MADURAI: The true spirit of inclusive India was at display during the 68th Independence Day celebration at Velliveethiyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School in the Temple city, where a transgender was invited to hoist the national flag on Friday.
Bharathi Kannamma, who hoisted the flag, said that it was a proud moment for the entire transgender community, which after 67 years of being pushed to the fringes was finally getting to enjoy the fruits of hard-earned independence.
Addressing a gathering of over 600 students, Kannamma, in a voice choked with emotion said, “Despite our country getting its independence 68 years ago, we never were free. We were looked down upon as unusual and shunned by the society. We were denied access to education. However, standing before you, I feel that a change is happening. The opportunity to hoist the national flag during a public ceremony is testimony to the fact that we are being brought to the mainstream.”
Urging students not to make fun and humiliate their peers, who were different than them, she narrated the struggles of transgenders. The words struck a chord with the students, who approached Kannamma thanking her for the inspiring words.
A student told Express, “Most of us find the societal pressure to score marks beyond our capacity and breakdown. However, after realising the kind of stigma, discrimination and humiliation the transgenders face, our perception has changed. They are the right role models for us.”
Kannamma also told the students of the struggles freedom fighters underwent to secure a bright future for the country. “I feel honoured to have taken birth in this country and wish that my next birth is also in India,” she told the children.