Listen to the complete interview here!
There are so many people in this world that care for themselves but never bother about others living with them. There are very few people concerned about the people and their problems, thinking they are their own. Those people who do something for their county and its people are a gem. One of those unsung heroes is the Social worker Sobhan Mukherjee who started working to make Transgender toilets that very few people dare to talk about and do something for them from a very young age. DOER had a Live interview with him on World Toilet Day and learned a lot about him.
A Step Towards Humanity
In 2017, he started working for transgender people. It was a time when he, with his colleagues, was working on a topic, Known face Unknown life, for his magazine Kabhi Kalam. No one from his team chose the topic of Transgender, but he did and wrote a beautiful poem. He had to write some descriptions for them, so he started researching their community.
He started attending meetings of transgender people, and during that, he met the Transgender board member Ranjita Sinha. From here, he understood their real problems. But, there are multiple magazines and newspapers already writing on their issues, but nobody has a solution, and nothing changes even after covering them. He thought; only writing about them was not a solution. People will forget about the write-up after a few days, but the implemented service will stay forever. Thus, he invented an aid for their problem.
The invention of Tridhara for Transgender Toilets
The trouble was that there were no transgender toilets. Whenever their community used the restroom, they got criticized with a statement that you can use any washroom, male or female; it does not matter. That hit the mind of Sobhan Mukherjee, and he wanted to do something for them.
At that time, he was in his 3rd-year of college and preparing for his master’s. He did not have money to invest in making new toilets for Transgenders. Also, making toilets, especially for their section, will not promote equality. Thus, with his creative mind and helping heart, he created a special Tridhara Sign for the transgender group. The Tridhara is a unique identity that he added with male and female signs in circles over washroom doors for Transgenders. There were no first or second signs; all of them were given identical positions. He added Tridhara signs in about 15 washrooms during the start of his initiative.
Installation of PADS vending machine
While he was working on the initiative of Transgender toilets, there occurred an incident that shifted his mind to work on female menstruation problems too. One day, one of his female colleagues got periods while coming to a meeting, and he did not know that it came suddenly without prior knowledge. Females have to rush to nearby shops or carry a pad around the period date for safety.
Therefore, he thought of installing PADS vending machines in public toilets. Almost 5 years from 2017 to 2021, he has installed PADS dispenser machines in 70 washrooms. Once, he used his study table to spread awareness about PADS vending machines. He placed a PAD on his study table and posted a picture of it, which got viral. Thus, Sobhan Mukherjee teaches us that nothing is impossible; you can achieve it if you have the courage.
Great work; it never stays in closed doors.
Yes, that is what happened with Sobhan Mukherjee, who, with his thoughtful mind and heart of gold, went forward with helping hands for the transgender community and installed PADS vending machines. His initiatives were covered in The Times of India newspaper front page and spread all over India.
Also, during his PADS dispenser machines implementation, he received a call from the famous Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, who gave him the name PADMAN of Kolkata. Along with this, he was honored with the Subramaniyam Youth fellowship award for his social welfare initiatives. There was no looking back until now; he explores people’s issues and gives his best to help India grow at a better place.
Parents: His biggest supporters
His parents always supported him in his walk towards the good initiative and helped him all his time. They were his major support both in opening Transgender Toilets and installing Pads dispenser machines initiative. Sobhan Mukherjee lost his beloved mother on 15th April 2021 due to a heart attack. But, his mother always wanted him to continue his great works and never listen to the wrong things that others say.
Application and Campaigns run by him.
Application and Campaigns run by him.
He is running different major campaigns and a special application in support of these social welfare programs. His application and campaigns are;
The application made by Sobhan Mukherjee, with the help of his brother working in TCS, can help locate PADS vending machines in your nearby areas.
Ghar Ghar Sanitary Pad initiative
He runs this campaign in the West Bengal Sundarban area, where girls pack pads and sell them at cheap rates. It helps in employing females, and women can buy pads for even Rs. 20 through the campaign.
Blood Relation campaign
In this campaign, people who can afford them can donate pads by helping a girl for 1 year. His initiative is to make helping periods relations, thus naming Blood relation.
He has worked in social works using his salary and with his parent’s support. People have made fun of him during his campaign of installing Transgender toilets. But he never listens to them. His mother always taught him to do good without listening to others. Hence, he wants to make a hospital in Sundarban with the name of his mother.
The pregnant ladies have to walk miles to the hospital for delivery, and thus, it will aid them in the same. He is a One Man Army but is open for all to join his race of social campaigns.
Spreading Education on Female mensuration and Transgender community
One of his motives is to spread Female hygiene and Transgender education in villages and schools. Tri Bandhan is one of his initiatives of providing education about transgender people at the school level to promote their equality in society. He encourages education in school camps because the new generation can change the wrong thinking of society about transgender people. Also, foster education of periods and transgender toilets in colleges by suggesting students make documentaries on transgender people to change their thoughts.
He works at The Child in Need Institute NGO, and as of now, he completed 200 camps in both schools and colleges. While 500 plus camps have been accomplished in villages, he has covered the whole West Bengal Sundarban. Also circulating education in Darjeeling, Siliguri, and other more areas.
His message to all
He wants to break the chain of wrong thoughts emerging in people’s minds for transgender people. His message is for youth that “Don’t be negative, rather, learn from the negative.” Always keep working, and you will achieve success one day. Keep learning from your mistakes.
He wants India to be a developed country. On World Toilet Day, he said, there is a need to spread awareness for Transgenders toilets and install PADS dispenser machines in India. We must respect our women and support their dreams. He ended with, “Isi tarahan aage badhega India.”