Once upon a time, there lived a man by the name of Ram Kishen and he was a transgender. Being born in an orthodox Hindu family he was never able to accept his own sexuality as to be straight was a norm. Moreover, he was taught the virtues of ‘casteism’ by the various ‘rudimentary textbooks’ which he could never accept. Being an empath, he grew averse of this Hinduism specifically when he witnessed his best friend, Suhara, being molested by a few men who possessed a hierarchical thinking. All this made him feel a need to break away from norms and religions.
Time flew past and it was 1974. He was 20 and was facing an inherent conflict as his family wanted him to manage their business but he wanted to be an actor. Finally, the pressure reached its pinnacle and he decided to run away to Bombay to try a hand in Bollywood. Suhara, on the other hand, was being compelled to have an early marriage whereas she wanted to be a model. So, both of them decided to run away together and assist each other in their pursuits. They silently slipped out of their homes and caught the final train from New Delhi station to Bombay. Getting down at the Central Station with no clue about where to start, they began their new lives.
As expected, it was a tough task that they embroiled themselves in; with Kishen being rejected films due to his sexual orientation and Suhara offered assignments in exchange for sex. Both were feeling dejected but the only relief was that they had a shelter over their heads by the grace of the brothel owner ‘Madam’ as they were staying in her establishment somewhere in Kamatipura. For a living, he started driving a taxi but was constantly harassed from the stigma around being a ‘hijra’; and she started working in a beauty parlor. Once, during a December evening, Kishen escorted Suhara to an apartment of a producer located in Cuffe Parade where both were to audition for two roles in an upcoming movie. However, there they were brutally raped by the producer and his friend as they were pissed drunk. Patriarchy certainly represses one’s sexual preferences but drunkenness leads it to the surface.
Suhara and Kishen managed to cope with the trauma as they were there for each other along with Madam and her girls of the brothel. They got back to their normal lives and continued to struggle harder to make their names famous in the film industry that they picked up every small role that they could. There was another twist as on 25th June 1975 a state of Emergency was declared in India. Many were expecting it to be a dark period but it was quite the opposite as those were the best times that the country could ever have had.
The freedom of expression was given an upper hand as the government realized the importance of a genuine public opinion. Goenka’s Indian Express was made the official newspaper of the nation. The ‘beautification drive’ was a success as many plants were plants; there were many renovations of the heritage structures done free of cost; the congestion of the slums was reduced by constructing many pockets of free houses. During her tenure, Mrs. Gandhi passed three major ordinances-the regulation of prostitution, the removal of Section 377 of the Constitution and free education for the underprivileged. Also, the procedure of investigation into sexual, communal and caste offenses was made more stringent.
These were the times when the lives of Suhara and Kishen flourished as they took the ‘novel artists’ grant from the government and started a drama company named ‘Vishwas’ which produced many plays that reflected on how ruthless and repressed the society was. Both of them became activists who struggled hard for many stigmas. They were equally vocal for the rights of women and the politically or the socially repressed. In 1985, Vishwas produced a play titled ‘The Life and Times of India’ which gained the protagonists more fame so they could raise a demand for a separate island where the downtrodden could live with all amenities needed and all the rights provided by the Indian Constitution. The demand was accepted and the government provided them an uninhabited island a few kilometers from Daman. It was declared that a more direct democracy would be practiced here.
In the year 2012, the people of the mainland were guilty and realized the need to be more liberal so they invited the Islanders back which they graciously accepted. The date of passage was set for December 12th but unfortunately, that’s the day when the Mayans had predicted that a cycle of the world would end hence there were many calamities. While struggling to rescue all the others, Suhara and Kishen passed away by being stuck in a whirlpool in the ocean. Now in the year 2045, we relate all our open-mindedness and peaceful coexistence to the efforts of the two.
Honestly, none of these things happened as you know. The Emergency was a dark period when public opinion was never considered. There may not have been a Suhara or a Kishen but their struggles are symbolic. Let’s be aware that patriarchy, various stigmas, hierarchies etc. are ruining us so we must be more broadminded and realize the importance of coexistence.
Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction and should be taken in light humor.