Rozedars who also keep Navratri vrat
LUCKNOW: Despite being a Hindu by birth, 34-year-old Sandhya Tiwari is keeping roza. She makes it a point to reach home early from work because she has to prepare iftari for her rozedar brethren.
Sandhya is part of a transgender group, comprising three Hindus and two Muslims, who stay together in Alambagh and have been celebrating all festivals with utmost diligence. “No religion teaches hatred. All preach peace,” she said.
Fondly called Maa by the others, Sandhya founded the community in 2001 when she came to Lucknow from Bihar in search of livelihood. She bought a house and offered shelter to homeless transgender people.
Quoting from Sant Ravidas, Sandhya, who was born in a conservative Brahmin family, said: ” Mann changa toh kathauti mein Ganga… I believe in keeping the mind and body pure. For 18 years, I’ve been keeping roza and go to the mosque for namaz.”
The group begins its day early with sehri. The members wear bare minimum make-up and jewellery to honour the traditions of simplicity and self-restraint associated with Ramzan.
Ritwik, an LGBTQ activist, said initially it was difficult to keep roza. “Now, I can fast all day. Doing it together strengthens our bond.”
Rizwan, a Muslim by birth, is the alarm clock for these rozedars. He wakes them up daily for sehri. “It feels good when we celebrate all festivals together,” he said.
“We also fast on Navratri. Whether it is vrat or roza, the idea is to exercise self-control and purification of the mind and body,” said Sonali, another Muslim in the group.