Ongoing seven-phase parliamentary election to determine whether PM Modi will get third term

(MENAFN) As India's seven-phase parliamentary election unfolds, captivating the attention of the nation and the world alike, an often-overlooked aspect of the electoral landscape is gaining prominence: the participation of transgender candidates. Amidst the fervor surrounding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bid for a third term, India's electorate of 970 million includes a significant contingent of over 48,000 transgender individuals.

In a notable shift reflecting evolving societal attitudes, the number of candidates contesting the election has surged fourfold from 1,874 in India's inaugural election in 1952 to 8,039 candidates in the current electoral cycle. Among this diverse array of aspirants, three transgender candidates have stepped onto the national stage, seeking to represent the interests of their communities in the country's highest legislative body.

However, the journey towards political participation for transgender individuals in India is not merely a contemporary phenomenon; it is deeply rooted in the country's rich historical and cultural tapestry. India's longstanding tolerance and acceptance of transgender persons trace back to ancient traditions that recognized the existence of a 'third gender.'

The transgender community in India encompasses various identities, including Hijras, eunuchs, Kothis, Aravanis, Jogappas, Shiv-Shakthis, and more. Evidence of the recognition of third-gender individuals can be found in Hindu scriptures such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as in texts dating back to Vedic times.

Throughout Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, as well as in ancient Vedic culture, the concept of three genders was acknowledged. Sacred texts, including the Vedas and the Kama Sutra, delineate individuals into categories based on their nature, recognizing the existence of a 'third nature' alongside male and female identities. Moreover, ancient Hindu law, medicine, linguistics, and astrology allude to the presence of third-sex individuals, highlighting their integral role in pre-modern Indian society.

Against this backdrop of cultural heritage and historical acknowledgment, the emergence of transgender candidates in India's contemporary political arena signifies a poignant reclaiming of agency and representation. As these candidates vie for electoral success, they not only seek political office but also endeavor to uphold and revitalize the longstanding traditions of inclusivity and acceptance that have characterized Indian society for millennia.



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