The Kumbh Mela this year has witnessed some unprecedented and historical developments. The Kinnar Akhara after a long struggle to be recognised as the 14th Akhara at the Kumbh Mela finally joined the Juna Akhara. A joint puja was performed on the bank of river Yamuna by the Kinnar Akhara and the Juna Akhara to officially join the former with the latter.
The act is being seen as a major step towards bringing this long marginalised community into the mainstream. On January 6 the Kinnar Akhara had taken part in the religious royal entry procession called the peshwai, a procession which is traditionally taken out by the 13 Akharas to mark their arrival at the Kumbh. Thereafter the Kinnar Akhara also took part in the shahi snan.
And now the Kinnar Akhara has officially extended its support for the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya. A Tantrik puja was performed by the Kinnar Akhara in the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj for the construction of Ram Mandir. The puja was performed by the Tnatriks from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Earlier the Acharya Mahamadaleshwar of the Kinnar Akhara Lakshminarayan Tripathi had also spoken in favour of Ram Temple. Tripathi had to face condemnation from her own community for supporting Ram Mandir. A statement was issued in November 2018 against Tripathi endorsed by several LGBTQIA groups in India alleging that Tripathi, “a dominant-caste Brahmin trans woman”, was trying to secure a place within the current ruling party. The statement read as, “Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a dominant-caste brahmin trans woman, has been appealing to Hindutva ideology and justifying the existence of the caste system in India ever since she began aspiring for a political position within the current ruling party. Her position negates the politics of communal harmony that is espoused by Hijras and Kinnars, who have historically maintained a syncretic faith of belonging to both Hinduism and Islam. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi’s position idealises a mythical past of the Sanatan Dharam and supports the right-wing politics of communal hatred in the guise of ‘we were always accepted’.”
The Kinnar Akhara has set up a huge camp in Sector 12 at the Prayagraj, the venue of Kumbh. The Akhara is attracting thousands of devotees daily from across the country. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender and former reality TV star, has also become popular at the Kumbh.