A Gift of Goddess Lakshmi

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Random House Publishers India Pvt. Limited, Feb 10, 2017 - Literary Collections - 256 pages
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The extraordinary and courageous journey of a transgender to define her identity and set new standards of achievement. When a boy was born in the Bandhopadhyay family, all rejoiced. A son had been born after two girls and finally the conservative father could boast about having sired a son. However, it wasn’t long before the little boy began to feel inadequate in his own body and began questioning his own identity: Why did he constantly feel like he was a girl even when he had male parts? Why was he attracted to boys in a way that girls are? What could he do to stop feeling so incomplete? It was clearly a cruel joke of destiny which the family refused to acknowledge. But unknown to them, the boy had already begun his journey to becoming Manobi—the quintessential female, as nature meant for her to be. With unflinching honesty and deep understanding, Manobi tells the moving story of her transformation from a man to a woman; about how she continued to pursue her academics despite the severe upheavals and went on to become the first transgender principal of a girls’ college. And in doing so, she did not just define her own identity, but also inspired her entire community.

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About the author (2017)

Dr Manobi Bandyopadhyay became India’s first third gender principal at Krishnagar Women's College in Nadia district in West Bengal on 9 June 2015. Selected for this post purely on merit, her message to her community is: ‘Education. If we learn, all our problems will be solved.’ She holds a PhD in Bengali literature and was previously an associate professor in Bengali at the Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya in Jhargram. She is the first transgender professor in West Bengal and the first transgender to complete a PhD in ‘3rd Gender/ Transgender in Bengali Literature and Society’ in 2006. In 1995, she published the first Bengali transgender magazine, Obo-Manab (sub-human). Dr Bandyopadhyay changed her sex and name in 2003. She has written two books: Ontohin Ontorin Prositovortika (Endless Bondage), a bestseller, and Third Gender in Bengali Literature. At present, she is the vice chairperson of West Bengal Transgender Development Board, Government of West Bengal, and executive council member of Kalyani University .

A journalist for twenty-one years, Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey has worked with the Statesman and the Times of India. She writes both fiction and non-fiction in English and Bengali and also translates into these two languages. Jhimli has translated works of writers like Sunil Gangopadhyay and Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay from Bengali to English and Shashi Tharoor from English to Bengali. Jhimli’s other interests include reading, travelling and cooking. She lives in Howrah, West Bengal, with her family.

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