Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 6/9/2018 3:52:25 PM Books and Authors

Book Review: I am also a human

Author: Jasbir Singh

Stories about the transgender community or in which a transgender is the protagonist are published very less, and more such books are needed so that the readers get to know about the trials and tribulations of transgenders. The author Jasbir Singh comes with the book “I am also a human”, which is a heart-rending tale of the biases and stigma that the transgenders have to put up with in our sanctimonious society.

The book cover is appealing and well thought out, and shows a face of a transgender in the centre, in-between faces of a man and a woman. This also portrays the different faces of our society, which upholds different people with different ideals. The blurb at the back cover is well-written, but gives away a large part of the story.

The storyline follows Zeenat, who is a transgender but a ‘human’ first. She is struggling to live a life like a normal human being, but isn’t aware of the society and its hypocrisies. Her parents sent her to an orphanage when she was twelve years old. She runs from the orphanage and starts working at Benz Cafe, where she meets Rajveer, a rich and handsome boy from Delhi. Her simplicity makes him fall in love with her, but few people are against their relationship. Then they both meet with an accident and Rajveer dies, even before she tells him about her feelings. She loses every reason to live, and tries to commit suicide many times, but fails. One day, she opens her eyes and finds herself in the brothel. But this is not the end of the story, as she has so many things to say. Will she find another reason to live? Will she run away from the brothel? Will she find answers to all her questions? This is what forms the storyline.

The narrative is unremittingly grim and full of emotional sequences; and presents the often disturbing indictment of how transgenders are treated in the society, and the story will definitely provoke a rethinking among the readers about this distressing practice and the required change in the mindset of society to discontinue it. However, more work needs to be done on the sentence formation and editing glitches are also present at places. Also, the characterisation could’ve been better, with the characters of Zeenat and Rajveer being explored in more depth.

This is a book that should be read for its merit of being a story with a transgender protagonist, and for bringing to the fore the issues faced by the transgender community. The storyline, though full of empathy, could do well with a lot more sophistication. But otherwise, this is an admirable story that effectively captures the predicaments of the transgender, told in an uncompromising and original voice.

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