Himansu Shekhar Rout

In what could bring cheer among the transgender community in Odisha as well as the country, Deepa Sahoo from Cuttack who has obtained PhD in Biology from Utkal University will be the first transgender from the country to get the Presidential Award-2023.

Deepa will receive the award from President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on December 30.
Deepa was intimated in this regard through a communiqué from the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Thursday.

"The Indian Government feel proud that Ms. Deepa Sahoo(TG) has honored the PhD as the first Transgender of India. So your name has been selected for the Presidential Award 2023 which will be awarded to you. You are therefore intimated to be present at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 30th December 2023 to receive the prestigious Award," the letter read.

After receiving the news, Deepa, a resident of Haripur in Buxi Bazar area of Cuttack is now on cloud nine. 
She has set an example for her community by dint of her hard work and determination which helped her notch up such an academic success, eventually proving herself eligible enough for the covetous honour from the first citizen of the country.

Things took a different turn for Deepa when she was 12 and studying in Class VI. Her behaviour and demeanour started to change and she more felt like that of a woman. Her family members and the people frowned upon her for such behavioural changes that she had not wished at all. She did not cringe back for fears of social slandering, but she braved all odds that came her way. She was determined to reach her goal in life and that has been achieved now.

Unfortunately, eight years ago, she met with an accident and subsequently, she lost her vocal power. Even after undergoing an operation, she is unable to speak.  

Deepa’s friend Suprabha Swain spoke on her behalf, and said she (Deepa) is extremely happy to be selected for the Presidential Award as the first transgender PhD holder in the country. 

Swain said: “Deepa feels that she has got results because of her hard work and the struggles she faced in her life. She does not want to lead a life like beggars, but to be independent. She has a strong will to go ahead in life by pursing higher studies.”

  • Reported by:
  • Biswajit Acharya