Published: 16th April 2019
If I am not elected, how can I do anything for the people: TN's only transgender candidate M Radha in conversation with AISA's V Seetha
In this interview with AISA student leader V Seetha, South Chennai candidate R Radha talks about her plans for the constituency
Just before Tamil Nadu (and most of India) faced up to elect themselves a new parliament, we decided to get some of the most educated candidates in the fray — in this case, M Radha, an independent and the lone transgender candidate this year, who makes her living as a cook — and pit them against student leaders, first time voters who aren't afraid to ask questions that most of us probably have, but simply won't deign to ask.
This is what transpired.
Seetha: What will you do if you win the elections?
Radha: I will ask citizens about the problems that they face. I know that right now, water is the most pressing issue. We don't have clean toilets in the area and infrastructure is still lacking. I will ensure I help with all the issues that people come to me with. I'm also involved in women's issues and I'm also keen on ensuring education is given first priority, especially for children from poor backgrounds.
You have decided to stand for the elections this time. But what have you done till now?
As an individual, I've done my little wherever possible. If someone has approached me about water issues, then I've spoken to the concerned person and ensured we've gotten supply. Same with electricity issues. But its only when I come to power, can I help on a large scale. As an individual, I can do what I can afford, if someone comes to my house hungry and asks for food, I can feed them.
We are a country that won its independence through protest. But today, we don't even have the right to protest. What do you have to say about this?
Our politicians have been elected because of us. Jallikattu started because of the first student that decided to go to the beach with a placard and protest. Only after that everyone else went to join them. We should appreciate the first person that took that step. Only if we come together can we bring about a change.
But have you participated in protests? Were you there in the protests against Sterlite, Salem expressway? Don't you think you should have been there as well?
We went for the Jallikattu protests but our voices were not heard. Big politicians and celebrities were allowed to enter the protest area but we weren't. Common people were not allowed in. See, when it comes to problems that happen in my community, I have been able to help. Whether it is about water, domestic issues, accidents, it is me and people from my community who have come forward to help. In whatever capacity possible. Whenever I saw something happen in front of me, as an individual I've done all I can to support the people in need.