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‘Ardhanariswar’ to break fetters of conformist society during Durga puja

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By Arnab Mitra & Nithin Sridhar

Kolkata: The bold attempt by the transgender community to set up a Durga idol on the concept of ‘Ardhanariswar’ drew high acclamation not only in West Bengal but also across India. The unique move was supported by Pratay trust and Udyami Yuvak Brinda club in north Kolkata during this year’s Durga Puja.

In a candid interview to NewsGram, artist China Pal laid bare her thoughts to Arnab Mitra.

2015-10-16 22.07.06

NewsGram: What influenced you to take up the ‘transgender Durga idol’?

China Pal: As an artist we always love to conjure up fresh and innovative ideas. So when Pratay trust and members of Udyami Yuvak Brinda club approached me with their concept, I was enthralled, as the idea facilitated me to showcase my work at the highest level. I felt this was the first time in my 30-year career that I got something that will give me utmost satisfaction.

NewsGram: The transgender community is still looked down upon in our society, so, did this affect your decision making?

China Pal: Any art form acts as a mirror to the society. Happening in the society is obviously reflected in the works of an artist. Through my humble effort I want to make a bold protest against the conformist views of the society.

If Hindu mythology gladly accepts ‘Ardhanariswar’ so why can’t people who use smart phones nowadays give recognition to the concept.

Durga puja is a celebration of how an evil was vanquished.  Through my works, I want to urge everyone to defeat the traditional custom of disrespecting the transgender community and the prostitutes. We must not forget that we all are creations of God and are a product of the society where we live in.

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NewsGram: What were the challenges you faced?

China Pal: It is obvious that criticisms and art are synonymous. Works will always draw flak from a quarter of the society. However that should not deter an artist. Moreover, an artist is above religion, customs and partisan spirit. Relentless support from Pratay trust, Bhanu Naskar  (a transgender) and from well wishers encouraged me in my venture. I highly appreciate their support.

NewsGram: What are your chances to bag an award?

China Pal: It does feel good to get an award but the best prize that an artist can get is the appreciation of the work.

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Ardhanriswar: The concept of cosmic union

The artist has attempted to capture the essence of being transgender through the depiction of Durga as Ardhanarishwar. But, it must be pointed out that, the concept of Ardhanarishwar as such is not related to transgenders. Ardhanarishwar is about the cosmic unity of Shiva-Shakti, the Existence and motion, the Consciousness and action, and it has nothing to do with transgenders who are considered as Tritiya Prakriti.

Yet, the Ardhanarishwar aspect of God brings out a vital truth of life that every person, irrespective of their gender, has both Shiva tattva and Shakti Tattva (essence of both Shiva and Shakti) inside them. This is true for transgenders as well.

Ardhanarishwar depicts that, God who is beyond gender, is also the abode of all genders. Therefore, Transgenders must have equal respect in society as anybody else, because ultimately, God is in the hearts of everyone- Man, Woman, and a Transgender.

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Anukreethy Vas, New Miss India, Explains Challenges Of Single Mother

Anukreethy calls herself a tomboy

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Anukreethy Vas, New Miss India World Explains Challenges Of Single Mother
Anukreethy Vas, New Miss India World Explains Challenges Of Single Mother, flickr

The newly crowned Miss India World Anukreethy Vas — who works for transgenders’ education — feels a smile keeps everyone going, something she has learnt this quality from her mother, who rose her single-handedly. The 19-year-old feels that being raised by a single mother was challenging, but being strong in every situtation kept them going.

“The challenges were there forever starting from school because I am not from a city-based place. I studied in Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) which is not really a city but I was very strong enough because my mother didn’t let me down at any point. She used to say, ‘You are a strong person. How can you cry?’ and that’s how she brought me up,” Anukreethy told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“I have never seen her low. She has a lot of problems herself but she never showed that to me and that is how I was brought up. Even if I had something inside me, I never expressed it to other person because I feel that a smile is one thing that keeps the other person going. And this is what I learnt from her.

“She inspired me in every way and she has been a great role model,” added the beauty queen, whose mother is an IT professional named Seleena.

Single mother
Single mother, Pixabay

Anukreethy is currently pursuing Bachelor of Arts in French at Chennai’s Loyola College to become an interpreter. She is also a state-level athlete, whose aspiration is to become a supermodel. Her faith in destiny keeps her confident at all times and this reflected well while she was announced the winner on Tuesday night.

Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar crowned Anukreethy at the gala, where Meenakshi Chaudhary from Haryana was adjudged first runner-up and second runner-up was Shreya Rao from Andhra Pradesh.

Anukreethy calls herself a tomboy, loves to ride a bike, but more than that she is actively involved in giving education to transgenders.

“I work for the transgender education. There was one of my friends who was transgender in school and her family abandoned her. That struck me about this topic. I was helping an orphanage and NGO with the education of their children.

“In 2015, I associated with an NGO, and the main area of work was education of transgender children. We are now being able to adopt 30 transgenders and educate them,” she told IANS.

LGBT flag
LGBT flag, Pixabay

As of now, she is “really happy” about her victory at the Miss India contest.

“I will put my best to get the crown again,” she said, referring to the Miss World crown which Manushi brought back to India long after Priyanka Chopra won it in 2000.

So after the sudden fame, is she going to miss all the normal things that she enjoys doing?

Also read: Miss India 2016 Priyadarshini Chatterjee fights for Sexual Exploitation of a 13-year-old Girl

“Not really. I still have a normal life. My friends back home are supportive. Yes, just the responsibilities have been added, but rest is normal,” said Anukreethy, who is currently not focussed on Bollywood. (IANS)