‘Police Uniform Gives Me A Life Beyond ‘Badhai’ & Begging’
In an exemplary first, Chhattisgarh Police recently recruited 13 transgender persons as trainee constables. Krishi Tandi, 23, one of the recruits, tells her story to LokMarg
The growing-up period for a transgender child is never easy. But if you are born into a poor household of a small town, it can be traumatic. I too faced dilemmas, dejections, discrimination and derogatory remarks at a young age. It was difficult to reconcile to what I felt from inside and what was expected of me in the world out there.
It was only when I met other members of transgender community in Raipur (where I was born), the trauma became bearable. Yet, it pained me that the social mindset in our country leaves the members of transgender community with only two options for livelihood: Begging or Badhai (singing and dancing at wedding or childbirth). I even thought of ending my life at times. But then I met Vidya Ma’am (in 2017) and positivity breathed into my life.
Vidya (Rajput) Ma’am is a community leader who helped other transgender persons fight back the stigma. She told me (and several others) that there was a provision where a transgender can apply for a column in Chhattisgarh Police constabulary. Ma’am herself was past the recruitment age but she wanted others to prepare and appear for the same. Here was an opportunity for me to live with dignity, I realized.
About 27 of us applied online for the posts in December 2017. There would be one physical strength exam and one written test. Both posed a big challenge. We had never seen a running track closely, let alone indulging into any kind of sports activity. How to train with proper sports equipment was another worry. Vidya Ma’am stepped in, once again. She arranged a trainer for us and we put in extra hours to cross the eligibility threshold. During the first few days we returned from the track with swollen limbs, muscle injuries and completely drained. But none of us called it quits.
The written exam carried its own set of hardships. Although I am Class 12 pass-out, the bullying in school had kept me from proper all-round learning. Again, Ma’am sought help from high-ranking police officials in the state and got us a police facility to study and prepare for the exam.
A few days before our physical test on April 5, 2018, I lost my father. But that only made me more determined. I cracked my physical tests and looked forward to clearing the written exam, scheduled a few months later. We took the exams but as luck would have it, the results kept getting delayed for one reason or the other. This was followed by one year of lockdown amid pandemic in 2020.
Well, we never thought it would be easy for us to don the uniform so none of us felt disappointed or demotivated. The Chhattisgarh Police finally decided to take fresh physical and written exams in January 2021. This called for fresh training, after one year of little physical activity. We trained hard. This time the physical exam was tougher, and had a few extra strength tests added. The exams were held on January 29 and results were announced on March 1. I cannot express my happiness when I saw my name on the list of the 13 who had cracked it.
I draw my strength from Vidya Ma’am who saw us through from the first post to the final. With a state uniform and badge, I will take this as an opportunity to contribute to our society in a positive manner. The (police) force has been kind in accepting our aspirations, so now it is our time to give back to the institution and society.
As told to Mamta Sharma