The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rebuffed eunuchs to form new party

Bhopal, Aug. 11: They may have won Assembly and municipal elections and probably served the people better than their male or female counterparts, but the hundred-odd politically inclined eunuchs continue to face social ostracism.

Led by Shabnam Mausi, the first eunuch MLA in the country, the eunuchs chased Digvijay Singh to his office, residence and even to the aerodrome over the last three days but the chief minister had no time for them.

The eunuchs, called kinnar in the local dialect, wanted to negotiate seat adjustments with the Congress for the coming Assembly polls, but Digvijay and his party were not least interested. The kinnars have now decided to float their own political party. Mausi, speaking to The Telegraph, said they did not want any truck with the Uma Bharti-led BJP.

“We kinnars are against demolition of any place of worship,” Mausi said.

After a little more persuasion, Mausi was more forthcoming. “You see, most kinnars practise Islam in their private lives. That makes us a sort of untouchable for them (the BJP),” Mausi said.

Mausi, accompanied by kinnar spiritual guru Haji Surriaya, said the political class was consciously trying to keep them away from the affairs of the state.

“We have been facing discrimination of the worst kind. We have been disqualified on the ground of our gender as the electoral rolls register us either as male or female,” Mausi said, referring to the plight of popular Katni mayor Kamla Jaan who was unseated from the mayoral post.

“The matter is pending in the Supreme Court and I am confident about winning the case,” said Jaan, who was part of the delegation that chased Digvijay.

Mausi said five years in the Assembly made her realise that kinnars have to struggle for everything. “Initially, whenever I got up to speak, there were sexist catcalls. But slowly people began to take me seriously,” Mausi said.

There are two incidents Mausi would prefer to forget. One day, Mausi was seen chasing energy minister Bisahu Lal with a chappal in hand. According to Mausi, Bisahu had said something nasty but has been forgiven now.

The other was a spat with state Congress chief Radha Krishna Malviya, who poked fun at Mausi’s gender. Mausi shot back: “Tu Radha hai ki Krishna' (Are you Radha or Krishna')”

Mausi said a movie in which Ashutosh Rana was to have played the MLA from Suhagpur has run into rough weather. The producer, Suresh Bhonsle, has informed Mausi that he has run out of money.

Mausi wanted a role in the film, titled Mausi, as a kinnar guru but could not clear the screen test. “Imagine,” Mausi laughed, “I, who has always been a street performer, was rejected to do a reel role.”

Mausi had full praise for Rana, a Congress sympathiser. “He is well behaved and a keen learner,” Mausi said. “He keeps coming to me to learn how we live.”

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