Today in New Delhi, India
Sep 14, 2018-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

First time in Kumbh Mela, Kinnar Akhada to be a hub of post-Sec 377 awareness

For the first time ever, at least 2,500 transgender monastics and seers will participate in the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad early next year under the banner of the Kinnar Akhada

india Updated: Sep 14, 2018 07:17 IST
Rajesh Srivastava
Rajesh Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Allahabad
Kumbh Mela,Kinnar Akhada,Section 377
Crowd of devotess at Ganga puja arti on the banks of river Ganges during Kumbh Mela at Haridwar. (HT File Photo)

For the first time ever, at least 2,500 transgender monastics and seers will participate in the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad early next year under the banner of the Kinnar Akhada.

Kinnar village on the banks of the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati in Allahabad,will serve as a hub of culture and religion and work to spread awareness of the situation in the aftermath of the partial scrapping of Section 377, said Acharaya Mahamandaleshwar Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, who heads the order.

The Kumbh Mela will be held between January 15 and March 4 on the banks of the Sangam.Members of the Kinnar Akhada will share the culture of the transgenders, their rituals and lifestyle with the world community during the religious congregation, said Tripathi.

“As transgenders from different parts of the country will arrive during the Kumbh, our objective will also be to unite transgenders, sort out their issues, eliminate misconceptions about them, inform people about their rights and the Supreme Court ruling (quashing Section 377). Besides we will spread a message among masses about the position the transgenders hold in the Sanatan Dharma (mainstream Hinduism also known as the eternal faith),” added Tripathi.

On 6 September, the Supreme Court ruled that gay sex among consenting adults was not an offence, reading down the British-era section 377 of the penal code that penalised people for their sexual orientation. The Section had become weapon for the harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities “and subject them to discrimination,” chief justice Dipak Misra observed.

A series of religious and cultural programmes will be held in the village every evening and folk artistes from different parts of the country will perform there, Tripathi added.

“Talks are underway with Kumbh Mela Authority (KMA) officials to get land in the mela kshetra to set up the Kinnar village. We will meet the commissioner of Allahabad division in this regard soon,” said Tripathi.

Kinnar Akhada seers had attended the annual Magh Mela in Allahabad early this year . Since then, they have been seeking recognition for the Kinnar Akhada from the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the apex body of Hindu saints, but to no avail.

Swami Narendra Giri, the ABAP president, said, “The Kinnar Akhada is a self-proclaimed monastic order of transgenders. They are not part of the 13 akhadas. Hence, there is no reason to give them recognition.”

Kumbh mela officer Vijay Kiran Anand said the KMA  will begin the procedure of allotting land to set up camps from November-December. If the Kinnar Akhada members approach the authorities, their request will also be considered favourably, he added.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 07:16 IST