Saptarshi Bairagi , A 23 year old , student of Delhi University wants to pursue an M.phil in Queer Studies from JNU or DU after he secured a First Class with Honours in his Masters in Anthropology degree .
Bairagi has already made a skeletol framework for his thesis on visual anthropology in the pan-India queer movement for example.., How the queer community uses art, costumes, prints and patterns, and even placards, slogans and music paraded at Pride marches… he wants to view all these aspects from the lens of caste and class discrimination in India.
According to him- ‘The Indian queer movement is still ‘elite’ and not ‘feminist’ yet. If you are a tribal or Dalit person in India, you are at a disadvantage. And if you’re also queer, you are at a bigger disadvantage.” said Bairagi.
He Survived many taunts, betrayals and even sexual abuse during his growing years at the rural 24 Parganas district in Kolkata, He also influenced his decision to take recourse in academic analysis of this kind. Rural India, he says, is still unfamiliar of LGBT+ terminology and queer rights, after he experienced abuse firsthand in school.
His love and dedication for Bharatanatyam earned him derogatory remarks from a schoolmate, and he even chose to hide all the instances of molestation from his parents, sharing all his thoughts in his diary only. Unfortunately, for him, when a relationship went sour in 2017, his then ex-boyfriend informed Bairagi’s parents about his identity, using his diaries as proof. He told that Luckily his father is quite modern and he told him that he had already guessed his identity and even convinced his mother to accept their son. But like the typical Indian mother, she thinks this is just a phase. Even now, when he post pictures with few of his girlfriends on Facebook, His mother will comment on his post, ‘Wow, yeh ladki kitni sundar hai…’ and later ask him , if he likes that girl.
when he took admission in Delhi University, He found the confidence to openly tell his batchmates about his identity and discovered his different and unique tastes – gaudy, unstructured silhouettes like kalamkari kurtas and pyjamas in the Visva Bharati Santiniketan tradition, Nehru coats, shorts, hand bracelets and clip-on earrings. During the pride march, he wears his pearl necklace and makeup – eyeliner and maroon lipstick.
But even in this open-minded urban attitude towards the LGBT+ community, He experienced bullying by few seniors to use the transgender bathroom, because of his ‘plump girth and gynecomastia (increased male breasts) condition’. But with the struggle, he has also found a lot of love. So now he wants to do something for his community, become financially stable and look after his family and personal life.