Gone are the days when “Kinnars were known only to clap” at people; today they are capable of making a real change in society, says Gulshan, aka Bindu.
The 47-year-old, belonging to the Kinnar (transgender) community, has been fielded by the Samajwadi Party as its Mayor candidate in politically significant Ayodhya.
Gulshan is “honoured” by the nomination, and says that it is an opportunity for her as a representative of her community to show how social service is done.
“I am not a Kinnar who claps … Kinnars today are not just clapping. We are part of real social change and work. One of us became a judge [Joyita Mondal]. Others [Manabi Bandhopadhyay] are running colleges and teaching children. My life has been all about trying to do something worthwhile for society,” Gulshan says.
A social activist in Ayodhya, Gulshan hails from Sitamarhi in Bihar but was born in the national capital. Early on in her life, she was adopted by the transgender community which brought her to the Uttar Pradesh temple town. Gulshan attaches symbolism to her life journey as Ayodhya and Sitamarhi are, as per Hindu faith, associated with Lord Ram and Sita, his wife.
“The Kinnars have a special boon from Lord Ram,” says Gulshan.
Apart from the symbolic gesture of nominating Gulshan, the SP has considered her popularity in Ayodhya.
In fact, in 2012, her participation in the Assembly election may have helped script history. Fighting as an Independent candidate, Gulshan secured an impressive 22,000-plus votes, 11.45% of the total. That was only 11,000 votes fewer than the BSP candidate’s tally. Though she lost, her participation apparently had an impact on the final result. The SP’s Tez Narayan Pandey won the Ayodhya seat for the party for the first time in its history, by a margin of fewer than 5,500.
Gulshan also fought the Nagar Palika Parishad election in Faizabad but lost to the BJP by a thin margin of 350.
This time around, with the official backing of the SP, Gulshan senses glory. Gulshan feels that the common people in Ayodhya are frustrated with politicians and public representatives.
“They come during the elections seeking votes. They promise big things and make announcements but forget about it after getting elected. The people want somebody who stands by them in all situations and helps solve their problems,” said Gulshan. If elected, Gulshan says her focus will be identifying the shortcomings in Ayodhya’s civic infrastructure and making the necessary improve- ments.