Defying Discrimination, All Transgender Hijra Board, organises Durga Puja in Kolkata, West Bengal

The All Transgender Hijra Board (ATHB), Kolkata celebrated Durga Puja amidst all odds during the pandemic, in West Bengal in October 2020. Durga Puja is a festival that is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal in the state of West Bengal. But the trans community has always been forbidden in participating in any of the rituals of the festival. The special theme of ardha narishwar (half-male half-female form of Lord Shiva) was inaugurated by Ranjita Sinha of ATHB, to celebrate the festival of Durga Puja that saw participation of trans persons and other individuals of the community otherwise forbidden from such practices. Transcending the boundaries of caste, class, sex and creed, ATHB celebrated the four day festival, initiating a safe space for individuals shunned from performing the rituals of Sindoor Khela (smearing of vermilion as a part of the ritual during Vijaya Dashami). Aparajita Bose, Sanchayita Jadav and Savio Pinto from HRLN Kolkata unit participated in Sindoor Khela with ATHB.