Over the past few months the media tabloids have been flooded with the news about “Third Gender” or the “Hijra” community, telling stories about the struggle or sufferings or rights granted or denied by the various apex bodies across the world esp. India. One may wonder about the sudden struggle of being ‘sanskritized’ with the other “two sexes” in the socially accepted society. To begin with, the better and easy understanding about this community let’s look at the term “transgender”. Transgender is an umbrella term used for people not identifying themselves with the sex they are born in, Hijras and Kothis are a part of it. The socio – political and economic problems as well as exclusions faced by them on the daily basis, which clearly states the human rights violation guidelines setup by UNHRC which is accepted and followed by India as well.

Transgender - Being Different in Democracy

Image Credits https://www.flickr.com/photos/dominicspics/6068842674/

The recent Supreme Court verdict of giving them (“transgender”) an identity of “Third Gender” and the same identity marked voter id by the electoral commission in the recent elections have eased their pain. But there is lot to be done. According to the democratic framework on which this country was formed, anyone can participate in the political or bureaucratic framework despite their color, caste, creed and sex. When seen in reality over 6 decades of nation gaining freedom the chances of political or bureaucratic participation of the “third gender” has come out to be slim. Social exclusion by society and stigma is one among the many reasons. Shabnam Mausi who is considered as a benchmark or the trend setter in the history of third gender politics has often shared her grievance in media about the exploitation, neglect she faced by her political co-workers during her rule in Sohagpur constituency in M.P (1998-2003). This out casting has not only portrayed a bleak picture about India’s democratic system inside the union but at the international level as well. Learning from the community’s political guru Shabnam Mausi many of her communities predecessors have tried to take the baton forward at their own level across the nation. Bharti Kannama of Tamil Nadu, Kalki from Pondicherry and Basheer from Varanasi are just few of fewer names which sprung up in the last decade election. Not only lack of third gender candidates but voters are also a problem creating hole in the democratic pillar on which the nation stands. In the recent election, it was surveyed that even after having a valid voter id the number of population casted votes were very less. Insensitive police and election staff being the main reasons.

What really should be understood by the participation of the third gender in the upstream politics is the direct benefit of the Indian political system. It will not only gain the new style of politics but also strengthen the democratic and social setup of the nation. The term subaltern will have narrower meaning deleting the “third gender” from it. The “third genders” are gender neutral which will help them in making policies not in the favor of any sexes. Secondly they will change the notion of caste and religion based politics as in their own community which is divided into various “gharanas” the sentiment of caste or religion doesn’t exist. Thirdly having been faced the society’s negligence and aloofness for long. The higher number of involvement by the “third gender” in the political process will open a new communication door which will make our society rich from humanitarian aspect. Fourthly having the “third gender” in the chair, policies will ultimately be trans-friendly which over the years have been neglected by the “other two sexes”. It will give them a better education & employment opportunity which will ultimately seclude them from the menial work such as begging or prostitution.

Nature chooses who will be transgender; individuals don’t choose this. – Mercedes Ruehl

Politics has never been confined to a particular set of beliefs or customs it is considered to be organic and opportunistic. It is ever growing and an evolving process. India, largest democracy of the world is still evolving its terms and policies if compared to U.S.A or France.  Democracy takes its time to adapt changes and society too will take its time to accept. Nothing is sudden or forced in a democratic setup. The process of inclusion of the “third gender” may be slow, but it will gradual. After all belonging from “third gender” in democratic nation is not easy.