ISP Delhi Bureau
He is a senior academician and a researcher on social issues. He heads the Department of Adult, Continuing Education and Extension in the University of Delhi. But what sets apart Dr. (Prof) Rajesh from others is his pioneering work to ensure dignity and right of the transgender community in India.
What started as his passion for extension and continuing education got recognition with his immense research work in the field of transgender welfare. The research fellows under him have also contributed to the work substantially. He is a academic figure striving to reach out to the suffering transgender community in India and doing efforts within the policy provisions to understand solutions for their inclusion.
“Education and due space for the transgender community within the education system of the country is the unfinished agenda which we all must together strive to achieve,” says Dr. Rajesh.
We must together create a conducive atmosphere for eligible transgender community members to be inducted into differents levels of undergraduate, post graduate and research level studies. If this happens, livelihood opportunities and dignity of living for them shall be a target which can soon be achieved, he adds.
Owing to his expertise in the field, the Government of India included Dr. Rajesh in the apex body to discuss policy means to emancipate the lives of transgenders. As a result of the deliberations of this ministerial body including Dr. Rajesh, The Transgenders Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019 became a reality in the year 2020.
The law now recognises the identity of transgender persons and prohibits discrimination in fields of education, employment, healthcare, holding or disposing of property, holding public or private office and access to public services and benefits. The law also makes any discrimination of transgender community members a punishable offence.
Now the law is in place. The challenge is to make the transgender community aware of their rights and make them push for their due place of recognition and seek justice wherever needed. We believe academic inroads for the community members will be a great leap in this direction, says Dr. Rajesh.
One of the awareness drives which Dr. Rajesh and his department is pursuing is to make available the transgender certificates and identity cards which the right of every trans member to have. The department has also been actively involved in the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s National level umbrella scheme namely “SMILE – Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise” which strives for comprehensive rehabilitation and ways and means to discourage begging by the community members.
The government’s focus is extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, education, skill development, economic linkages for the community members. It is time urban bodies, voluntary organisations, academic institutions and researchers come together and make concerted efforts to create awareness and disseminate knowledge to make these schemes permeate to the real beneficiaries, says Dr. Rajesh.