A First For India: A Transgender Principal

Manabi Banerjee

Breaking the society's barriers and creating history, Manabi Banerjee (Bandhopadhyay) , as she is set to become India’s  first transgender college principal at Bengal’s Krishnagar Women's College from 9th June. Currently, she is working as an associate professor in Bengali at the Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya.
 
"Of course I am excited, but the media attention has left me in a tizzy. I have been flooded with calls. I understand that my achievement is a big step forward for the transgender movement in the country, but my priority is my students," says Manabi, according to the ‘Indian Express’.
 
She did her Master of Arts (MA) in Bengali and joined the Vivekananda Centenary College in Jhargram sub-division as a lecturer in the late 1990s.
 
“This decision was taken by the College Service Commission. I don’t interfere in their decisions. They are aware of our open mind. I am happy with this decision,” state education minister Partha Chatterjee said in a ‘Times of India’ report.  
 
Chairman of the college governing body and Technical Education minister Ujjal Biswas said, "We were in need of a principal with a strong personality to run the college smoothly."
 
Lal Hangloo, vice-chancellor of the Kalyani University to which Krishnagar Women's College is affiliated, also welcomed the decision and said, "Manabi is a fine human being, a good academician and an able administrator. We are hopeful her appointment will empower other members of the transgender community."
 
Manabi was born as Somnath, and underwent a sex change operation in 2003, which is when she adopted the name Manabi which in Bengali means “woman”.  She currently lives with her adopted son Debashish Manabiputro, and has even written a bestselling novel called “Endless Bondage”. She was also a contestant of ETV Bangla "Bigg Boss" in 2013.

..... Devashree Goenka