Shilok Mukkati

This queer woman’s Kannada poem selected for university syllabus

February 15, 2020

Bengaluru-based 24-year-old Shilok Mukkati’s Kannada poem titled Kabalisidha Kranthi Kadu has been selected for the undergraduate syllabus of Kuvempu University. The poem is an open letter addressing the struggles of gender dysphoria. It will be part of the fourth semester Kannada paper and has been published in a textbook titled Nudi Vihara – 4.

Regarding the matter, Mukkati, a media consultant, dancer and writer told The News Minute, “The acceptance of the poem feels like a closure, in all honesty. I’ve always had to fight— all these years I’ve had battles with the law, battles with my body, I have fought for my identity as a woman. My body or clothes don’t define what I really am.

Particularly because, as a child, there was a moment when a teacher actually bullied me. He insulted me in front of 80 students in the class, owing to my style of narration, and that had everyone in splits. I broke down and the insult somehow remains etched in my memory. The acceptance of the poem feels like an acceptance of my closeted identity all through high school.”

She further explains, “Dr Shivalinge Gowda of Kuvempu University got to know about me from my mentor Dr Belururaganandan, a professor from Bangalore University. Dr Beluru has always been supportive of my writing. Dr. Shivalinge was on the lookout for voices that deserve to be heard— gender, sexuality and the like. Dr Beluru suggested my name, and then I presented my works to Dr Shivalinge sir. The poem Kabalisidha Kranthi Kadu caught his fancy in particular. It went through the process of selection and that’s how it became a part of the syllabus.”

Shilok, who wants to be identified as a woman said, “I do not identify myself as a transgender woman. I identify myself as a queer woman. As a child, I’ve always dreamt of being a woman, so that is my identity.”

She won a national award for her radio programme Lesbians and the Shadows — the story of a lesbian girl opening up about her sexuality to her mother. She currently works with a Switzerland-based dance production.

After Section 377 was struck down by the Supreme Court, things seemed to have gotten better for the LGBTQ+ communities but the battle is not over yet, says Shilok. “There’s the Transgender Persons Act, which has been passed. Yet incidentally, it doesn’t safeguard our rights at all. We still have to fight for our rights. It’s tainted by misogynist power. There is a need for people to be sensitised as the law cannot change people’s minds,” she concluded.

Source: The News Minute

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