Relief eludes transgender gharanas of Bhopal

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08/02/2020

Their income has dried up due to COVID-19 restrictions. “They came for men and women but not us,” lamented Devi Singh, 30, from the Mangalwara gharana [family] of Bhopal’s transgender community. Sitting at a haveli in the old city, she pines to return to work soon — collecting donations door-to-door — but for the lockdown as no relief has reached them so far. Vehicular traffic, marriages, religious festivals and birthdays — social gatherings now restricted in view of COVID-19, brought the only income for Ms. Singh, head of a household nurturing 17 transgender persons dependent on collections from the once-bustling New Market. “The crowd is our earning but the pandemic has stolen that away,”said Ms. Singh, biding time singing bhajans at the haveli. Around 500 members of the Mangalwara and Budhwara gharanas here, with no formal employment and already battling discrimination and stigma, are awaiting the easing of movement restrictions and businesses to get back on track for donors to be charitable.

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