Padma Shri Awardee, Transgender Joga Nritya Performer - The Incredible Story Of Manjamma Jogati
Popular and acclaimed practitioner of the Jogati Nritya art form, Manjamma Jogati from Karnataka, was named as one of the Padma Shri awardees last night.
That made her amongst the few from the transgender community to receive this award.
From ridicule, rebuke, rape to recognition of this highest order, Manjamma Jogati’s life has come a full circle. The first transgender President of the Karnataka Janapada Academy has been awarded the Padma Shri this Republic Day.
In a tweet response to this author’s wish, Jogati responded saying “Human is Human, there are no lesser human beings. Art is art; there are no lesser Art/Artis...For many like me - Art itself is life”.
This Padma Shri that Jogati has been awarded is a recognition of not just yet another art or cultural practice but an act of demolishing bias of all sorts from gender, race, class, caste, creed and at the same time reiterating the subtle role of Dharma in the present political regime.
For Jogati is a transgender whose journey is inspirational to say the least - from being ridiculed and ’treated’ for being born as Manjunath Shetty but aspiring to be a woman, from being disowned by parents and taking to the streets, from being raped by multiple men as she was hunting for answers to life’s questions to deciding to die just before her life’s calling found her by a street side in the form of Jogati Nritya, Jogati‘s tale is a fable.
A fable whose latter halves are now, thanks to a changing cultural narrative in the nation, finding recognition she hadn’t ver fathomed.
From begging on the streets after a fortunately failed suicide attempt to being initiated to the Jogati Nritya bearing the divine on her head and dancing as a devotee of Yelamma to being a cultural brand ambassador and last year being appointed the President of the Karnataka Janapada Academy, the first transgender to hone such a post in public office, Jogati has carved a niche for not just herself but the entire spectrum of diversity.
She has taken Jogati Nritya to platforms across the nation and was awarded the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award in 2010. Her life is part of school lessons in the state and part of the syllabi of the Karnataka Folk University.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 999/year is the best way you can support our efforts.