Bengaluru: News18 Kannada has reached another milestone in its humanitarian efforts by extending support to transgender Jogati Manjamma’s vision for building a refuge and the welfare of aged transgenders through a new and evolved program. Recently, the Padma Shri awardee highlighted the different issues faced by the community in a special episode of News18 Kannada’s ‘Bemkiyalli Aralida Hoovu’. Following this, the channel encouraged its viewers to come forward to help Manjamma’s dream come true.
Folk artist Manjamma was conferred with the fourth-highest civilian honor for Art recently. She is the second in the transgender community to receive this award. Manjamma is currently serving as the president of the Karnataka Janapada Academy. The 60-year-old is known for her Jogati Nritya, a part of Jogappa community ritual, and Janapada songs, sung to praise female deities. But life has not been like this when she started off. Born to a middle-class family in Ballari district, Karnataka, Manjamma faced family rejection, extreme poverty to sexual abuse from the time she began identifying as a woman. She would have taken her life had she not met another folk artist Mattikal Basappa, who introduced her to Jogati Nritya. This heart-wrenching yet inspiring story of Manjamma and her contribution to folk art came to light through News 18 Kannada.
It was on the special episode of ‘Bemkiyalli Aralida Hoovu’ that Manjamma revealed the heartbreaking experiences she went through in an exclusive conversation with News18 Kannada Editor Sidhu Kaloji. She also mentioned, for the first time, that she is homeless and most importantly, that she wishes to establish an old age home for transgenders. An emotional Manjamma had said, “News 18 Kannada assisted me in securing a roof, and in accomplishing my ambition of opening an old age home for transgenders. They also requested aid from the people of Karnataka and urged them to send money to my personal bank account. Karnataka’s people’s support to News18 Kannada’s humanitarian appeal will be remembered forever.”
Apart from people in general, Jogati Manjamma received help from a host of renowned personalities in response to News18’s appeal. Among those who helped are Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashok, who promised to provide land for refugee centers, and MLA Raju Gowda, Anand Singh, and Businessman Deepak Gowda to offer financial help. On the other hand, Raju Mandya is assisting with the house electrical and wiring work, and Nagendra, an auto driver, is also raising funds to help her. A number of other corporations have also joined in to support her.