Dalit History is vital for understanding tour vibrant parallel culture that defiantly exists next to more conventionally taught Brahmin history for our countries in South Asia.
In this spirit today’s dalit history post honors Madhu Bai Kinnar, the first openly elected Dalit Trans Mayor of India. Madhu made history when elected mayor of Raigarh, Chhattisgarh when she defeated her opponent of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) by a margin of 4,500 votes.
This comes at a time when Transgenders in India face extreme economic, political, social, and cultural exclusion. India’s most recent census yielded the first official count of transgendered citizens at more than 490,000, although Transgender activists in the country estimate this number to be six to seven times higher.
Before running for Mayor, Madhu Kinnar earned a living by singing and dancing on Howrah to Mumbai trains, collecting money for her performances. Speaking on her victory, she says, “People have shown faith in me. I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I’ll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams”.
On her campaign, she says, “I have no experience, I’ve never made a public speech, but while campaigning, I went to every household. As is the traditional role of our people, I blessed each one of them for a good life ahead. After that, crowds started gathering near me and people started supporting me.”
Madhu feels that her most important responsibility is towards her community. She believes providing them with jobs in the municipal corporation is a viable option in the right direction.
Read also – Dalit History Month – The Dalit Panthers
Madhu Kinnar’s victory as Mayor comes 9 months after India’s supreme court ruled that transgender people could be legally recognized as gender-neutral, or a ‘third gender’. However, homosexuality remains a criminal offense in India and those caught engaging in sexual acts can be imprisoned.