While we have been hearing for so long about strengthening and expanding legal protection for transgender community worldwide, people continue to mistreat and abuse them and India is no exception. Transgender people have traditionally been an invisible minority in India, seen only at traffic lights begging for alms or blessing newlyweds and newborn babies.
However, there is much more to them than what meets the eye. A case in point: a pop band of transgender women from India who have made it to the soundtrack of Salman Khan’s Sultan. Curated by Shameer Tandon, the group comprises six members - Fida Khan, Ravina Jagtap, Asha Jagtap, Chandni Suvarnakar, Komal Jagtap and Bhavika Patil. So far, they have released five tracks. Their latest effort, is a Sultan salute track titled 'Raula Paye Gaya' which was released last week and also features Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Other songs from the band, released earlier in the year, have also featured Bollywood stars and generated millions of views on YouTube.
“This was an effort to get the community front and centre, and get people talking,” said Ashish Patil, head of Y-Films who put the band together. “I decided, why not do it with song and dance, which are so integral to their tradition.”
India has about 2 million transgender people. In 2014, the country's Supreme Court ruled that they had equal rights under the law, and granted legal status to the third gender. Alongside the right to marry and inherit property, they are also eligible for quotas in jobs and educational institutions.