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See all stories by Tanima
She is coming. Vanquishing the evil for good, riding on her mighty tiger, with sword and nine powers in her decennial hands. The earth has missed her. It has been a whole year long wait. With her arrival, the earth will turn holy. Her powers are boons of the Gods. Within her lives her better half, an incarnation very true to life, the form where she meets her husband’s half and turns into ‘Ardhanarishwar’(half man and half woman, an androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati). This stage has been bestowed upon few souls on earth and they today form the third-gender community.
A Bhubaneswar based photographer, Boon Pattnaik, un-curtains these very Goddesses through his lens in the holy premises of Lord Lingaraj Temple. Adorned as married deities, the trans women showcase feminity and power which has been unseen and advantaged by the human race for ages.
In the photos, we see Meera Parida, a trans social activist and a resident of Begunia block, Khurda, and other Kinnars from Sakha Organization, Khurda, Odisha. Meera has been honored with above 200 awards, including the Best Transgender Leader in India award, 2016, by UNDP, NACO and HIV Alliance for her work in protecting the rights of marginalized groups who are vulnerable to HIV and AIDS in India.
Her achievements speak for her, silencing the stereotypical people who degrade third-gender.
Born as Mayadhara Parida, and being greeted as a male initially in life, she had her share of battle to keep her choice and identity real as it is. She demands and loves to be respected regardless of her gender.
Adhering to her searing confidence and dedication towards solving and eradicating social issues, she has also been crowned as the president of All Odisha Kinnar Mahasang. Her reputed works have buzzed around, crossing geographical boundaries of the nation. She has also traveled to the foreign lands with the dignity of chief guest in several programs and for her role in emphasizing the transgenders rights, she has been additionally honored and recognized even by The White House, USA.
So, let us view what our minds couldn’t see earlier.
A creation of the creator, ‘Brahma’ and incarnated through the Vishnu as Mohini, here ‘she’ stands.
Here she meditates to unite the ‘Shaiva’ and the ‘Shakta’ and be the most powerful force on earth.
Her Bahuchara form peers through the casts, we, the humans have known and worshipped.
The vermillion streak, speaks of her devotion to the one and only Shiva, the God whose wrath can destroy all creation.
She has been inscribed in these walls through ages, speaking of her existence through the time.
Holy she is, though worshipped just by her own kin. Alas! No human eye could know her magnanimity.
In her lives Vishnu, who clad himself as Mohini to meet Rudra. She is Vaishnava and desired by the Shaiva.
She is the face of Krishna (Mohini who married Aravan), with her ‘sakhas’ who accompany her in the mortal world to be revered for ages.
She leads her clan, fighting all, boon-ing the ones she shelters, protecting her own kin.
The universe surrounds her. Though her soul is human, she is divine and fierce within.
All credits go to Boon Patnaik