Northern India is celebrating the immense Kumbh Mela festival which has started from January 15. On Tuesday Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and dozens of other “Kinnars” took a bath along with other Hindus in the sacred water of Ganga and Yamuna for the first time.
Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi is well known for her transgender rights activity. For a long time, she has been fighting against the conservative laws and beliefs and trying to bring equality in the society for them. Now she has achieved a new milestone as for the first time approximately two million transgender get a chance to be a part of the holy festival.
They were dressed in red and saffron sarees and reached to the river banks to take the ritual bath. Tripathi told the reporters that “For us, this participation is about mainstream society accepting us. The creator is within us and once we die, we will go back to him. Our doors are open for all.”
Hindus believe that the holy bath helps to get rid of all their sins.
In India, transgenders are always deprived of all advantages of society. Often they are forced to engage in prostitution, begging or degrading jobs.
In spite of several references to transgenders in Hinduism including gods and goddesses, they have always been neglected by several parts of the society.
People use the term “hijra” for the third gender who are always seen to play different roles in the society especially in the birth ceremonies and many other occasions.
The gender discrimination has always been a big problem for society. Last year the Supreme Court has reversed a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex and after that, the top court has recognized the transgenders as a third gender.
Tripathi headed the Kinnar Akhara in the Kumbh Mela. Pavitra Nimbhorker, the group’s secretary said, “Establishing Kinnar Akhara aims to show the correct path to the next generation and to ensure that they do not face the stigma and discrimination we faced.”