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Bangladesh: Shishir Bindu Creates History by Becoming First Trans Student Leader

With the aim to work for the Communist Party of Bangladesh and eradicate gender discrimination, Shishir Bindu has entered student politics with determination.
Trans Rights

Shishir Bindu

Dhaka: For the first time in the history of Bangladesh’s student politics, a transgender student, Shishir Bindu has been elected student leader. Bindu has been elected the Vice President of Rajbari District Parliament of Bangladesh Students Union, a left-wing student outfit. Bindu has been congratulated by the central committee of Bangladesh Students Union and Bangladesh Communist Party.

On January 11 (Wednesday), at the twelfth conference of the Rajbari District Parliament of Bangladesh Student Union, Bindu was elected the vice-president. In the 15-member executive committee, Ahmed Ripon became the president and Sirajul Islam became the general secretary. Bindu is pursuing a postgraduate course in the Islamic History Department at the Government Rajendra College, Faridpur District, Bangladesh.

According to student union sources, Bindu was born in 1994 in the Sonakander Ghat area in Sadar Upazila of Rajbari. She is the firstborn child of Hannan Sheikh and Mini Begum. She also has two sisters and a brother. Growing up amid the struggles of a low-income family, Bindu started working as a member of the Bangladesh Student Union in 2022.

Former President of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) Mujahidul Islas Salim congratulated Bindu for becoming the Vice President of the student committee in a district unit of Bangladesh's oldest and largest left-wing student organisation for the first time.

Salim wrote on his social media – “The beginning of a new chapter in the student politics of Bangladesh is in the hands of the student union. A transgender student leader joined the country's politics for the first time. Transgender Shishir Bindu has become the vice-president of Rajbari District unit of Bangladesh Students' Union.”

In a joint statement, President of the Central Parliament Faiz Ullah and General Secretary Deepak Sheel said, “Shishir has risen to the leadership level on her own merits. Bangladesh Students Union has been vocal against all forms of gender discrimination since its inception and always will be.”

The statement also said, “Bangladesh Students Union has been leading all student movements in the country from the beginning. Besides, it has written a new history in various democratic struggles, including transgender rights. Election of Shishir Bindu as the vice-president of Rajbari district is a new chapter in the progressive student movement.”

Bindu spoke to the People's Reporter about becoming the student union's vice-president. She said, "Bangladesh students union really works for the rights of the students. I came into student politics a few years ago. In the last committee, I was only a member of this union. This time I became the vice president. I will do student politics. After completing this stage, I will work for the Communist Party. I don't want anyone to be left behind because of gender discrimination. I currently want to work with people who are victims of gender discrimination. The student union is giving me that opportunity.'

In this context, the newly elected president of Rajbari District Students' Union, Kawsar Ahmed Ripon told People's Reporter, “Shishir Bindu is a rights-conscious person. Bindu’s identity is as a human being. The students union works for human rights against discrimination based on gender, caste, and religion. Shishir Bindu, as a human being, joined the struggle of the students union. We are happy that we were able to accommodate Bindu. She works with us knowing about the student union’s activities. She will be a role model for the progressive student movement.”

Ripon added, “For the first time in the history of Bangladesh politics, a transgender student has entered politics. We welcome her on behalf of the Rajbari District Students Union. Bindu was by our side in any right struggle, and will still be by our side. With Sishir, we will work for the rights and demands of transgender people in society. In the future, Bindu will lead any struggle under the banner of the students union.”

Abhijit Som, a lawyer at the Bangladesh Supreme Court, said, “In our neighbouring country India, there are transgender persons who are lawyers, college principals and in many other professions. A few days ago, a transgender person was elected as the chairman of the Union Parishad in our country. Shishir Bindu has come to student politics; this is a very positive aspect.”

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