By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
It was a disturbed childhood. A boy faced ignominy, pain, shame, humiliation due to hormonal changes in his body. But took everything as challenge, studied law and became the city’s first transgender advocate.
This is the story of Shashi alias Shashikumar, a resident of Jayanagar, Mysuru, who struggled a lot to climb the ladder of success. This person’s story is an inspiration for thousands of transgenders who are abused and insulted in public places and also within the confines of homes for no fault of theirs.
However, such attitude towards them is slowly changing with transgenders taking up jobs on par with others. Recently, a transgender was recruited in Vidhana Soudha. For another transgender, Manjamma Jogati, Chairperson, Karnataka Janapada Academy, who is breaking all the barriers and setting a new flag post, the Padma Shri comes after decades of social and financial struggle.
Shashi’s father was a BSNL employee and mother a home-maker. Shashi has an elder and younger sister and a brother. At the age of 14 years, hormonal changes started in the body and was attracted towards dressing like girls, wearing lipstick and make-up.
His classmates prevented him from going near them and started abusing. Parents also started feeling embarrassed when they came to know that he was transforming into a transgender. Though it shattered his self-confidence, he took it as a challenge and became strong.
Shashi did High School from Siddartha School in Ashokapuram, PUC (PCMB) from Government PU College, Lakshmipuram and completed BA degree (HEP) at Somani College. Even during those days, Shashi faced insult from fellow students. Except two or three students, none would talk to Shashi, who remained aloof since then.
After completion of BA degree, Shashi, who discontinued studies for one-and-a-half years, continued to work as maid in three to four houses to become self-reliant. While working as caretaker of a bed-ridden aged person in Vivekanandanagar, Shashi came in contact with Ayurvedic doctor Dr. J. Rashmirani who helped in taking up higher studies. Subsequently, Dr. Rashmirani appointed Shashi as an Assistant at her Chirant Ayurvedic Clinic and Counselling Centre in Vivekananda Circle. Shashi was then asked to do PG course in Public Administration from Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysuru. In 2018, Shashi was admitted for LLB course in Vidyavardhaka Law College and Dr. Rashmirani paid the yearly fees of Rs. 30,000. While attending the College in the morning, Shashi was helping Dr. Rashmirani in preparing ayurvedic medicines and clinic maintenance. After completing Law degree, Shashi is now practicing under senior advocate, T. Nagaraju at his Office in Agrahara.
“I tolerated insult since my childhood and it continued till degree classes. Many a times, I was sent out by lecturers in front of other students. The attitude of society in general and people in particular towards transgenders must change. Now, I have come to the temple of justice. I have confidence that the fellow advocates will not differentiate between me and others. I am grateful to T. Nagaraju, who took me under his wings despite the fact that I am a transgender. I have attended cases in Assistant Commissioner’s (AC) Court and the AC Court Judge Dr. N.C. Venkataraju has appreciated my work. My aim is to become a Judge and I am preparing to write the exam,” says advocate Shashi with confidence.
“Disparity not acceptable”
I met Shashi when I went to my patient’s house. Then, I got to know that Shashi is a graduate and wanted to pursue higher studies. Society sees the transgenders differently as they usually don’t like to work and prefer to live through other means. I offered a job to Shashi at my Clinic and also financially helped study Law. Shashi is more like a family member than a helper in my Clinic. The hard-work of Shashi must become a story of inspiration to others. – Dr. J. Rashmirani, Chirant Ayurvedic Clinic & Counselling Centre, Vivekananda Circle