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Third option: Transgender is Raigarh mayor

The family now rushes to reclaim the “son”, who lives with transgenders.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | Raipur | Published: January 7, 2015 2:13 am
Madhu at Tuesday’s rally in Raigarh. Madhu at Tuesday’s rally in Raigarh.

Tea vendor Ramesh Chauhan is in a dilemma. His elder “brother” Madhu Bai Kinnar, expelled from the family over a decade ago, has become the “Pratham Nagrik” of Raigarh. Ramesh often uses “her and him”, interchangeably, for Madhu and laughs. “Kya bolun men unko… samaj nahi ata (I don’t know how to address him).”

The family now rushes to reclaim the “son”, who lives with transgenders. Madhu, an Independent candidate, has been elected as the first transgender mayor of Chhattisgarh. “We are very happy. The entire family is celebrating as if it’s Holi and Diwali today,” said Ramesh.
Madhu, who does not have any political base, said her efforts have paid off. “Maine apni behno ke sath ghar-ghar jakar prachar kiya (I did door-to-door campaign with my sisters). People have rejected both BJP and Congress and chosen me,” the 37-year-old said.
Raigarh was a princely estate, and now a major industrial centre with big steel plants, and her election has surprised all. The Raigarh Municipal Corporation was with the BJP but the party denied ticket to sitting mayor Mahendra Chautha and nominated Mahavir Guruji, who had contested last two polls against the party.

International media has lapped up Madhu’s story, with correspondents calling Chhattisgarh journalists to find out more. She does not carry a phone and her brother Ramesh, who has been with her ever since the results on Sunday, connects her on phone.

Madhu was born Naresh Chauhan in a poor SC family and had different sexual orientation since childhood. “He behaved and dressed like girls. We tried to change him but could not,” said father Nanki Ram, who works as a labourer. The family married off Madhu, who even ‘fathered’ three children. However, she could not remain with his family and finally left to live with transgenders. Since then, the 6-feet tall has worked in street plays and performed folk dances.

The family earlier faced stigma —no longer now. “Now he is the Pratham Nagrik of Raigarh,” said Ramesh. “Ab koi humen kuch nahi keh sakta.”  Madhu’s agenda is clear: transgenders will no longer beg in trains. They will be given jobs in the corporation. Next is ensuring new ration cards to all those whose cards were unduly deleted during the verification drive after the fake ration card scam broke.
This is not the first time that India has elected a transgender mayor. Madhya Pradesh elected them twice. Kamla Jaan was elected mayor of Katni in 1999 and Kamla Kinnar from Sagar in 2009. But their elections were declared null and void by courts as the seats were reserved for women.

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  1. S
    s n
    Jan 7, 2015 at 3:40 am
    We had many impotent politicians ruling in the past. Manmohan Singh even was PM for 10 years ;-)
    1. V
      Vidyanand Bapat
      Jan 7, 2015 at 1:26 pm
      That's a very good step taken by Chhattisgarh people. In western countries, they are increasingly rendering equal opportunities to s & s. In India, we don't have a significant number of s & s. But we have a large number of cross dressers or she males who are generally Eunuchs. There is nothing wrong in being a , Crossdresser, Eunuch or Hijras/Khojas as we call it. Its simply as normal as being a man or a woman. Only the care should be taken that they are not made so forcibly as was happenning in Dera Sachcha(?) Souda. It should completely be at their own free will as was the case with Madhu/Naresh. So we have to render equal opportunities to eunuchs at here. No one should be discriminated based on their ual orientation. As we all know that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a , similarly Indian eunuchs too have glorious tradition since the time of Malik Kafur Hazar Dinari. They will surely keep it constant. Its a very good step taken by Madhu to give reservation to Eunuchs. So that they will not beg & rob train pengers which they are forced to do due to supersions prevalent about them in the society due to which they are discriminated against and not given equal opportunities.
      1. S
        Jan 7, 2015 at 2:26 am
        India is a land of opportunities for all.