A new pro-transgenders organisation called Kinnar Akhara will hold post death rituals for all transgenders who have died in recent years. The ceremony will take place on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi.
When the period of Pitra Paksha begins in September, a collective Pind Daan ceremony will be held for all transgenders who passed away recently. Pind Daan is a ritual for the departed that is supposed to free souls from the circle of life and death.
For hundreds of years now, transgenders, irrespective of their religion, have been buried and not cremated. Most transgenders bury the dead in secluded areas, not in graveyards. Hindu priests refuse to perform post-death rituals for transgenders and it is due to this the annual shraddh ceremony is not performed for transgenders. Allowing transgenders to perform Pind Daan will go a long way towards ensuring they gain acceptance in society.
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Rishi Ajai Das, a founder member of the Kinnar Akhara, told The Asian Age, “Every Hindu is expected to complete 16 rituals that include rituals at birth, naming ceremony, eating food, mundan (shaving of head), Janeu (holy thread) marriage and cremation. Transgenders have been deprived of their right to a dignified end and we are now making sure that this does not happen any longer.”
Lakshmi Tripathi, the Mahamandaleshwar of the Akhara, said, “We are going to break the three century-old-tradition that does not allow post-death rituals for transgenders. We will start the practice of cremating transgenders.”
The Pind Daan ceremony will take place on September 24. A group of 151 Brahmins and other saints will be in attendance.
Acharya Badri Narayan, a priest who will supervise at the ceremony, said, “This is a major landmark and also proof of the fact that times are changing. Transgenders are human beings and have the right to all rituals. This will also help in bringing them into the social mainstream.”