Aishwarya Rutuparma Pradhan is India’s first transgender civil servant. She is serving at the Odisha Financial Services (ODS) as the GST officer-in-charge.
Aishwarya was born on Saturday, 12 November 1983 (age 36 years; as in 2019) in Kanabagiri village, located in Kandhamal district of Odisha. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. Born by the name Ratikant Pradhan, Aishwarya was studying in 8th standard, when she started getting a feeling that even though she had all the male organs, but, she was certainly not a boy. It was difficult for her to openly declare her gender while living in a conservative tribal society in the ’90s when people from the transgender community did not have any legal status in India and were looked upon with contempt. So she decided to wait and continued her formal education. In the meantime, she studied hard and achieved a masters degree in public administration and a one-year diploma in mass communication and journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Aishwarya comes from a Hindu family.
Parents & Siblings
She was born as the second child to Balila Pradhan (father), retired army personnel. Apart from that, she has not unfolded much information about her family.
Relationship & Children
Aishwarya is in a relationship with a man whom she plans to marry after the supreme court makes it legal. She said during an interview,
We all are eagerly waiting for the implementation of special marriage act or a new law for the LGBT community. I have a boyfriend. We nurture the hope that we will marry soon. We will wait for apex courts favourable ruling in this regard. I have a dream of my own happy family with my life partner. I have resolved to adopt an orphan girl child following the marriage.”
After getting a diploma in Mass communication, at a national daily for a brief period. She also worked as a clerk at the Syndicate Bank. Struggling her way up, in 2010, without taking any formal coaching, she cracked the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) exam on her first attempt and was selected for the post of Odisha Finance Service officer. She is now serving as a Commercial Tax Officer in Paradip, Odhisha.
- Apart from serving as a government employee, she is also one of the founding members of a voluntary organisation working towards empowering the transgender community in India.
- On April 15, 2014, after the Supreme Court of India created “third gender” status for transgenders, she legally changed her gender from male to transgender and also her name from Ratikant Pradhant to Aishwarya Rutuparma Pradhan. She said,
The Apex court ruling dated April 15, 2014, recognising the transgender under the third gender category and guaranteeing their constitutional rights was a shot in the arm for me. I had made up my mind to opt for third gender identity instead of male gender and written to the state government. Only last year in 2017, I have been recognised officially as transgender on all official records”
- She has also got a tattoo of her new name, “Aishwarya” inked on her forearm.
- She stays along with her childhood transgender friend, Bhumika, who has remained stuck by her side and has always stood with her like a pillar of strength despite all odds. Aishwarya said,
“She is my childhood friend. We both went to the same school in our village and continue to confide in each other. I had to go through a humiliating journey in my search for an identity of my own and Bhumika has always been by my side.
- Discouraged by the continuous abuse and social harassment by her peer during her days at college, there came a time when she decided to quit her studies, but, Bhumika came to her rescue and gave her courage to continue her studies.
- Recalling her college days Aishwarya said,
During my college days children were intrigued to know ‘how I am from the inside’. I was often harrased by my mates. During that time, there were no seperate hostels for the third gender, and by default I was put in the boys hostel. I was subjected to physical abuse and assault multiple times and could not even file a complaint due to lack of framework at that time.”