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Manabi Joins As First Transgender Principal In Krishnanagar Women's College

2015-06-09 23:55

Manabi Banerjee being welcomed by the students of the college. Picture by ABHI GHOSH


Krishnanagar, June 9: Professor Manabi Bandopadhaya does not want to be focused only for a gender based identity anymore. The associate professor who has been chosen as the country’s first transgender principal, now only wants to satisfy the unfulfilled dreams of her student life which suffered in her endeavor to establish her identity in a biased society.

Struggle of the transgender across the globe got a new identity in Nadia’s Krishnanagar on Tuesday when Manabi, joined Krishnanagar Women’s college as its Principal.

But, for Manabi, the identity as the transgender has the limitations as so far it was for survival and to establish her, but now she wants to be the real guardians of the 1750 students of the Krishnanagar Women’s College, which was set up in 1958.

“I want to be their mother in real sense. I want to remain with them as the main guiding spirit, as their friend. I can recall those days of my student life when I faced questions from the society in everyday. In this endeavor sometime I have to act like a teacher, as a friend and sometimes as an administrator, but my sole objective will be to protect them and to ensure their good future”, Manabi said, who has recently been appointed as the chairperson of State Transgender Development Board by the state government.

Manabi is happy that the society has been going through a change in approach.

“It is a good development, but more awareness about the LGBT community is required. Coordination between society and the family to which a transgender belong should be more protective and supportive. I am happy that the state government has come up with new ideas and sex reassignment surgeries at government hospital, which once was very costly affair. I will extend all support if I found any transgender student in my college, which I never got in my student life”.

Manabi was selected as the principal by the West Bengal College Service Commission along with 149 other associate professors. She is a doctorate and has 20 years teaching experience, which are mandatory requirement for such post. She joined from Vivekananda Satobarshiki College in Jhargram.

A visibly elated Manabi said: “It appears that I have reached the destination for which I have been running hard so long. I am grateful to the state government as it has considered me suitable for the post of principal of this college”.

“I am happier because I have joined this college as a woman, not as a reserved candidate of any particular category”, she added further.

Professor Manabi, a resident of Naihati in North 24-Parganas, initially known as ‘Somnath’, had undergone a sex change surgery during 2003.

Significantly enough, Manabi’s joining as the principal coincides world acclaimed American decathlete William Bruce Jenner’s complete transformation into woman in last month. Jenner, who created a world record in decathlon in 1973 summer Olympics, turned into a woman with a new name Caitlyn after sex realignment surgeries in April this year.

But, Manabi feels her life is almost different than Jenner. "It was my question of survival, life and death, but for Jenner it was an experiment by choice at the age of 65, for which I am jealous of him and the society where he lived"

The teachers and students of Krishnanagar Women’s college also feel that Manabi’s life and she should be a role model to all. A teacher said: “Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlyn Jenner was just a personal experiment, but for Manabi it was fight against the society and against her gender which she got by birth”.

So the students, teachers, non teaching staff as well as the members of the college’s governing body gathered at the college on Tuesday to welcome Manabi as a mark of their respect to Manabi. Boquet of flowers and sweets were offered in abundance to Manabi when she arrived at the college donning a yellow cotton saree with a matching red blouse at 10.55 Am.

Teacher in charge Bulu Mandal was the first to receive Manabi at her chamber. The students, teachers and others followed her

Payel Halder, a third year Sanskrit honors student, who also the general secretary of the TMCP run students’ union of the college said: “It is a great moment in my life to welcome such a great fighter. I heard a lot about her and feel inspired too. I hope she would show us the right way to become winner in life”.

College’s head clerk Amal Biswas was elated to welcome his new boss too. “She is a courageous woman. The college has many problems. I am optimistic that she would be able to regain the lost glory of the college”.

After the welcome session, Manabi formally submitted her joining letter addressed to the president of the college’s governing body.

After that interacting with the college officials, Manabi entered the teachers’ room where she interacted with the teachers for about one hour.

Buddhiswar Halder, an associate professor of Philosophy said: “She sought help and cooperation of all the teachers to revive the college and to regain its lost glory. She was concerned hearing that the academic standard of the college has been degraded during the past few years for different reasons. She appealed the teachers to work as a team for sake of the college and the students. I am hopeful to have a great experience to work under her”.

Later speaking to the media persons Manabi said: “As the administrator I will largely depend on the goodwill of the students and the officials. My endeavor will be to fascinate the students towards the college with academic avenues. I will try to ensure that students do not lose interest in college. I feel the teachers have a great role to play. I have appealed them for help. I will try to develop a mutual bond with the students and the teachers, I will hear their problems and try to give them space even sacrificing own interest. I will also try my best to ensure security to the students. I welcome students politics in campus for a good cause and will not mind even to be gheraoed by them. I never call police to be free”.

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