Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli is a well-known trans activist and speaker. The 35-year-old trans woman says her journey from Vijay to Vyjayanti was a traumatic one and a few books played an major role in helping her understand the travails of identity.
“Though I am not a voracious reader, there are a few books that have influenced me greatly,” she says. Vyjayanti calls herself a competitive reader and adds that most times she is compelled to read thanks to the book reading club she is part of.
“I am not someone who resorts to a book when alone. I get excited to read when people at the reading club start talking about a book and in a bid to be a part of their conversation I too read it,” she shares.
Annihilation of Caste by BR Ambedkar
I am not a dalit but I belong to the OBC, and even in this class I was the privileged one. I never knew the kind of life others who were discriminated led. This book was a sort of eye-opener for me. It encapsulates the ideas of how caste and religion oppress people in their social, moral and economic standing. The book is fierce and untainted and very relevant even today.
Das Kapital by Karl Marx & Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Having spent years in capitalist enterprises, before I got into human rights in 2010, I can’t call my self communist. I feel I am more of a socialist person with left-centric ideology. These books gave powerful insight in the communist ideology and why it continues to be such a great influence on people even today. These books also talk of oppression and how there is a need for revolution that will bring about a classless society.
The Truth About Me:
A Hijra Life Story by A Revathy & I Am Vidya by Living Smiling Vidya
These books also influenced me because I could relate to their life to Revathy and Vidya’s life stories. Of course theirs is worse than mine. I had a some idea about my sense of self and it surfaced soon. Though I had a troubles, I was able to come out of them. For these trans women the road was much more uphill – fighting society and family and their books are a compelling narrative of women trapped within a men’s body. These are stories of extraordinary courage and perseverance and are very inspiring.