with the government, making it easier to manage funds and other requisites.
The group is determined to change the bad social perception of bearded people. Many gang members now say they no longer face pressure from their family members and relatives to trim their beards, all thanks to the activities of the Daari Gang.
It is fascinating to hear the many tales connected with the Daari Gang. At Bhandari’s engagement, a relative couldn’t recognize his son-in-law as all men present there were bearded. On a more serious note, many have also lost their jobs because of their beard. Others report feeling annoyed at being called ‘big brothers’ and ‘uncles’ even by those who are much older than them. But that, as Daari Gang members say, is part of the gang job description.