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From a runaway beggar to Padma Shri awardee, the life of Karnataka transgender dancer Manjamma Jogathi

As her name was called, Manjamma, draped in a saree went up to the President and in a unique gesture, took the fringe of the saree towards President of India Ram Nath Kovind to wish him good luck.

Written by Kiran Parashar | Bengaluru |
Updated: November 10, 2021 3:09:08 pm
Manjamma Jogathi receives the Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The power house Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday witnessed a unique greet to the President of India by Karnataka’s transgender woman Manjamma Jogathi who was conferred with Padma Shri award for her contribution to folk dance.

As her name was called, Manjamma, draped in a saree went up to the President and in a unique gesture, took the fringe of the saree towards President of India Ram Nath Kovind to wish him good luck before receiving the award. According to the belief system, a good wish from a transgender can bring luck.

Manjamma, who was born as Manjunatha Shetty in Ballari district, studied till 10th standard. Sharing her life journey, she said she started to identify herself as a woman at the age of 15 and when she began behaving like a girl from her teens, her parents took him to a temple in Hospet and got him to perform Jogappa, a ritual in which the devotees are believed to get married to a god or goddess. From then, Manjunath Shetty became Manjamma Jogathi but she was not allowed to return home.

Manjamma started her lone journey begging on the streets draped in sarees. She was also sexually abused and had decided to kill herself but came across a father and son who taught her dance, which gave a new start to her life.

She was introduced to Kallava Jogathi where Manjamma learnt the dance form Jogathi Nrithya (a folk performance of Jogappas) and started performing across the state. After Kaalavva’s death, she took over the troupe and the dance became more popular.

Manjamma also went on to become the first transgender president of Karnataka Jaanapada Academy, a government body for performing arts in Karnataka.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Akkai Padmashali, a well-known Indian transgender activist, said, “As far as Manjamma’s award is concerned, I am equally happy as she is representing the entire community. I, and on behalf of the community, thank the Government of India which has considered the contribution of transgender community by honouring Manjamma.”

However, on the ritual she performed before receiving the award, Padmashali said, “There are already a lot of myths and misconception prevailing in society about the transgender community and when she is at the forum, getting honoured by the first citizen of the country (president), she should not have done it. The constitutional values are above the belief system, immaterial of whether one believes in the rituals or not. If society respects only the cultural status, where is our social, economic, political and human rights status?”

B M Hegde honoured with Padma Vibhushan

Cardiologist Dr Belle Monappa Hegde, who is also former Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University, was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan award, India’s second-highest civilian award, for his contribution to the field of science.

B M Hegde receives the Padma Vibhushan award from President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Born in Udupi district of Karnataka, Dr Hedge studied at Harvard Medical School and has a degree in Ayurveda from Stanley Medical College, Chennai. He was also the co-chairman of TAG-VHS Diabetes Research Centre in Chennai and was also the editor in chief of ‘Science Of Healing Outcomes’, a medical journal.

His expertise on cardiology as well as in administration has taken him to several places. He has won the Dr BC Roy National Award, for the category eminent medical teacher, Dr JC Bose award for life science research, Padma Bhushan award in 2010 and many more.

R L Kashyap conferred with Padma Shri

Rangasami Lakshminarayana Kashyap, 83, popularly known as R L Kashyap, also received Padma Shri award for his contribution in the field of literature and education.

R L Kashyap receives the Padma Shri award from President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

A professor of electrical and computer engineering, Kashyap is the director of Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture. He has translated vedas, including every verse, consisting together of about 25,000 metrical verses. He has received the ‘Vedanga Vidvan’ award instituted by the Government of India institution Maharshi Sandepani Veda Vidya Patashala.

He is also a recipient of the Rajyotsava award by the Karnataka government in 2012, ‘Vishveshwaraya Vijnana Puraskara’ in 2013 by Swadeshi Science Movement and ‘Veda Brahma’ award in 2013 by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Chandrashekhara Kambara honoured with Padma Bhushan

Jnanpith award winning Kannada poet Chandrashekhara Kambara was Tuesday honoured with Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, for his contribution to the world of literature.

Chandrashekhara Kambara receives the Padma Bhushan award from President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Kambara, 84, is not just a poet but has also written many plays. He was also the founder vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi. He has won Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Shri, Pampa Award and many more for his works.

Kambara has written 25 plays and was awarded with Sahitya Akademi award in 1991 for Siri Sampige. Besides five novels and 15 research works, he is also known for introducing north Karnataka dialect Kannada in his works, which was not very common when he had started it.

KY Venkatesh honoured with Padma Shri

Para-athlete KY Venkatesh was Tuesday honoured with Padma Shri. Venkatesh, who has Achondroplasia — a condition that leads to dwarfism — never let the disease come in his way of success. Beading several odds, 4.2 feet Venkatesh has achieved excellence in hockey, athletics, football, volleyball, basketball and badminton.

KY Venkatesh honoured with Padma Shri

Shot put being his prime forte, Venkatesh won his first gold medal in the southern cross multi disability championship in Australia in 1999. Later, he won several medals in Badminton, shot put, javelin, discus throw and other sporting events. In 2005, Venkatesh entered the Limca Book of Records for winning the maximum number of medals in world dwarf games 2005.

Besides his sporting journey, he has also been vocal to make Bengaluru city, a disabled friendly destination and raised a voice to build public toilets which are disabled friendly.

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