The song has ended but the melody lingers on, says a Greek proverb. Social research scholars of the Pondicherry University who paid tributes to a deceased fellow on her first death anniversary decided to raise dignified work opportunities for the marginalised transgender community as a befitting honour to her.
Ursula VA, a research scholar at the University's Department of Social Work, had passed away on September 18, 2018 leaving behind her research on transgenders half way. Her research aimed at formulating sustainable livelihood opportunities for the transgender community.
The commemoration event, held on Wednesday was christened 'Vannakkoodu'. It was organised at Auroville, Puducherry, by Ursula's spouse Hilal KB and other co-scholars.
The PhD scholars who gathered for the tribute had fond memories of the deceased researcher.
Sixteen transgenders from an NGO called ‘Sahodaran’ shared their happy moments with Ursula and other scholars of the university. Ursula had completed her field work with the guidance of this NGO.
"Ursula had a very close connection with the target group of her study. She wanted to create better livelihood opportunities for transgenders,” Prasath Siva, a friend of Ursula said.
“Ursula worked hard for the social upliftment of transgender community. We have decided to realise Ursula's dreams,” Hilal said.
A session on creating job opportunities for transgenders in Puducherry was the main event at the gathering. The research scholars spent money from their own pockets to organise the event.
“We are planning to link the transgender community in Puducherry with stakeholders in different fields to ensure them dignified labour and livelihood options. We also plan to start a transgender- run canteen in Pondicherry University,” Hilal said.
Rapport-building sessions for transgenders were also held during the day-long gathering organised in an ecofriendly manner avoiding plastic.
Research scholars and faculty of the Social Work Department also raised a welfare fund of Rs 25,000 for the activities of 'Vannakkoodu.'