In a first, transgender opens Durga Puja pandal

In a marked departure from the practice of inauguration of Durga Puja by celebrities, cine stars and sportsperson, a transgender had the rare opportunity of inaugurating a community Puja in the city.

Sobuj Sangha, a club located at Haridevpur in the southern fringes of the city, urged the representatives of the Association of Transgender/ Hijras in Bengal to inaugurate a Puja pandal on Tuesday.

Overwhelmed by the invitation, Ranjita Sinha, secretary of the organisation told The Hindu on Wednesday that the efforts of the club in recognising transgenders and eunuchs should be lauded.

“When Durga Pujas are presenting plethora of themes on socially important issues, we are happy that at least one Puja Pandal committee thought about us,” Ms Sinha said, adding that she asked two members of her organisation to go and inaugurate the Puja. There are over 1,700 community Puja pandals in the area under Kolkata police alone.

This is for the first time that Durga Puja organisers have invited members of the transgender community for the inauguration of a pandal, she said, adding that it is the recent landmark Supreme Court judgment that has brought awareness and recognition for the community to some extent.

Ms Sinha also pointed out that transgenders particularly eunuchs were considered important in religious and social occasions but slowly discrimination led to the community being excluded from such events.

“For the Hindus there are references in the mythology about the significance of eunuchs; the Muslims also consider their presence and blessings of considerable importance,” she said.

Despite the encouragement they may have received from this event, the members of the transgender community feel that a lot more concerning the community and its rights need to be addressed.

“A few months ago the West Bengal Government had proposed to set up a Transgender Welfare Board but there has been practically no follow-up on this,” Ms Sinha added.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 10:43:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/in-a-first-transgender-opens-durga-puja-pandal/article6468005.ece

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