By I.W, Miss saHHara

A beautiful short film by Vicks India is sending a powerful message of acceptance for Indian transgender mothers. It shows that mothers come in all skin colours, life histories, profession and backgrounds. What makes a good mother is love, support, sacrifice, and care.

The film was produced by a renown filmmaker, Neeraj Ghaywan, for Vicks India. The story is a true life story of Gauri Sawant, a transgender activist, who is bringing up a young orphan girl by the name Gayatri all by herself.

In the film, Gayatri is seen gazing out of the window of a bus, as she heads to school with her mother by her side. Then she eloquently narrates her life story in her native language which is subtitled in English language.

She talks about her birth mother who worked in the sex industry, but fell ill and passed away to HIV-AIDS.

Then, she was later adopted by her new mother who is a transwoman. Her new mother cared and loved her unconditionally, gave her the best education so Gayatri can become a doctor.

She is like any mother, except that her life history is used against her from getting equal rights like other Indian mother.

At the end of the film, Gayatri said she doesnt want to become a doctor, she wants to become a lawyer, so she can fight for her mother’s equal rights in the future.

Vicks India said ‘We at Vicks, believe that everyone deserves the #TouchOfCare.
We believe that everyone deserves to feel what it means to be cared for and to care for someone.’

The discrimination against transpeople in India is steep. Transpeople are often called ‘Hijra’, a term which is seen as offensive by the transgender community in India.

In India, due to lack of awareness on what it means to be a transperson, people use the word ‘Hijra’ as a derogatory term in describing transwomen.  ‘Hijra’ is a cultural/religious terminology used in South Asia, particularly in India and Pakistan to describe people who are assigned male at birth, but willingly undergoes genital mutilation to transform them into intersex for religious purposes. They perform certain female roles, entertain, and give religious blessings. They are also known as“third sex or gender” ‘Aravani’, ‘Aruvani’ or ‘Jagappa’.

Transgender India, an Indian NGO, has long campaigned for the difference to be acknowledged by society through education.