Kerala is rapidly earning the status of the most progressive state of India. It is always nice to read about acts of positivity in a sea full of negative news.But “God’s own country has recently been in the news multiple times showcasing how “The Kerala Model of Development” seems to be the way to go. The egalitarian view of the state once again shines through; with its unveiling of a justice board exclusively for the transgendered. It is the first state in the judicial history of India to do so.
The archetype board in the country, which is part of the state transgender policy, announced two months ago, will hear the transgenders exclusively and take steps to bring them into the mainstream. Following the 2014 verdict of the Honourable Supreme Court to recognise transgenders as a third gender many people akin to the community have reportedly come out in public discourse to claim the rights they deserve.
Kerala has always been one of the most socially forward states in India. Its well structured and dynamic education system sets an example for others. The importance of education in Kerala is underlined by the state’s ranking as the most literate in the country.
It has also been one of the few which hosts a veritable cottage industry. It was the first state in India to undergo health and demographic transitions, the latter with no coercion in the family planning programme or doleful incentives and disincentives. It also is one of those rare states with a positive sex ratio and the presence of commanding social statuses of women, which though still suffer from the fate of patriarchy, are revolting with hope and heart.
The lessons that emerged were heartbreakingly simple: investment in the social sectors pays manifold dividends.
Earlier this week the age-old ban on entry of women of menstrual age in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple was questioned by the Supreme Court bench as the Indian Young Lawyers Association filed a PIL against the issue. Supreme Court went ahead and said that it is a public temple and everyone needed to have “the right to access”. This goes on to show how the state is envisaging to end social stigmas. Smashing stigmas in the face seems to be the state government’s axiom.
Going with their mantra; hopefully, now the justice board for transgenders will decrease the disturbing percentages and help transgenders live an unabashed and dignified life. It is important to state that the policy is not a mercy but a rightful recognition given to the people of a community. We learn in theory that gender is a construct. But how many of us see it being accepted in practice? Well, hopefully now that Kerala has embarked on this journey other states will follow suit.