Transgender men and women have held significant roles in Indian mythology be it the character of Shikhandi in the Mahabharata or Arjun’s double life as a woman in Krishna’s court. Even though history has recognized gender fluidity as the third sex, there is a social stigma that we all have been unknowingly facilitating. We see them at traffic signals or on local trains begging for alms. How much do we really about the transgender community? Some people are born into the wrong gender, some are forcefully transitioned, their lifestyles, livelihoods, community customs and rituals, who do they worship and what does the Puranas tell us about them, what happens to their bodies after death and the reason for the same – everything has been explored in eye-opening detail by the late Mrinalkanti Dutta. Mrinalkanti Dutta, the son of a sex worker, rose against all odds to fight for the rights of the marginalized. He travelled all over the country collecting stories of trauma and grit of the transgender community. This is a rare book that will enlighten and sensitize us about the Hijra community.
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