Ardhanareshwar: Half male, half female or simply two dimensions of life longing to meet – outside as well as inside.
– Shri Jaggi Vasudeva
In the silent city of Coimbatore thrives a movement of change brought about by an NGO working to empower transgender people, training them in vocations that will ensure them a deserving place in mainstream life.
Shanti Banaras, a conscious brand, based out of Varanasi salutes 8 brave people with AKATHYA (Inexplicable in sanskrit), a photo essay crafted to salute their inner beauty and power to fight the odds of societal rejection, ridicule and violence.
The photo essay presents the life journey of eight prisitne souls, wrapped in weaves, hand picked from the Shanti Banaras master weave series. Each a celebration of colour, craft and the rich culture of inclusion that the mystical city of Banaras is known for.
“ Its incredible how each of these fiesty people have risen above the ordeals of rejection and disdain to find a life of dignity for themselves. Each texture of their life as rich as a loom, hand woven in our atelier and each shade of their life as bright. It was our privelege to capture them in our weaves,” Shared Amrit. “This photo essay above all is an ode to the city of Varanasi that is a symbol of co existence. The abode where the most vibrant of life lives next door to the abode of death.”
Indian mythology gives generous refences to their existence. Shikhandi the warrior and Mohini the tantalizing temptress, both traipsing their way across the topsy-turvy terrain of fable and myth.
The life story of each of these women is incredulous to say the least. And beautiful, as exotic as the enchanting florals found in Shanti Banaras’ jangla print. As rare as their brocades and as rich as the tapestries that trnasform their saris, shawls and blouses into pieces of art.
The photo essay salutes 8 transgender people and their tales of fortitude:
YOUNG RAZIA IS A CLASSICAL DANCER, ASPIRING ACTOR, STUDENT OF HISTORY AND A BELIEVER IN KARMA.
” You never know how strong you are till being strong becomes the only choice.”
SARA IS A MAKE UP ARTIST BEAUTICIAN AND A BORN NURTURER.
” Beauty is soul deep. It must pierce through the eyes and reach the heart, capturing you like a reckless romantic.”
SHOBHANA IS A DANCER AND A CHEF. SHE COOKS UP A STORM ON STAGE AND IN THE KITCHEN.
“I believe in miracles. I am one. Born speech and hearing impaired, I sing today to my heart’s desire as I hear the birds sing to me. “
VINITA IS A HOME MAKER, A MOTHER AND A WIFE, COBBLING UP MONEY TO OWN A HOUSE BIG ENOUGH FOR A CHILD TO GROW IN.
” I live the utopian dream of having a family and husband by my side .and dream of adopting a child who will be an IAS officer.”
YAMINI IS A 9 TO 5 EMPLOYEE IN A TECH FIRM.
“Sometimes the universe’s harsh rejection can lead to deep acceptance of self. I reciprocate the world’s rejection by loving and nurturing trees as one would children.”
TASLIMA IS AN ACTIVIST, A CHANGE MAKER, A DOER, A FIESTY SOUL WHO WILL NEVER ACCEPT NO FOR AN ANSWER.
“Change is hidden deep within each of us. All we have to do is simply find our groove in life. I help many find theirs.”
SUJITHRA IS TAMIL NADU’S FIRST RADIO JOCKEY AND A STUDENT OF CRIMINOLOGY WHO WANTS TO FIGHT FOR MY PEOPLE’S RIGHTS.
” Close your eyes and hear me spin the celestial melody of God.”
ANUSHYA IS AN AUTO RICKSHAW DRIVE
” Torture followed me like a train and brought me to a life of fruition. For, hurt is the only way to heal.”