When Poetry Becomes Your Crossroad Sword: Anshul Sharma Fights For Transgender’s Rights

People of PU is our section where we feature those students of Panjab University and its affiliated colleges whose ventures deserve nothing short of a cover, and yet more than that!

Hum Kinnar hi sahi

Par Insaan ki Upaadhi Chahte hai

Bade bade takht-o-taaj na sahi

Par parivaar mei rehna chahte hai

Hum kinnar hi sahi…  – Anshul Sharma

Anshul Sharma is a student of Panjab University and also the one who has taken a step towards providing a helping hand to transgenders who want to improve their living conditions and find respectable work. “I was in 7th standard when I first realized the kind of discrimination ‘hijras’ or ‘kinnars’ have to face, which is when I decided I have to do something about it. Now, I have finally completed my masters and have gained enough knowledge about the topic, I feel I can take my first step towards a change”, she says.

She has adopted the method of poetry, songs, plays and art to spread awareness about this topic. She’s an active member of poetry societies in Chandigarh such as Kavictactic, and has been performing poetry in slam events to talk about the issues that bother her. Her campaign is called “Meri Kalam Se”. A play called, ‘Umeed’, written by her will be performed soon in Panjab University in which students and professionals are working as actors and directors free of cost. She has also managed to rope in sponsors and is doing this play in collaboration with Saksham, an NGO that works for transgender rights. Talking about the theme of the play, she exclaims, “I have included the different kinds of problems faced by the ‘hijras’ in their day to day life when they try to change their current state. The play beautifully depicts that despite all odd, a change is happening and there’s a ray of hope that’s still out there. I have used a saint to symbolize hope in the society”.

Anshul Sharma's poem

Anshul Sharma’s poem

Anshul had posted about her initiative on Facebook where she received a huge response and this is how she managed to get so many people on board with her idea. A large amount of research also went in while writing the play. She spoke with Dhananjay, the head of Saksham, who is also a transgender enrolled in Panjab University. “I went and talked to a lot of hijras living in the sub urban areas. Most of them do not want to change their lifestyle, they have very strict concerns if the society will accept them or not and they feel comfortable living while resorting to going to people’s homes and asking for money. However, there are some of them who want to look for jobs and start working but it gets difficult for them to find work or even places to live. Recently, an incident happened in Kochi where some transgenders were given a job in Metro but they couldn’t work there since no one rented them a place. This ignorance from society becomes a huge obstruction in their path to equality.” says Anshul talking about her research on the play.

For her future plans, she is preparing for civil services currently and plans to continue her endeavour of spreading information and working for transgender rights through her art. If things go well this way, she wants to collaborate with the NGO Saksham for further projects and raise funds and grants for the NGO.

Feeling proud on this human of Panjab University?

About the Author:

Pragya Pasricha (Dept. of Economics, PU Campus)

Pragya Pasricha
(Dept. of Economics, PU Campus)

Constantly shifting from super energetic to unimaginably lazy while watching Sherlock episodes all day. I’m an enthusiast for good food, great music, enthralling conversations and of course, beautiful literature. Trying to make a difference, one word and one place at a time.



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