New Delhi: Ajay Mafatlal, who hogged limelight nearly 12 years back for changing his sex, breathed his last on Saturday.
His was one of the most famous and earliest sex change cases in the country. In November 2003, he underwent a sex-change surgery at the age of 46.
Ajay was born Aparna who married family friend and businessman Sudeep Parikh in November 1979. After living together for one-and-half years, they mutually agreed to get separated, and in 1984, got formally divorced.
Aparna and her mother Madhuri were embroiled in a bitter property battle with his younger brother Atulya and the latter's estranged wife Sheetal.
When Aparna decided to undergo a sex change operation in 2003, it was assumed that she had undertaken the procedure so that she may be an equal claimant to the family assets as her brother, Atulya.
Before Aparna became Ajay, Atulya was the only son to have a claim on the patriarch Yogindra Mafatlal's trust, as all the four sisters, including Aparna, had been married off.
However, Ajay always maintained that he wanted to live like man as he never felt like a woman.
In an interview to Times of India, Ajay spoke of his trans status and his realisation of it since early childhood. “I hated being only with girls, hated the uniform of skirt and sash. My great wish was to go to a school where the uniform was shorts and shirt.”
“When I turned 14, I began my periods. That was the worst day of my life. Everything in me militated against it. For it was something that only happened to women and in a way this told me that I couldn't escape my fate," he said in the interview.
At around this time Ajay harboured a deep desire to undergo the transition. His feelings for fairer sex made him certain that he was a man wearing a woman's body. He revealed in the interview that wearing a sari for family occasions was a chore and in all his years as a woman, he would have worn it no more than 15 times.
Ajay's family was against his the idea of his transitioning since they had accepted him the way he was.
“Immediately after the operation I applied for a change of name and in one month I got the certificate with my new name. In fact, I was so kicked that instead of sending over an assistant I myself made three trips to the passport office to get the passport with my new name and picture." he said.
Had his transition happened today, he would have benefitted from greater media coverage and might have become a face of the LGBT movement. But even after his denial it was widely rumoured he changed his sex just for making monetary gains .
Transgenders continue to suffer discrimination on a daily basis in India. Society is yet to accept the fact that they are normal human beings with a different sexual preference.