The list of Padma awards recipients this year includes a transgender from Karnataka who has over the past many decades practised and single-handedly popularised rural folk arts.
- For Manjamma Jogathi, the Padma Shri comes after decades of social and financial struggle.
- Overcoming personal odds, Manjavva Jogati, as she would be called in Karnataka, held aloft the cause of these art forms, especially the Jogati Nritya and Janapada songs, practiced in rural Karnataka, Maharashtra, and parts of Andhra Pradesh.
- She began to identify as a woman in her teens.
- Her family from Ballari district then disowned her by making her part of a transgender community in rural Deccan that reveres the fiery Goddess Renuka Yellamma. Members of this community are considered married to the goddess.
- The community’s lifestyle and the plight of its members were highlighted in the national award-winning 2009 Marathi movie Jogwa.
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