Author interview: Satish Chandra on ‘Reengagement of Transgender People’
Satish Chandra talks about how he was motivated to edit this collection of essays on transgender people and spreading awareness about their inclusion in society.
Congratulations on the release of ‘Reengagement of Transgender People’. Though the title says a lot about the content, would you might elaborating?
The title is self explanatory. My editor had chosen this title of the book after a long discussion with experts, social activists and educationists.
Initially, the editor had proposed the title of the book as ‘Rehabilitation of Transgender Persons’. But after some discussion on what the different chapters were about, we found the underlining theme was reengaging transgender persons in all aspects of social life.
And finally this present title was chosen.
What is the focus of the book?
This book focuses on the reengagement of transgender persons in all the aspects of society i.e. educational, social, political and economical etc. Their rights must be protected and they should be given equal opportunities like others in every aspects of life.
Chapters in the book focus on transgender people with reference to Sexuality, Psychosocial, Legal, Economic, Curricular Aspects and Policies; role of Teacher in Gender inclusive Class, Mainstreaming Transgenders through Distance Education to enhance their educational skills, Educational Status of Transgender Persons, Role of Social Media in Higher Education of Transgender Person, Challenges in Teacher Training on Gender Diversity, Transgender Child and Sexuality and Transgender Children’s Literature, Status of Transgender Persons, Role of Teachers, Family and Media on Gender Equality etc. have also been discussed. Biographies of transgender people have also been included.
This book will help researchers, teachers, activists and policy makers how to treat them and what reforms should be taken place with reference to classroom teaching, curriculum, and in educational policies etc.
How long and taxing was the research?
This book is not based on my research, it is collection of chapters contributed by different authors who are working in the concerned fields and were keenly interested to write their chapter from their own point of view.
But the concept of the book came to my mind when I was guiding my PG scholars to choose some unique area or virgin areas for their PG dissertations and they could contribute to their field of study.
I gave example to conduct a study on transgender persons could be a unique and new area to work upon it.
One of my PG scholars expressed an interest to work on this area.
I started to work with that scholar and felt the need of literature on transgender people from educational point of view. And finally I planned this book.
I have been researching on transgender persons from 2015.
Two papers of my PG scholar have been published in journals, and she presented a paper in National Seminar organized by Central Institute of Education, University of Delhi.
Later on, I also published two chapters on classroom challenges to transgender children and attitude of community people towards transgender persons. I wrote one chapter for a book entitled ‘Gender, Caste and Media’ published by Netaji Subhash Open University Kolkata.
Presently, one of M.Ed. scholar is working his dissertation based on transgender people. I am keenly interested to work upon transgender pedagogy.
Did you need to meet any real-life personality for the sake of research?
Yes, I met to some of the transgender people in my locality. I tried to understand them — what are they expecting from our society and system.
Actually before starting to work on transgenders, I did not take them seriously like others and never thought them and their life conditions seriously. But when one of PG scholar chose them as her dissertation, then I started to think of them academically. Though it was not my area of study but my research interest area is inclusion and I found i could work in this area.
Once I decided to guide my scholar I started to meet the ‘hijras’ in my local community and some them behaved properly but some of them reacted abnormally. But I learnt a lot about them whenever I met them in groups or individually.
Initially, they did not want to share their life activities, challenges and traditions but when they realised that I am serious and wanted to know them for their betterment, they opened up.
Most of them asked me what will you do after discussion with us? What will be the benefit from your book to us or our community? I tried to convince them that for their betterment, they should start getting an education or they should start skill training etc. I never met any famous transgender personality. But plan to meet anyone soon.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on two more books on transgender persons and their problems. First one is in English and another one in Hindi, and presently guiding one PG scholar for his dissertation on transgender persons. I am planning to conduct some more research on transgender persons.
What kind of support did you receive during the course of writing the book?
Initially, many tried to demotivate me. But our Supreme Court has given the identity of ‘Third Gender’ to the transgenders, was my reply to them.
But several academicians appreciated this effort and kept motivating me to work on this project.
All the authors who contributed in this book co-operated with me.
After collecting the chapters, I was in search of a publisher. But no one was ready to publish this book.
Finally I approached Power Publishers from Kolkata and they readily published it.
Although it is my first edited book, I faced many challenges but finally overcame them. This book taught me a lot how to work and how to cooperate with authors, publishers etc. I thank everyone who supported me, motivated me guided me.