An­other bar­rier goes as trans­gen­der draws Durga’s eyes

The New Indian Express - - FRONT PAGE - AISHIK CHANDA

SAYANTANI Ghosh, the first trans­gen­der to break so­cial taboos in pa­tri­ar­chal Ben­gali so­ci­ety, got to do it for the sec­ond time on Fri­day. A lawyer by train­ing, Sayantani got to draw the eyes on Durga idols, which till now was done only by male ar­ti­sans.

Called Chokkhu Daan in Ben­gali, draw­ing the eyes is one of the most aus­pi­cious events of the Durga Puja fes­tiv­i­ties. It is also the fi­nal step be­fore the idol is ready for wor­ship.

Sayantani first drew the eyes of the Durga idol at Jodh­pur Park Cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion on Ma­ha­laya on Mon­day. She did it again at Howrah-based Tor­pedo Wel­fare So­ci­ety on Tri­tiya on Fri­day.

As a child, Sayantani used to be mocked at when­ever she went to her neigh­bour­hood Durga Puja of Sonarpur Re­cre­ation Club. She is now the club’s brand am­bas­sador.

“It is an enor­mous change that I got to wit­ness in my life­time. Our so­ci­ety is slow­ing chang­ing for the bet­ter. My priv­i­lege of draw­ing the eyes of Lord Durga would in­stil hope in other trans­gen­ders and also make the so­ci­ety more ac­com­mo­dat­ing of us,” she told TNIE.

A lawyer at Ali­pore District Court, Sayantani also runs a dance school for trans­gen­ders in Gan­gasagar, where Ganga meets the sea. The pil­grim­age site also hosts the sec­ond largest hu­man con­gre­ga­tion in the world af­ter Kumbh Mela, where lakhs of devo­tees take the holy dip dur­ing Makar Sankranti ev­ery year. “In many ways, Gan­gasagar is way ahead than Kolkata. There, trans­gen­ders put up dance per­for­mances dur­ing Durga Puja ev­ery year,” she added.

The Sonarpur Re­cre­ation Club ini­tially faced a lot of crit­i­cism, but its mem­bers man­aged to con­vince ev­ery­one in the lo­cal­ity to make Sayantani the brand am­bas­sador. “Our main mo­tive was to in­crease ac­cep­tance of trans­gen­ders in so­ci­ety and so­cial gath­er­ings and also to mo­ti­vate other trans­gen­ders to achieve greater heights in life,” said Sonarpur Re­cre­ation Club puja panel trea­surer Ra­jib Bhu­niya.

Sayantani Ghosh got to per­form Chokkhu Daan, the rit­ual of paint­ing the eyes of Durga idols. Till now it was done only by male ar­ti­sans

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.