Kumbh Mela: ABAP denies recognition to Akhara of eunuchs

Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of Hindu ascetic organisations, has refused to grant recognition to the newly-formed Kinnar Akhara, the religious representation of eunuchs, to participate in Simhastha (Kumbh) Mela even as the Kinnar members asserted that they do not need permission from the ABAP to participate in the fair.

Indore: Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, the apex body of Hindu ascetic organisations, has refused to grant recognition to the newly-formed Kinnar Akhara, the religious representation of eunuchs, to participate in Simhastha (Kumbh) Mela even as the Kinnar members asserted that they do not need permission from the ABAP to participate in the fair.

Transgender rights activist Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi also supported the Kinnar Akhara and took part in the cleanliness drive of Kshipra river at Ujjain's Gandharva ghat today.

On the occasion, the Kinnar Akhara also announced that during the month-long congregation which is slated to begin from April 22 in Ujjain, they would take part in the Shahi Snan (Royal Bath) at the Gandharva ghat only.

"We have not sought any recognition from Akhara Parishad and who are they to recognise anyone? Kinnars (eunuchs) are born as hermits and have played an important role in the protection of Hindu religion. We don't need any certificate from anyone," Laxmi told reporters today after taking part in the Kshipra river cleanliness drive.

Replying to a query on ABAP President Mahant Narendra Giri's recent statement that it would not grant recognition to Kinnar Akhara, Laxmi said, "Narendra Giri is unnecessarily making statements. It hardly affects us. We will take part in every activity of the Simhastha Mela."

Laxmi said that some seers are opposing Kinnars' participation in Simhastha as they fear that if the third gender comes to lead the religious world, then what will happen to them. Questioning the existence of 13 main Akharas, Laxmi asked, "Which Hindu scripture has a mention of the Akhara system? On the other hand, there is a special mention of eunuchs in several holy books of Sanatan Hindu Dharm." Laxmi said, "The existence of eunuchs is being denied for centuries.

To gain our existence and to take part in the main stream of society, we have formed our own Akhara. Like 13 other Akharas, Kinnar Akhara will hoist flags and set up tents in the Simhastha Mela and also hold religious events like bhajan, kirtan, dance, aarti and yadnya."

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