Transgender Kajal from Udupi to Play a Lead Role in ‘ICU Noduve Ninna’
Transgender Kajal from Udupi to Don a Lead Role in Rangabhoomi Theatre’s ‘ICU Noduve Ninna’ to be staged during second week of December 2017-this is the FIRST time that Rangabhoomi is introducing a transgender actor
Mangaluru: Transgenders have always intrigued people. When you see them out on the road, they immediately catch your attention; just long enough for you to notice what they are doing but never long enough that you actually observe and understand them. Transgenders in India, while officially recognised as the third gender, still struggle to lead a normal life across the country. Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said “Humanity is not confined to male or female. We are giving a social status to them. Go and meet them. Have meetings and rallies of such people,” Modi had directed MPs, as he identified the government bill related to transgender persons as a great step towards social reforms.
A bill seeking to define who a transgender and prohibit discrimination against them in education, employment, healthcare and other such matters was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 2, 2016. It seeks to confer rights upon the transgender person to be recognised as such, and a right to self-perceived gender identity, issue of certificate of identity; provide for a grievance redressal mechanism in each establishment and punishment for contraventions of the provisions of the Bill. It also envisages setting up a National Council for Transgender persons. The bill was listed in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing, but could not be taken up.
There was a major breakthrough in 2014 when transgenders were officially recognised as the third gender in India. A transgender was employed in the Karnataka High Court. A transgender even went on to win an election and become mayor in Chattisgarh. But bizarre incidents of transgender oppression continue to occur across the country. The society has not yet adjusted to accepting transgenders as normal human beings. Even today, most transgenders are seen begging or worse: turning to sex work.
But in the meantime locally here in Mangaluru, Parivarthan Charitable Trust formed in the year 2016, under the able guidance and leadership of Violet Pereira ( Proprietor of Mangalorean.com) has been functioning real good to make a difference in the lives of transgenders. The Trust has been working relentlessly for the welfare of transgenders with a mission of bringing them to the mainstream of the society. The Trust has also given medical assistance to transgenders, including a Aadhar card registration camp was also organised at the Parivarthan office for them. The vision of the trust is to empower every transgender and efforts are on to provide them with jobs so that they can lead a respectful life in the society.
Parivarthan Charitable Trust feels proud to mention that for the first time in Rangabhoomi Theatre, transgender Kajal will play a prominent role in a play called “ICU Noduve Ninna” to be staged during the second week in December 2017. Kajal, who hails from Mandya, was born a male but gradually she realised she was more a female. At the age of 12, she had a sex-change operation. According to Kajal, it is very hard to pinpoint the time when she figured out that she was having female tendencies. Speaking to media Kajal had said, “When I was growing up, I had very little interest to go out and play with the other boys. I was far more interested in going shopping with my mom. I used to pester her about the purse or saree she used to buy from the shops. Even from my walking style, it was noticeable from an early age that I was a transgender. So at the age of 12, I had a sex change operation (from male to female). Today, I’m a woman. A to Z, I’m a woman.”
According to Director and Additional Secretary of Rangabhoomi Ravi Raj, “The play talks about things which happen when an accident takes place. Most people escape from the spot, some view the scene in detachment and the rest shoot a video to upload it on social media. Though people speak highly about humanism, when they should show it the most, they don’t. In this play, an old man is an accident victim and a transgender helps him and admits him to a hospital. She tries to contact his family and she realizes he does not have anyone to take care of him and therefore adopts him. Through the play, we wanted to highlight that a transgender understands her responsibility towards the society better than a common man. Also, in real life, we want them to come into the mainstream. Hence, instead of casting a male actor dressing like a female, we considered talented transgenders.”
Speaking about her role in the forthcoming play, Kajal said, “We practise at Kadiyali Kamalabai School every day. I’m happy and proud to be part of Rangabhoomi. I’d like my life to be an inspiration to all our people and want them to get chance to live a better life. People in Udupi have always supported me a lot. I consider my entry to Rangabhoomi a chance given by God to prove myself. I think I’m lucky. Many of us don’t get a chance. Rangabhoomi as an organization has been creating great talent for the past 55 years. I’m new to theatre and Ravi Raj has trained me a lot. I’m thankful to Manjunath Kamath of MGM College for giving me my identity as a reputed person in the society. He gives us advice and helps us educate ourselves. He has instilled confidence in our community so that we can stand in front of a crowd and speak for our rights.”
Kajal has also been trained as a video jockey at Spandana TV Channel and has presented a few segments on Saranga Channel 107.8 FM aired from St Aloysius College-Mangaluru, where Abhishek, in-charge of the radio channel, has offered Kajal a chance to host shows twice a week. Having completed PUC where she secured First class, Kajal is looking forward to complete her degree and get a good job. Kajal had joined an NGO managed by Alliance Company as a project manager in Ashraya, and later promoted as project director. Recognizing her talents and achievements, Kajal has been felicitated by Udupi Congress Mahila Morcha and Parivarthan Charitable Trust at Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work-Mangaluru. Team Mangalorean wishes Kajal best of luck in her maiden appearance in “ICU Noduve Ninna”.
PROUD TO BE ‘TRANSGENDERS!’
But despite their best efforts, sadly still Transgenders have not yet been successful in their ventures. The bureaucracy of the government coupled with lack of money has stopped them from fulfilling their dream. But Parivarthan Charitable Trust-Mangaluru has always been there to address the problems of the Transgenders since its inception and has been trying to bring every Transgender in and around Mangaluru to the mainstream. There are so many unsung, unwept and unhonoured in the journey called life. Time and again these Transgenders continue to do great work without even asking for anything. It behoves us to elevate such human beings to such recognition, encouragement, goodwill or help is sometimes the only thing they (transgenders) need, like a pat on the back, or felicitations, like the Trust did, in felicitating Kajal on the FIRST ever Transgenders Day last year at Roshini Nilaya. And remember, Transgenders are also people. They’re human beings, and have a human life!