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Words of Struggle 

ISP Thiruvananthapuram Bureau

Her writing work is taking the world of Malayalam literature by storm. Her poems have a sense of honesty and give the readers a peek into an alternate world free of bias and liberty to think beyond rigid definitions of societal norms. 

Vijayarajamallika, the hero of many today in south India, also known as Daivathinte Makal, is the first Transgender poet in Malayalam literature. More than a writer, she is also a teacher, social worker,inspirational speaker and an activist who stands by causes dear to her heart. 

Her work has been included in the hall of fame of academics and is part of many course books. ‘Daivathinte Makal’ her first collection of poetry has been included in the syllabus of MA Malayalam course at the Department of Malayalam at Madras University. The poetry, Maranantharam from ‘Daivathinte Makal’ was Included in the curriculum of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala and another poetry, Neelambari from ‘Daivathinte Makal’ also was Included in the curriculum of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit.

Vijayarajamallika had a tough early life. She struggled hard to come out open with her identity and to make her presence felt in the literary world. Her work which brings to light the conflicts associated with the non-binary identities has given a new hope to the gender spectrum. World noticed her exemplary work in 2020 when Vijayarajamallika released ‘A Word to Mother’, a collection of poems that narrates the tender love of a mother through a lullaby she sings for an intersex child.

She was married to Jashim, a software engineer and it was a controversial love marriage in full media glare. The parents and relatives of Jashim were opposed to the marriage and the marriage was held in the office of Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad office, a body which promotes scientific temperament in society. 

Her literary engagement has not deterred her from her social commitments. Vijayarajamallika is the founder of ‘Sahaj International’ India’s first transgender school, alternative learning centre works in collaboration with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) at Kochi. Inspired by her work, the Kerala government came forward to take ahead transgender education. She wound up Sahaj International as Kerala Government incorporated transgender education through the Social Justice Department.

Most of her poems have deep personal attachments. Be it her lullaby for intersex children or ‘Jalebi’, a poem about the yearning for a mother’s unconditional love and understanding. Her work is personal in one dimension but at the same time has a lot of political undertones which calls for justice and liberty. Her work has become a window for the world to know the lives and struggles of existing as a non-binary person. Translations of Vijayarajamallika’s poems are available in various languages. She herself speaks five Indian languages fluently. 

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