India sees an interesting phase with regards to the recently christened Third Sex. After prolonged courtroom arguments gave likes of Lesbians, gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders a new gender category to cherish, this Pitrapaksha marks the restarting of a 1000 year old tradition which got lost in transition over the years.
For those like Rishi Ajay Das and Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Laxmi Narayan Tripathi also known as an outspoken Transgender activist, this marks the turning of a new leaf in their chapter. Pinddaan of all ancestors of transgenders was restarted in Varanasi.
Pishachmochan, known as Vimal Tirth marked the revival of the tradition of offering Pind-Daan and Shradh to Gurus and Mai (eunuch) by transgenders of Kinnar Akhada . The day when this happened was Matri Navami during the ongoing Pitripaksha.
It is a step which follows the establishment of Kinnar Akhada at the recent Ujjain Kumbh. The second major step by transgenders who embraced Sanatan/Hinduism.
150 priests of Kashi enabled them, to perform ‘Tripindi Shradh’ for the peace of the souls of eunuchs over the last millenium. The rituals were performed amidst chants of Vedic hymns and prayers.
“ I am feeling relieved after performing Pind-Daan for our Gurus and Mai. But I will be satisfied only after society gives us our rights to live a dignified life,” said a relaxed Laxmi to the media.
With the beginning of the rituals of Pind-Daan on a covered platform, heavy showers started. But that didn’t deter anyone.
The last time Kinnars offered pind-daan, a ritual undertaken by the Hindus to ensure their ancestors attain salvation, was in the 16th century during the Mughal rule.
Before performing the rituals, eunuchs and transgenders also paid obeisance at the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Hindu mythology has it, a person who dies in Kashi attains moksha (salvation) and is freed from the cycle of re-birth. Hindus throng Varanasi to cremate their dead. For performing the ‘pind-daan’, however, they go to the Pishach Mochan Kund.
Irrespective of their religion, transgenders are generally buried. The burial process takes place in distant areas, instead of actual graveyards. Hindu priests decline performing post death rites and hence annual shraddh ceremony, doesn’t take place for them.
According to the 2011 Census in India, India has around 6 lakhs transgendered people currently.
Union Cabinet has approved the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 some months back.