1st Edition

Human Rights of the Third Gender in India Beyond the Binary

By Lopamudra Sengupta Copyright 2023
    162 Pages
    by Routledge India

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    This book engages with the discourses on human rights as they apply to the transgender or the hijra community in India, capturing not only their larger struggle for legal rights and dignity but also their personal hardships. It situates the issues and concerns of the Indian transgender community within a global context to explore the extent of social justice in independent India.

    By narrating stories of individuals, local movements and activities of groups like the Association of Transgender/Hijra in Bengal (ATHB) and others, the book gives context to the changes that globalisation has brought to the narrative around transgenders in India. This shift has challenged their marginalisation and has led to stories, films and queer individuals like Chapal Bhaduri – the jatra rani – and the iconic filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh to flourish and become relevant. This book brings these literatures and personal stories to the fore, allowing readers to perceive the changes and the challenges that Indian society faces when it comes to ensuring the rights for transgender people.

    This volume will be of interest to scholars of gender studies, queer studies, literature and social work along with readers who want to engage with the transgender movement and community in India.

    List of tables. Preface. Acknowledgements. Some Useful Definitions. Glossary. List of Abbreviations. 1. Situating Human Rights of the Third Gender within State and Society: An Introduction 2. Intellectual Trajectories of Human Rights 3. The Postmodernist Critique of Traditional Human Rights Theory 4. Postcolonial Approach to Human Rights: Situating Gender in South Asia 5. Constitutionalisation and Realisation of Human Rights of the Third Gender in Post-Independent India 6. Civil Society and Human Rights Activism 7. Representation of the Third Gender in Indian Cinema and Literature 8. Globalisation and the New Age of Rights 9. Interrogating the Major Paradigms of Human Rights; Analysing the Dynamics of Change and Tracing Future Possibilities. Bibliography. Index.


    Lopamudra Sengupta is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Bangabasi College, University of Calcutta and has combined her academic career with policy advocacy and social activism. She has been engaged with the transgender movement in Kolkata for more than two decades. Her areas of research interest are human rights, gender and development studies in South Asia. She is the recipient of the UGC Travel Grant for International Conference (2018–19) and Shastri Publication Grant from Shastri Indo Canadian Institute (2018–19) for her monograph “Human Rights of the Third Gender in India: Beyond the Binary”. She is the Project Director of a Major Research Project on ‘Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development’, awarded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi (ICSSR, 2019). She is presently a member of the West Bengal Transgender Persons Development Board.

    "Lopamudra Sengupta's book is an important contribution to the contemporary interest on the role of globalization on transgender communities."—Serena Nanda, author of Neither Man nor Woman: the Hijras of India (2nd edition)

    "This is a timely and important book as India finds itself, perhaps rather unwillingly, drawn into discussions of gender and sexuality like never before. This book will doubtless incite discussion and comment towards more engagements with issues of gender and sexual diversity that have now been recognised as crucial to the socio-economic health of a country."—Niladri R. Chatterjee, Professor, Dept. of English, University of Kalyani