You are on page 1of 43

PROJECT REPORT

ON
RESEARCH ON THIRD GENDER

BACHELOR OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES


(2014-2015)
RESEARCH METHOLOGY
UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI

UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF


PROF. RAVIKANT SANGURDE

SUBMITTED BY
MR. ROHIT ARUN KAMBLE

S.K. SOMAIYA COLLEGE OF ARTS,


SCIENCE &COMMERCE
VIDYAVIHAR (EAST)

S.K. SOMAIYA COLLEGE OF ARTS, SCIENCE & COMMERCE


VIDYAVIHAR (EAST)

CERTIFICATE
(2014-2015)
This is to certify that MISS. KSHITIJA BHARAT MORE ROLL
NO. 29 Of M.COM (II) (2014-2015) has successfully completed the project on
RESEARCH ON THIRD GENDER under the guidance of PROF.
RAVIKANT SANGURDE.
D ate:

(Dr. SANGEETA KOHLI.)


PRINCIPAL.

Place: Mumbai.

(Prof. RAVIKANT SANGURDE.)


COURSE CO-ORDINATOR.

(Prof. RAVIKANT SANGURDE.)


PROJECT GUIDE/ INTERNAL EXAMINER.

EXTERNAL EXAMINER.

DECLARATION BY STUDENT

I, KSHITIJA BHARAT MORE, ROLL NO. 29, the


student of M.Com (II) (2014-2015) hereby declares that I have completed the
project on RESEARCH ON THIRD GENDER successfully.

The information submitted is true and original to the best of


my knowledge.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully,
KSHITIJA BHARAT MORE
Roll No.29

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank all the people who helped me in undertaking the study and
completing the project, by imparting me with valuable information and
guidance that was required at every stage of my project work.

I would like to like to thank our Principal DR. SANGEETA KOHLI and our
course co-ordinator PROF. RAVIKANT SANGURDE, for giving me an
opportunity and encouragement to prepare the project.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank my project guide PROF.
RAVIKANT SANGURDE for guiding and helping me throughout the
preparation of my project, right from the selection of my topic till its
completion.

INDEX

SR.NO.

PARTICULARS

PAGE NO.

INTRODUCTION

6 TO 7

STATMENT OF PROBLEMS & THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

LITERATURE REVIEW

10 TO 13

OBJECTIVE , SCOPE & IMPORTANCE

14 TO 17

OPERATIONAL DEFINATIONS & POPULATION

18TO 21

CAUSES OF THEIR BORN

22 TO 23

CLASSIFICATIO OF HIJRAS

24 TO 26

SPECIAL SOCIAL SYSTEM OF HIJRA COMMUNITY

27 TO 32

SEXUAL LIFE OF HIJRAS

33 TO 37

10

PROCESS OF ADAPTATION

38 TO 40

11

THE RIGHT OF TRANSGENDER PERSONS BILL 2014

12

CONCLUSION

42

15

BIBLOGRAPHY & URL REFERIENCE

43

8 TO 9

41

INTRODUCTION
THIRD GENDER: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF THE EXPERIANCE OF
INDIVIDUALS WHO IDENTIFY AS BEING NEITHER MAN NOR WOMAN.

Nothing seems more natural, unchangeable or desirable to us than those human beings are
divided without reminder into two biological sexes, male and female, and into two genders,
masculine and feminine. This division of humans into two sexes takes place at birth, when
sex assignment is male or female; such sex assignment is assumed to be permanent. The
concept of sex and gender as a system of two opposing and non-changeable categories male
and female; masculine and feminine is so both common sense and most social science. It is
difficult for most of us even think about any alternative to this view of sex and gender.
And yet, a cross-cultural perspective indicates that some cultures include more than two
genders. Such alternative, or third gender roles, which are neither man nor woman have been
described among the Omanis of the Saudia Arabian Peninsula (Wikan 1977); among many
native American tribes (Williams 1986); in Tahiti (Levy 1973); and in New Guinea and
among the Hijras of India (Nanda 1990). I want to do fieldwork among one such group in
Bangladesh usually know as hijra.

Hijras or hermaphrodites are people with ambiguous genitalia. Also called intersexed,
hermaphroditism is primarily a medical condition which results from multifarious biological
factors. The term intersexed is reserved to refer to a somatic condition in which the
hermaphroditic person is supposed to posses both masculine and feminine traits.
Nonetheless for the sake of conceptual clarity, it is important to elaborate upon some other
associated, though not clearly distinct, terms like transsexual, transvestite and eunuch.
Transexuality also known as gender dysphoria is a condition where a person claims to be
trapped into the body of the wrong sex. Pretty often, through surgical operations, such
persons metamorphose them into the desired gender/sex .On the other hand, transvestiteism is
a situation in which a male tends to be attired in the garbs of the opposite sex and vice versa.
This emblematizes their hunch for gender crossing. Eunuchs are castrated males.
6

In cases of gender dysphoria a mans sex-surgery issues in his being castrated. Besides,
Transvestitic people especially those with the proclivity to dress as women are similar to
many intersexed people who identify themselves as feminine. Eunuchs because of their being
castrated experience sexual impotency like many hermaphroditic people. Consequently there
is a considerable amount of overlap among these terms. However all these gargonistic and
notional differences are peppered with reductive and heterosexists nuances and are therefore
redundant to the sexually different. They have instead divined an umbrella term "transgender
to subsume all these diverse categories.

However, Hijras of Bangladesh define themselves as people who are neither male nor female.
They regard themselves as people incapable of sexual sensation. They also claim to have
neither a male nor female genitalia.

The Hijras are viewed as neither male nor female containing elements of both. The Hijra
are commonly believed by the larger society to be intersexes, impotent men, who undergo
emasculation in which all or part of the genitals are removed. They adopt female behavior.
Hijras traditionally earn their living by collecting alms and receiving payment for
performances at weddings, births and festivals.

Hijras are most clearly not men in relation to their claimed inability and lack of desire to
engage in the sexual act as man with woman, a consequence of their claimed biological
intersexuality and their subsequent castration. Thus Hijras are unable to reproduce children,
especially sons, an essential element in our societys concept of the normal, masculine role
for males.

STATMENT OF THE PROBLEMS


7

Most modern discussions of the relationship of biological sex to gender presuppose that there
are two genders male and female, founded on the two biological sexes. But not all cultures
share this essentialist assumption. Bringing together historical and anthropological studies,
Third Sex, Third Gender challenges the usual emphasis on sexual dimorphism and
reproduction, providing a unique perspective on the various forms of socialization of people
who are neither "male" nor "female". The existence of a third sex or gender enables us to
understand how eunuchs and Hijras met the criteria of special social roles that necessitated
practices such as self-castration and how intimate and forbidden desires were expressed. By
conceptualizing these practices and by allowing these bodies, meanings and desires to
emerge, Third Sex, Third Gender provides a new way to think about sex and gender systems
that is crucial to contemporary debates within the social sciences.

Third gender categories and roles are described and educated a central descriptive of
exploration and documentation. This required a basic understanding of the cultural and
historical contexts in which the gender schemata under question have evolved, become
institutionalized, changed and matured, for instance is a Hijra what criteria exist for the
recruitment and legitimating of Hijras as individuals and as a categories? How long have the
Hijras been defined as such in the Bangladeshi tradition.
Neither is the categories hermaphrodite or transsexual the same as third sex and third gender
variations around the world not withstanding the enormous confusion surrounding the use of
such terms. One is tempted for instance, to think of the Hijras or Bangladesh as
hermaphrodites (or homosexuals). When, in fact they constitute a different kind of social
person and cultural reality. Like wise the abuse of the term hermaphrodite in cross-cultural
serological research shows the failure of this biologically oriented field to take seriously sex
and gender variations. In the category of the eunuch there is a difference between some who
is castrated and someone who castrated himself and there is a further classification.

Theoretical

Framework

Hijras are imitating their identity to perform their role in the society. Their identity in the
society is neither male nor female. The impression management is a crucial factor for them to
generate there social as well as sexual life, which can be approached adequately by
Goffmans (1956) framework.

Image projection of Hijras needs to perform a series of act in individual level to make them
third gender, the performance can be considered as back stage performance.
In the front stage Hijras comply with overt culture (includes dress, talking and walking style
and also their special body language). This non-verbal messages project the image of Hijra,
through which they performs their role in their social interaction. The information that is
flowed by them reacts to other on the basis of their belief in the image they have projected.
They are concerned about the image they projecting and other are concerned about truth
worthiness of that image.

Again their macro level interaction that means interaction with custom, institution and
culture, above all their symbolic ritual is performing which made their identity. As because in
the course of social interaction they feel themselves different from other people who are not
Hijra,

they

feel

themselves

others

and

belonging

in

different

community.

Impression management is also crucial for them because of their Hijra identity. They only
over communicate their identity in presence of other Hijra, but under communicate in
presence of other people due to the fear of stigma.

The Goffmans micro and macro level interaction framework helps to understand their
behavior. The face-to-face interaction model is explicitly relevant for identifying third gender
and their inherent categorizations, again to know the process of interaction and role
performance.

LiteratureReview
For a special purpose to read analyze and summarize, books, articles is known as literature
review. Every research is small part of knowledge. For this it is necessary to know about the
world of knowledge. To know about the previous knowledge about the research topic related
writings.
Serena Nanda (1999) has done her fieldwork among Hijras of India. She marked Hijras as
neither

male

nor

female

an

institutionalized

third

gender

role

in

India.

She showed their: Cultural dimensions Individual dimensions of the Hijra role Hijra
impotence and creative Asceticism.

Hijras lived in predominantly in the cities of north India, where they fixed the greatest
opportunity to perform their traditional roles. The most significant relationship in the Hijra
community is that of the guruma (master, teacher), and chela relationship. When an in
individual decides to join Hijra community, he is taken to Bombay to visit one of the seven
major gurumas usually the guruma of the person who has brought him there. At the initiation
ritual, the guruma gives the novice a new, female name. The novice vows to obey the guruma
and the rules of the community. Hijras traditionally earn their living by collecting alms and
receiving

payment

for

performances

at

weddings,

births

and

festivals.

The Hijra role accommodates different personalities, sexual needs, and gender identities
without completely loosing its cultural meanings.
While the core of the positive meaning attached to the Hijra role is linked the negation of
sexual desire, the reality is that many Hijras do, in-fact, engage in sexual activities. Because
sexual behavior contrary to the definition of the role such activity conflicts for both the
individuals and the community. Individual Hijras deal with the conflict in different ways,
while the community as a whole resorts to various mechanisms of social control.
I also agree with Serena Nanda, In Bangladesh Hijras are also identified as neither man nor
woman they also play a special role in the society they earn their living by some special
activities.
10

Their also lived in house there also have a guruma who is the leader of the house.
In our country Hijras are also engage in sexual activities to earn money for spend their
livelihood. So the Nandas observation about Hijras is also visible in our country. [Nanda,
1999, pp-226-238]

In GAD discussions gender is still often described as socially constructed, and sex as
biological. The categorizing of all human beings as 'male' or 'female' is left unquestioned.
However, this does not always fit with local realities. Throughout South Asia, communities of
Hijras are formed by intersexes people, and by transgender people who were born male, but
do not identify as such, many of whom opt for castration. It has been estimated that there are
a half to one million Hijras in India alone (Bondyopadhay, 2002). Traditionally and today,
Hijras are channeled into sex work and entertaining. Cultures of Hijras in South Asia,
travesties in Brazil, lady boys in Thailand, or transgender in the USA all suggest that there is
more to sex than just male and female. Perhaps ideas of sex are socially constructed too (One
World Action Leaflet 2002).

Bucholtz (2003) discussed in his work entitled Postmodern Moment and the Resurgence of
Interest in the Sexual Minority the researcher has found that the world we live in is not only
andocentric and phallocratic but also heterosexist and homophobic. The epistemological
scaffolds of the discursive contours within which discourses of phallocentrism and
heterosexism were hammered out have persisted almost unchallenged and unquestioned till
the postmodern and the poststructuralist moments have arrived. With foucauldian genealogy
and derridian deconstruction, many of the textual lacunas have now begun to be replenished.
Filling out of such textual gaps has given rise to new array of information hitherto
underrepresented and undiscovered. Such charting out of newish data has led to a
resuscitation of a fresh interest in the non-authoritative, subordinated knowledge systems of
the vanquished sexual minorities. Notable in this connection is the case of the prostitutes who
have now stood up to challenge the discursive dichotomisation and binaries which
compartmentalize women into good and bad women. Modern discourse has relegated the
prostitute to the status of a stigmatized social other. Discursive obsession with banality has
11

led to a scandalization and degradation of the sexually diverse prostitutes. Instead of viewing
them as gurumas of sexual lore, they have for centuries been looked at as emblems of carnal
divertissement for males.

Besides, Hijras in India are far better off in terms of social security and pecuniary solvency in
comparison to Bangladesh and Pakistan. Apart from the preternatural traits people ascribe to
the Hijras in India, they have higher incomes and a far sounder social life. Of late a Hijra
named Shabnam has been elected a parliamentarian in India. Even in Pakistan a Hijra named
Mohammed Aslam, was put up as a candidate by the people of Abbott bad in the 1990
election.
In contrast the Hijras of Bangladesh about whom this paper will address more in the later
pages have no social rights. Hijras or hermaphrodites are people with ambiguous genitalia.
Also called intersexed, hermaphrodites are primarily a medical condition which results from
multifarious biological factors. The term intersexed is reserved to refer to a somatic
condition in which the hermaphroditic person is supposed to posses both masculine and
feminine

traits.

Nonetheless for the sake of conceptual clarity, it is important to elaborate upon some other
associated, though not clearly distinct, terms like transsexual, transvestite and eunuch. Tran
sexuality also known as gender dysphoria is a condition where a person claims to be trapped
into the body of the wrong sex. Pretty often, through surgical operations, such persons
metamorphose them into the desired gender/sex .On the other hand, transvestitism is a
situation in which a male tends to be attired in the garbs of the opposite sex and vice versa.
This emblematizes their hunch for gender crossing. Eunuchs are castrated males.
In cases of gender dysphoria a mans sex-surgery issues in his being castrated. Besides,
Transvestite peoples especially those with the proclivity to dress as women are similar to
many intersexed people who identify themselves as feminine. Eunuchs because of their being
castrated experience sexual impotency like many hermaphroditic people. Consequently there
is a considerable amount of overlap among these terms. However all these gargonistic and
notional differences are peppered with reductive and heterosexists nuances and are therefore
redundant to the sexually different. They have instead divined an umbrella term "transgender
to subsume all these diverse categories.
12

The Hijras are a remarkable community. Some Hijras claim that "their society was once
known from India to Spain", which was the expansion of the medieval Muslim empire, and
older Hijras who did the Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) sometimes hint to a close connection
between their society and the ancient society of "eunuchs" that guarded the grave of noble
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) and the sacred mosque in Makkah. In that way one might assume
that today`s Muslim Hijra communities are the only intact survivors of medieval Muslim
"mukhannath" society, while at the same time having local connections to ancient Hindu
traditions. On these pages I will explain some features of "Hijra - culture" and their
relationship to Indo- Pakistani Islam. Hopefully I might also dispel some prejudices and
wrong myths. May God bless the Hijra community in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, may
he guard the Hijras and may he guard their precious heritage! (Hossain Adnan, 2001, pp 3589)

Furthermore, many Hijras believe that "political skills" belong to their heritage, since in the
past they were so close to the ruling class. History mentions many Hijras who rose to high
positions in the Moghul Empire and in the Muslim principalities. Many were of a significant
influence and some even may have been the "true rulers" of the empire. In fact, Hijra society
itself carries on many political features of the Moghul Empire.
Today Hijras are very active in local politics. Especially in India, but also in Pakistan. And,
besides having been stigmatized during colonial times, many have an impressive amount of
voters. A new slogan arose: "There is one solution to useless politicians, give the mandate to
eunuchs." In a town called Gorakhpur a Hijra with the name Asha Devi became mayor,
another called Kamala Jaan became mayor in Katni; nowadays there are many local Hijra
politicians on the Indian subcontinent, all following in the footsteps of "auntie" Shabnam (or
Shabnam Mausi, as it is in Hindi/Urdu), the first mukhannath member of the Madhya Pradesh
Legislative Assembly. In Hindu-folk-lore there is an old legend according to which "in the
end of time there will be an age in which the Hijras will rule", because of a blessing from
God. Many Hijras believe this time has come! (Cameron & Kulick, 2003, pp 30-80)

13

Objectives of the Study


Most of he people takes being either a man or a woman for granted, although many of them
are not conventional men or women. Hijras are one of those types of people. The researchers
endeavor is to find out how biological difference distinguishes them from majority people
and how they minimize it.
Specific Objectives:
To find out the identity making process of Hijras.
To know about their social system.
To know about their sexual behavior.
To find out the process of their adaptation in the society.

Scope and Importance of the research

This perspective on the transcendence of sex and gender variations guides the anthropological
and historical analysis that follow in several ways. First to re-examine and redefine studies of
sex and gender in light of critiques of sex/gender dimorphism. Which generally suggest the
limitations of a reproductive paradigm? Of course there are conceptual dangers involved in
braking precipitously with the past convention of distinguishing arbitrary between sex (as
biology and nature) and gender (as culture and nature). Second it is shown that in some
places and times individuals are grouped into divergent ontological categories identities, tasks
roles practices and institutions that have resulted in more that two kinds of persons that is
what should classify as two sexes (male and female) or genders (masculine and feminine).

Gender, a learned social role, helps explain why individuals can vary from what is otherwise
considered the biological destiny of their sex. Gender polices sex and creates a ground for
morality. That is, gender can vary from physical sex. In my research I want to explore why
they are viewed as third gender. For this intensive fieldwork should be needed among Hijra.
14

In Anthropology only two genders masculine and feminine are discussed. But there are some
individuals who are not included both of two categories. They born in the society but they are
excluded. So their identification should be found out in Anthropological perspective. But now
for urbanization and commercialization their traditional activities for earning money are
changing. Some of them now are working as sex worker.
In Bangladesh Hijras are usually known as third gender. Very few anthropological researches
have done among them. Their social identity and process of adaptation should be found out.
They dont take education and they have no salary-oriented job. So they have special
activities for their economic support.
For this they are marked as a risky group for the spread of HIV and STD. Now HIV and STD
is a burning issue in the world as well as in Bangladesh. For this many non-government
organizations are working among Hijras to improve their condition especially their health.
But for changing their condition actual cause for creating of these situations should be find
out by intensive research among those people. I choose them for my third gender study
because they are identified as not male or not female. They have also special characteristics.

Methodology
The study population of my study is Hijras. A large number of Hijras lived in the Southwest
region of Bangladesh. From my childhood I saw they them there so I choose my field there.
My study unit will be individual. I collect primary data from about (20-25) sample.

Secondary sources:
Most of the data for researches have been collected from primary sources. I also collected
from secondary sources. Related books articles journals etc are included in secondary
sources. I also have collected from online
Sampling:
The sampling techniques will be purposive sampling, because this technique is selected by
some arbitrary methods and it as known to be the representative of the total population. For
15

the representation of the Hijra community. These techniques have been the perfect one. It is
known as produce well-matched groups. It is appropriate in a study which emphasis on the
control of certain specific variables. So it will be applicable for explore the Hijras adaptation
and identity in the society and also about their behaviour.

The techniques of my primary data collection are as follows.

Key Informant Technique:

It is one of the main sources of primary information about any intensive study of social
phenomena. This technique is very useful and some fine indispensable when by the presence
of researcher, the study peoples natural life style have ceased to exist or sharply modified. It
is great effective and more reliable in some specific data collection. Key informant can also
help researcher to familiar with the study community. Here key informant technique should
use to get some primary information about the Hijras and access in their community.
Informal Interview:
The central form of this type of interview is its open-ended character. It provides qualitative
depth-allowing interviewers to talk about the subject in terms of their own way. This allows
the meanings and interpretations that individuals attribute to events and relationships to be
understood. It thereby provides a greater understanding of the subjects point of view. This
type of interview technique has been followed in this research because they can talk freely
and in their own terms.
Unstructured Questionnaire or Check List:
In this type of questionnaire there are some possible question related to the research
objectives. If the researcher need he or she can change it. It this type of questionnaire the
researcher have much flexibility. In this research this type of questionnaire has been used for
interview.

16

Focus Group Discussion:


It is kind of group discussion where discussion have conduct with special target to fulfill
research objectives. From F.G.D. multidimensional data can be found. Informant feels
comfort give information in F.G.D. There may be 6to 12 individuals in a F.G.D. but perfect
number is 8. In this research this technique has been used because in this way Hijras will feel
comfort to give information.

Case Study:
Case studies are the detailed presentation of ethnographic data relation to some sequence of
events from which the analyst seeks to make some theoretical inference. The events
themselves may relate to any level of social organization a whole society, some selection of a
community, a family or an individual. Through this kind of research technique vast
information about any issue can be gathered. Every case is important for represent the total
population. In my research I have used this technique for collecting and presenting some
individuals special events or case.

Life history:
A life history narrative highlights the most important influences, experiences, circumstances,
issues, themes and lessons of a lifetime. As such, a life history narrative can be as valuable an
experience for the persons telling their history, as it is successful research endeavor for the
gathering data. Life histories focus on situating a life with in its social and cultural milieu and
considering the sharp turnings, and choices that an individual makes in specific
circumstances and what these beings beliefs and attitudes in general. I have followed this
technique to know about Hijras adaptation and know about their life cycle.

17

Operational Definitions

Hijra: The term Hijra, which, is of Urdu origin and the masculine gender, has the primary
meaning of hermaphrodite. It is usually translated as eunuch. In our country Hijra means
those who are anatomically true hermaphrodite and a special character distinguished a class
of individuals from both men and women and attributed them with a constellation of traits
comparable to those traits used to define other gender.

Sexual Identity: sex is polarity of anatomy. Sexual identity is how you see yourself
physically; male, female or in between. If someone is born female, but wishes to see their
body as a male in all respects, their sexual identity is male. We call such a person a
transsexual, whether or not they have had any surgery.

Gender identity: Gender is a polarity of appearance and behavior. Gender identity is how you
see yourself socially: man, woman or a combination of both. One may have a penis but prefer
to relate socially as a woman, or one may have a vagina, but prefer to relate as a man. One
might prefer to be fluid, relating sometimes as a man and sometimes as a woman, or one
might not identify as either one, relating androgynously.

Androgyne: Person appearing and identifying as neither man nr woman, presenting a gender
either mixed or neutral.

Transgenderist: Person who lives as gender opposite to anatomical sex, i.e., person with penis
living as woman.
Transsexual: An individual anatomically of one sex who firmly believes s/he belongs to the
other sex. This belief is so strong that the transsexual is obsessed with the desire to have
his/her body, appearance, and social status altered to conform to that of his/her rightful
gender.
18

Transvestite: Person who enjoys wearing clothes identified with the opposite gender, often
but not always straight.
FTM (female to male): Born females but see themselves as partly to fully masculine
MTF (male to female): Born males but see themselves as partly to fully feminine.
Intersex: It is an intermingling in one individual of characters in both sexes in varying
degrees, including physical form, reproductive organs and sexual behavior. It results from
some defect in the embryonic development.

19

DESCRIPTION ABOUT THE STUDY POPULATION

Background of the study population


The emotive word 'eunuch' usually refers to a man or boy who was a harem attendant or a
functionary in certain Asian courts and was derived from the Greek word eunoukhos, 'a
castrated person employed to take charge of the women of a harem and act as chamberlain.'
The Greek word is derived from eun, 'bed,' and ekhein, 'to keep Usually castration involves
the removal of the testes before puberty thus preventing the physical changes of manhood;
muscle mass never develops, the voice never deepens, the penis never grows larger, hence
mostly useless as a sex organ, and facial and body hair does not develop. The eunuch is
likely to put on weight like a female, develop a thin layer of fat under soft skin, and have
extra weight around the hips and the stomach. "Male Pattern Baldness" does not develop and
they may live ten to fifteen years longer than other males. He would face the problems of
depression, as well as the threat of osteoporosis in older age. The term usually identified now
for the pre-pubescent eunuch is the castrato. A male castrated after puberty will already have
all of the secondary sexual characteristics of a man and will be indistinguishable from any
other except for a lack of testes but he would experience "hot flushes" as his body withdraws
from the hormone testosterone. Another difference in the Castrato/Eunuch is, according to a
modern day eunuch, a total lack of interest in sex although some, especially those castrated
after puberty, sometimes retained their sex drive and the ability to achieve a long-lasting but
orgasm-less erection. The process for creating a eunuch remained relatively unchanged. The
boy or man was strapped spread-eagled to a table. A thin cord was knotted tightly around his
genitals, and, with a sharp razor, the organs were amputated. The wound was then cauterized
by the application of either a red-hot poker or molten tar. He was deprived of water for
several days to prevent urination, which could cause infection. Then he was forced to drink
enormous amounts of water, until the pressure in his bladder punctured a hole in the layers of
scar tissue. The fatality rate was as high as 90 %. Chinese eunuchs often also had their penis
as well as there testicles, completely "shaved off", which was considered more effective.
Using only hot chilli sauce as a local anesthetic, the Chinese operation was one swoop, using
a small, curved knife. The custom of employing eunuchs in royal households is ancient. In
Egypt the term was applied to any court official, castrated or not. Their power, influence and
20

courage are amply shown in the histories of Iran, India, and China, where they were often
involved in public affairs. In China the practice of using castrated men as guardians of the
emperor's Inner court began over 2,000 years ago. Aside from the emperor, eunuchs were
generally the only men allowed in the inner courtyards of the palace, where the women and
harem lived. All other men left the palace at night. The employment of eunuchs reached its
height in the courts of the Byzantine emperors at Constantinople, from whom the Ottoman
sultans adopted the practice. Eunuchs often rose to high positions. Muslim rulers employed
eunuchs mainly as harem officials but this was far less common than is generally believed;
however, the sale of young males to be eunuchs was an important element of African trade.
The voluntary practice of castration for religious celibacy appeared early in Christian history
particularly in the third century, but it was not officially approved of by the church and was
eventually denounced, however from Constantinople spread the custom of using eunuchs in
choirs. In the opera seria of the eighteenth century the male heroes' roles were sung by
castrati, and the papal choir used castrati until the beginning of the nineteenth century.
...Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the
eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my
covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name
better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that have not be cut
off. (Isaiah 56:3b-5)

In our country the third gender people are well known as Hijra. They lived all over the
country and lived in a small unit; usually (5-10) Hijras lived in a small unit. There is also a
chief in every Hijra house, who maintains and takes decisions about others.
Traditionally, Hijras earn their living by performing at life-cycle ceremonies, such as the birth
of a child, at marriage ceremony and they collect money from market and from shopkeeper in
sexual festivals.

21

PEOPLE WHO HAS IDENTIFIED AS HIJRAS

Causes of their born


When a new baby makes the difficult and exhausting journey through its mothers vagina
into the world beyond, the question relatives ask first (assuming no unusual trauma) has
usually been, Is it a boy or a girl? This question, which is more important to the family than
size or other features of outward appearance, will also do more to affect the childs life than
any

other

single

factor,

save

perhaps

race

or

poverty.

Even as a newborn, psychologists have found, the child will be treated differently depending
on gender. If female it will be cooed at fussed over, gently touched, and smiled at for being
quiet, inert, and complacent. If male, it will be more vigorously handled and any loud sounds
or thrashing of limbs will be cheered as signs of masculine vigor. Later whether the child will
be given a doll or a toy truck, will be cuddled and fussed over after an injury or told to shake
it off, or whether the child will be scolded or praised for boisterous, risky behaviour -- all
these, even today, will still hinge largely on gender. By the time this same individual reaches
the choices and options of adult life, personality (shaped by gender influenced interactions),
has

already

been

molded

into

distinctly

male

or

female

modalities.

Meanwhile these differing reactions are only a small part of a whole system of social
relationships which are underpinned by issues of gender -- or more specifically, on the idea
that men and women do and should look differently, act differently, and contribute differently
to society. Although gender roles are probably more relaxed now than at any time in Western
history, issues of living up to cultural gender stereotypes still cause insecurity, repression, and
even deadly acts of violence. How one dresses, speaks, walks, and with whom one has sex
are all determined by gender -- or so our social traditions would tell us.
Historically, issues of gender roles have taken such bizarre twists as prohibitions against
women wearing trousers, or even underpants -- as any article of clothing which parted the
female legs was viewed as an obscene reminder of the leg parting that accompanied sexual
intercourse. But a more basic and enduring example of gender obsession occurs in the
English language itself, one of many languages in which one can scarcely even address or
refer to another human being without knowing that person's gender. Thus in the supermarket,
mother's are routinely asked "Is it a boy or girl?" before the speaker can then go on to declare,
22

"He is so handsome!" or "He is so pretty!" Note that both pronoun and appropriate adjective
both depend on gender. Imagine the admirer's reaction if the mother replied, "Neither
actually," or even, "Both!"
And yet, in the delivery room, in those first heady moments following childbirth, the question
of whether a child is a boy or a girl is occasionally met with a significant pause. The doctors
will hurry to explain that, what with hormones and swelling and so on and so forth, the
appearance of the newborns genitals can appear a little confusing. In fact, the doctors, will
admit, we havent yet verified the childs gender. But rest assured, your child has a definite
gender, and soon enough well know what it is. This idea that gender comes in only one of
two varieties is an idea so firmly entrenched in our society that even medical professionals
would hardly think to question it. But in actual fact, since time immemorial, the human race
has been birthing forth children whose gender is not so clear cut. That is, as with the
individuals pictured above, they bear some aspects of one gender and some aspects of the
other.
In fact, so ingrained is this philosophy that no newborn may leave the hospital until its
paperwork bears the decree (m) male or (f) female. Therefore, if the genitals are ambiguous
that is if their appears to be both penis and vagina (or neither) the doctors will have to
determine, through ultrasound or rectal exam, if the child does or does not have a uterus. If no
uterus is found, then its on to the gonads specifically, in their later months in uterus, did
they develop into ovaries or into testicles? (Sometimes the gonads will be checked first, but
only if they are descended sufficiently as to be external, as with testicles.)
But as straightforward as this may seem (testes=boy, ovaries=girl), the reality is much more
complicated. Genetics, hormones, and various "accidents" of birth all work together to affect
the gender of the child. While many feel that the ultimate test of maleness or femaleness can
be determined by the gonads, or at least by the chromosomes (XX=female, XY=male) there
are actually a variety of conditions which confuse the situation. For example:
Klinefelter's syndrome -- A condition in which a genetic male actually has one or more extra
X chromosomes (XXY, XXXY). The individual appears anatomically male but would not be
male according to XY=boy formula. Neither could such a person impregnate a female, being
sterile.
Turner's syndrome -- Condition in which an individual has one X and no Y chromosome, thus
they are neither an XY male nor a XX female. In addition, the gonads degenerate before
birth.
23

Classification of Hijras:
Hijra sexually handicapped person who is either a hermaphrodite or a eunuch or of
equivocal malformation,

viewed as neither male nor female. A Hijra usually wears the

garb of a woman. There are mainly two types of Hijras: one is natural and another is artificial.
Medicine and comparative biology classify natural Hijras into six divisions according to their
physiological features, sex, and behaviour. Natural Hijras are more or less the same all over
the world. But artificial Hijras show characteristics derived from local culture, norms, and
social

structure

and

economic

conditions.

Some Hijras, called akua are physically male but mentally female. With training and
education they may live a normal life. Another category of Hijras is called jenana, who are in
fact, normal males. To earn money they take to the life of Hijras in disguise. The chhibry
group comprises females who join Hijra society for livelihood. They move with Hijras in
disguise. There are also man-made Hijras called chhinni. They are the traditional eunuchs. In
the past, these people were used as servants of the members of the harem. Even today they
consider themselves to be servants. According to popular belief, Hijras try to swell their
group by kidnapping and castrating good looking male children. This assumption, however, is
not supported by empirical evidence.

According

to

respondents,

Hijras

are

of

three

types.

These

are:-

A) REAL HIJRA: These are Hijras with no trace of genitalia except for a tiny hole for
urination. They can be both flat-chested as well as big-breasted.

B) MALE HIJRA: These are Hijras with a tiny non-erectile phallus. More often than not,
they go for a medical operation as having that phallic additive trimmed skyrockets the status
of the male Hijras in the Hijra community. Some are said to have small-sized bust.
C) FEMALE HIJRA: These are Hijras who look pretty much like women and are said to have
breasts as well as female genitalia. But they do not menstruate. They may also possess
masculine traits.
24

Stigmatization

and

making

of

their

identities

Most of the Hijras live are a story of alienation from family and society. Mutual mistrust:
Despite some lingering beliefs that Hijras bring good luck at weddings or after a birth, there's
widespread fear and hatred of them. That breeds an aggressive, vulgar streak in the Hijras,
and perpetuates a kind of vicious circle of mistrust.

The researcher argued that identifying a social status as a third gender required showing
consistent labeling and other linguistic practices in a society that distinguished a class of
individuals from both men and women, and attributed them with a constellation of traits
comparable to those traits used to define other genders. The presence of mythologies and
narratives describing the origins of such roles, as well as rites of passage socially recognized
multiple

genders.

Hijras as a norm don't marry. Even if they do, it is not legally recognized. The Hijras--men
who dress and act like women--have been a presence in Bangladesh for generations. Within
South Asian society they maintain a third-gender role that has become institutionalized
through tradition.
Hijras are often defined as eunuchs (castrated males) and acknowledged both in Hindu and
Muslim cultures. Numerous references to eunuchs in the royal courts of India's Muslim rulers
are cited as the Hijras' legacy. The fact that many don't consider themselves true Hijras until
they have undergone the "emasculation operation" links them to this tradition, as do elements
of Islamic practice that they observe, such as burying rather than cremating their dead.
Dual-gender figures in Hinduism provide other sources of identification in a religious
context. The deity Shiva sometimes assumes the form of a woman; Arjuna in the
Mahabharata epic lived as a eunuch during his exile. Both Hindu and Muslim Hijras are
devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata; her temple in the state of Gujarat is one of
their cultural centers .The Hijra are shrouded in secrecy. They live apart from the rest of
society, appearing only as performers, priest/eases, and beggars. It is difficult to find out
details of their personal lives, such as whether they were castrated voluntarily and what their
gender identification is. Most of them seem to have an intermediate gender identity that leans
strongly feminine.

25

Many of them seem to have an identity that closely parallels what we would call, a male-tofemale transsexual--with the notable exception that. transsexuals do not typically live and
work in groups and are not, in principle, restricted to employment as entertainers. Where my
country requires all people to belong to one of two sexes, thus encouraging transsexuals to
make a full gender transition assimilate, and blend in, in India there is a third sex category to
which the Hijra belong. An effeminate or castrated male is placed in this category whether
s/he wishes to be third sex or not. Hijras or hermaphrodites are people with ambiguous
genitalia. Also called intersexed, hermaphroditism is primarily a medical condition which
results from multifarious biological factors. The term intersexed is reserved to refer to a
somatic condition in which the hermaphroditic person is supposed to posses both masculine
and feminine traits.
Nonetheless for the sake of conceptual clarity, it is important to elaborate upon some other
associated, though not clearly distinct, terms like transsexual, transvestite and eunuch.
Transexuality also known as gender dysphoria is a condition where a person claims to be
trapped into the body of the wrong sex. Pretty often, through surgical operations, such
persons metamorphose them into the desired gender/sex .On the other hand, transvestiteism is
a situation in which a male tends to be attired in the garbs of the opposite sex and vice versa.
This emblematizes their hunch for gender crossing. Eunuchs are castrated males.
In cases of gender dysphoria a mans sex-surgery issues in his being castrated. Besides,
transvestitic people especially those with the proclivity to dress as women are similar to many
intersexed people who identify themselves as feminine. Eunuchs because of their being
castrated experience sexual impotency like many hermaphroditic people. Consequently there
is a considerable amount of overlap among these terms.

26

SPECIAL SOCIAL SYSTEM OF HIJRA COMMUNITY

Hijras are stigmatized people. So like all other stigmatized people they are marginalized. For
this they can not share all the social events frequently. So they have to lead their life in
different pattern. Usually they cannot mix with general people. So they lived in different
community and they have special social system. They have different house where they lived
together with other Hijras. They also communicate with all other Hijras all over the country.
They have some special symbolic languages which is called as ulti language and religious
practices. They have also some ritual during the period of death.

Living arrangement
Family is the micro unit in the society. Usually family members are blood kin relatives but in
Hijra family the members of the family is not blood kines. Generally three types of Hijra
families are available in Bangladesh.

Hijras refer to themselves using feminine pronouns and expect others to do so. They typically
live together in the traditional commune arrangement of five or more "chelas" (disciples),
supervised by a "guruma." When a new chela is accepted into a Hijra household, he assumes
not only the guruma's surname but also membership in the guruma's "house," one of seven
fictive lineages that confer a sense of kinship and identity, each house having its own history
and rules of behavior. He receives training in singing, dancing, and other activities to enable
her to earn a livelihood. This types of family is conducted by Hijras. This family is totally
isolated from societys mainstream. Some family is conducted and regulated by Guruma
and some other by Chela. This family are called Guruma or centered and chela centered
respectively.

27

Guruma Centered family

There are ten types of family that are Guruma centered. Guruma is the supreme authority in
Hijra

family.

There

are

Guruma

takes

some

decisions

chelas

in

every

under

aspects
a

of

Guruma

this

family.
(Type-1)

Sometimes there are few small families in same Hijra house. Different Guruma are presented
in different family. (Type-x). If any Guruma did not will his property to any chela only then
such type of family may created. In such small family Guruma collected young Hijras from
different places. Sometimes Guruma adopt orphan. When this orphan grows up Guruma gives
them money for business. When this person married Guruma lived with them. Only John
Hijras stay in such family (type-II) According to fieldwork there are some Gurumas who
lived with male-partner. But when this Guruma became aged this relation is closed. So
Guruma then lived alone. (Type-VII). There are some Hijra families in where only two
persons lived Guruma and her male partner (Type-III) In some family male partner and some
chelas lived (type-VI). Chief chela made another family (type-V). Guruma, chief chela and
chelas lived together in same family (type-IV) Guruma, male partner and poor divorce young
women live together in samel family (T-IX) Guruma, didima exist in some Hijra family
where

chief

chela

maintain

all

the

things

(t-VIII)

Chela centered family


Talk from aged Hijra it is known that in the past there were no Hijra family withour
Guruma. At present there is some family which is conducted by chela. Generally chela took
house in rent and set up a new family. In such family they all eat together. This is called
combined family (Type-2.A. II). But in some case Hijras lived alone (T-2.A.I). Some other
lived with her male partner. (T.2.A.III). but in some Hijra family chela collect some
prostitutes

and

engage

them

in

prostitution

(T.2.A.IV).

Gonica Mashi conducted family


In several brothels in the country this tradition is now running. Gonica mashi

has

collected jonn Hijra from several places and brought them in her brothel for prostitution.
Because some male want to do anal sex and this Hijras play passive role for this sexual act.

28

Conventional Hijra family


There are some Hijras who lived with their father, mother, brother, sisters. From fieldwork, it
is known to researcher that this Hijras are transvestite or transsexual. For many reason this
Hijras are not able to live permanently in Hijra house. They are also a kind of Jonn Hijra.
Though they collect money from others their original destination is their blood kin family.
The

chart

below

indicates

different

type

of

Hijra

family.

Guruma and chela


Hijras social life is totally different from mainstream social life. Generally Hijras live
together but all of them did not hold same status. In every Hijra house there is a chief who is
called the Guruma. Guruma has some another name Malkin, Murubbi, Malkin etc. Guruma is
the proprietor of the total property of the Hijra house. Every Guruma has some restricted area
where he is all in all from traditional Hijra rule.There are some Hijras under Guruma they are
called chela.
The most significant relationship in the Hijra community is that of the guruma (master,
teacher) and chela (disciple). When an individual decides to (formally) join the Hijra
community, he is taken to visit one of the seven major gurumas, usually the guruma of the
person who has brought him there. At the initiation ritual, the guruma gives the novice a new,
female name. The novice vows to obey the guruma and the rules of the community. The
guruma then presents the new chela with some gifts.

The chela, or more likely, someone on her behalf, pays an initiation fee and the guruma
writes the chelas name in her record book. This guruma-chela relationship is a lifelong bond
of reciprocity in which the guruma is obligated to help the chela and the chela is obligated to
be loyal and obedient to the guruma. Hijras live together in communes generally of about to
seven to ten members, and the heads of these local groups are also called guruma. Hijras
make no distinctions within their community based on caste origin or religion, for example,
Muslim and Hindu Hijras reportedly live apart (Salunkhe, 1976). In Bombay, Delhi,
Chandigarh and Bangalore, Hijras of Muslim, Christian, and Hindu origin live in the same
houses.
In addition to the hierarchical guruma-chela relationship, there is fictive kinship by which
29

Hijras relate to each other. Rituals exists for taking a daughter and the daughters of one
mother consider themselves sisters and relate on a reciprocal, affectionate basis. Other
fictive kinship relations, such as grandmother or mothers sister (aunt) are the basis of
warm and reciprocal regard. Fictive kin exchange small amounts of money, clothing, jewelry
and sweets to formalize their relationship. Such relationship connects Hijras all over
Bangladesh, and there is constant movement of individuals who visit their gurumas and
fictive kin in different cities. Various annual gatherings, both religious and secular, attract
thousands of Hijras from all over Bangladesh.Generally three types of chela Hijras in Hijra
house All of them did not share the same status. Three types of Hijras are given below:
General chela
Chief chela
Jonnn Hijra
When any Guruma died chief chela will get all the property of Guruma and he will be the
next Guruma. In most of the Hijra house all the works are done by general chela. But in
special cases Guruma talk to her chief chela and its a continuous process in Hijra house.
Jonnn Hijras do work in Hijra house in exchange of some cost payments, chief chela knows
about the secret of Guruma and her duty is collect the income perfectly from general chela
and give it to Guruma.

Occupation
Generally Hijras did not do any salary oriented job. Traditionally they dont involve in
business.

But

at

present

some

Hijras

are

engage

in

business.

Major occupation
Traditionally the Hijras earn their living by performing at life-cycle ceremonies, such as the
birth

of

child-formerly

only

for

male

children,

who

are much desired in Bangladesh, but today sometimes for female children as well and at
marriages and they also serve the goddess in her temple. It is because the Hijras are vehicles
of the goddess powers of procreation that their presence is necessary on these occasions,
when they ask the goddess to bless the newborn or the married couple with prosperity and
30

fertility.

Minor occupation
At present some Hijras engage themselves in business, some other involve in smugglings.
Some other Hijras are in prostitution who earns their living from prostitution. Few Hijras also
now engaging themselves in job (two Hijras now working in Bandhu social welfare society)
In Hijra world, they earn of chelas are shared with Guruma but Gurumas income did not
share with chela. The incomes of the chelae are equally distributed among others but the
income of the Guruma is never divided. The income of the chelas is also distributed
according to area. The bellow diagram shows the percentage of the Guruma and chela
income.
Religion and Belief rituals
In Hijra community the religion which researcher found it can be called mixed religion.
Because its creates a new religion with the mix up of Hindu religion and Muslim religion.
Researcher has found three types of religious practices in Hijra community. There are as
belows:

Shrine centered religious notions

Normally Hijras are unable to do traditionally religious practices with other. So they go to the
tomp for pray. Pir and Shufi spread the religion of humanity. So Hijras can go their feely.
Its common culture among Hijras to go to the shrine.

Common deities and their related worship


There were some deities who are their own deities because only Hijras worship them. From
doing this they show their difference and exceptionality from others in the society. The link
between the Hindu theme of creative asceticism and the role and power of the Hijras is
explicitly articulated in the myths connecting them to their major point of religious
31

identification their worship of Bahuchara Mata, and her requirement that they undergo
emasculation. Bahuchara was a pretty, young maiden in a party of travelers passing through
the forest in Gujerat. The party was attacked by thieves, and fearing they would outrage her
modesty, Bahuchara drew her dagger and cut off her breast, offering it to the outlaws in place
of her body. This act, and her ensuring death, led to Bahucharas deification and the practice
of self-mutilation and sexual abstinence by her devotees to secure her favor.
Bahuchara has a special connection to the Hijras because they are impotent men who undergo
emasculation. This connection derives special significance from the story of King Baria of
Gujerat. Baria was a devout follower of Bahucharaji, but was unhappy because he had no
son. Through the goddess favour a son, Jetho, was born to him. The son, how ever, was
impotent. The king, out of respect to the goddess, set him apart for her service. Bahucharaji
appeared to Jetho in a dream and told him to cut off his genitalia and dress himself as a
woman, which he did. This practice has been followed by all who join the Hijra devotee in to
a

closer

identification

with

the

female

object

of

devotion.

Identification of the Hijras with bahuchara specifically and through her, with the creative
powers of the Mother Goddess worshipped in many different forms in India, is clearly related
to their major cultural function, that of performing at homes where a male child has been
born. During these performances the Hijras, using sexual innuendos, inspect the genitals of
the infant whom they hold in their arms as they dance. The Hijras confer fertility, prosperity,
and health on the infant and family.

Hindu Muslim religious views

In every Hijra community where Hindu Muslim both lived together, they obey and practice
both Hindu religious belief and practices and also Muslim religious beliefs and practices. But
they did not practices all the religious practices like other non hijra people, they only
practices few. They obey some Hindu saint as well as Muslim saint. Hindu saint like Arabian
of Khubagham, kalipuza. In Muslim religious point of view they practices Eid-ul fiter. Eid-ul
azha,

Ramada

etc.

in

sobabarat

night

they

pray

for

their

past

Guruma

With these practices they showed their exceptionality and difference from others of the
society as normal male and female do.
32

SEXUAL LIFE OF HIJRAS


The attraction that the Hijra role holds for some individuals is the opportunity to engage in
sexual relations with men, while enjoying the sociability and relative security of an organized
community; these advantages are apparent in contrast to the insecurity and harassment
experienced by the effeminate homosexual living on his own. But, whether with husbands or
customers, sexual relations run counter to the cultural definitions of the Hijra role, and are a
source of conflict within the community. Hijra elders attempt to maintain control over those
who would spoil the Hijra reputation by engaging in sexual activity. While the core of the
positive meaning attached to the Hijra role is linked to the negation of sexual desire, the
reality

is

that

many

Hijras

do,

in

fact,

engage

in

sexual

activities.

Hijras as homosexuals

Through it is clear from the field work that some Hijra engage in homosexual activity, there
has been controversy over the centrality of this activity in the institutionalization of the role
in Bangladesh. In his psychoanalytical study of high castes in a village in Rajasthan, Carstairs
(1957) asserted that the Hijra role is primarily a form of institutionalized homosexuality that
developed in response to tendencies toward latent homosexuality in India national character.
Morris Opler (1960) contested both Carstairs evaluation of Indian character and his assertion
that Hijra are primarily conceptualized as homosexuals or that they engaged on any sexual
activity.
Opler argued that the cultural definition of their role in Indian society was only one of
performers. Sinha (1976), who worked in Lucknow in North India, acknowledged their
performing role, but treated Hijras primarily as homosexuals who join the community
specifically to satisfy their sexual desires. Lynton and Rajan (1974), who interviewed Hijra in
Hyderabad, indicate that a period of homosexual activity, involving solicitation in public,
sometimes precedes a decision to join the Hijra. Their informants led them to believe,
however, that sexual activity is prohibited by Hijra rules and that these are strictly enforced
by the community elders. Freeman (1979), who did fieldwork in Orissa at the southern edge
33

of North Indian culture, discusses Hijra as transvestite prostitutes and hardly mentions their
ritual roles.
Although Hijra attribute their increased prostitution to declining opportunities to earn a living
in their traditional manner, eunuch-transvestites in Hindu classical literature also had the
reputation of engaging in homosexual activity the classic Hindu manual of love, the
Kamasutra, specifically outlines sexual practices that were considered appropriate for eunuch
transvestites to perform with male partners. Classical Hinduism taught that there was a third
sex, divided into various categories, two of which were castrated men, eunuchs, and
hermaphrodites, who wore false breasts, and imitated the voice, gestures, dress and
temperaments of women. These types shared the major function of providing alternative
techniques of sexual gratification (Bullough, 1976). In contemporary India, concepts of
eunuch, transvestite and male homosexual are not distinct, and the Hijra are considered all of
these at once (OFlaherty, 1980).
The term Hijra, however which is of Urdu origin and the masculine gender, has the primary
meaning of hermaphrodite. It is usually translated as eunuch, never as homosexual. Even
Carstairs informants, among whom the homosexuality of the Hijra was will known, defined
them as either drum players at the birth of male children, or eunuchs, whose duty was to
undergo castration. In parts of North India, the term for effeminate males who play the
passive role in homosexual relations in jenanas (woman); by becoming a Hijra, one removes
oneself from this category (see also Lynton and Rajan, 1974). Furthermore, a covert
homosexual subculture exist in some of the larger cities in North India (Anderson, 1977), but
persons who participate in it are not called Hijra. In fact, as in other cultures (Carrier, 1980;
Wikan, 1977) men who play the insertor role in sexual activities between men have no
linguistically or sociologically distinguihed role. Unlike western cultures, in the names by
which Hijra are called, such as kojja, in Telegu (Anderson, 1977) or potee in Tamil, are,
unlike the term Hijra, epithets used derogatorily to men a cowardly or feminine male or
homosexual. This linguistic defference, however, is consistent with the fact that in South
India the jijras do not have the cultural role which they do not in North India.
According to my research, homosexual activity is widespread among Hijra, and teenage
homosexual activity figures significantly in the lives of many individuals who join the
community. As Sinhas (1967) interviews also indicate, those Hijra who engage in
homosexual activity share particular life patterns before joining the community. Typically,
34

such individuals liked during childhood to dress in feminine clothes, play with girls, do
traditionally female work, and avoid the company of boys in rough play. In lower class
families, the boys effeminacy is both ridiculed and encouraged by his peers, who may
persuade him to play the inserted role for them, possibly with some slight monetary
consideration. At this stage the boy lives with his family, though in an increasingly tense
atmosphere. He thinks of himself as a male and wears male and wears male clothing, at least
in public. As his interest in homosexual activity increases and his relations with his family
become more strained, he may leave home. In mist cases their families make serious attempts
to inhibit their feminine activity with scolding, surveillance, restrictions, and beatings, so that
the boy finally has no choice but to leave.
There are two modes of sexual relations among Hijra. One is casual prostitution, the
exchange of sexual favours with different men for a fixed sum of money, and the other is
having a husband. Hijra do not characterize their male sexual partners as homosexual; they
quite explicitly distinguish them as being different than homosexual. One Hijra, Pinki,
characterizes the customers in the following way.

This devotion to one man is seen as typical of Pinkis extremely feminine identification. Not
all Hijra who engage in sexual relation with other men express such complete feminine
identification. One Hijra, for example, explained the attraction of men to Hijra on different
grounds:
This statement suggests that the attraction of the Hijra is that they will engage in forms of
sexual behaviour in which Indian women will normally not engage. Several of my non-Hijra
male informants confirmed this view.

Although many Hijra complain that it is hard for them to save money, some have a good
business sense and have invested in jewelry and property so that they can be relatively
independent financially.

35

Sexual life of Guruma and chela

In most of the Hijra house both Guruma and chela are engaged in sexual activities.
Sexual life of Guruma.To discuss about Hijras sexual life the talk about Guruma comes first
because he is the central figure of Hijra sexual life. Gurumas sexual life depends on her body
structure and mentality. In those Hijra houses where Guruma is Jenana there he takes a
beautiful Chinni or Aqua. They are usually called as Nagin. In such Hijra house he is the
chief chela. During their sexual intercourse Guruma plays active role and nagin plays passive
role. Some jenana gurumas are married. They had wife in another place. They are both
homosexual and heterosexual guruma do anal sex with such nagin. But some gurumas are
only homosexual. Generally Guruma change his sexual partner after few years.
In the Hijra community those male partners are named as Moga, Minshavor varua. But he
is called gurumababa to general chela. Besides of homosexuality heterosexuality also exist in
Hijra community. Where chhibry lives in Hijra house there jenana guruma establish sexual
relation with chhibry. But this guruma is not only ho osexual but also heterosexual.

Sexual life

of

chela:

Chelas sexual life is similar to Guruma. Jenana chela also sexually involve with aqua,
chhibry or chhinni. Their sexuality pattern is anal or oral. They live like husband and wife.
But its a very secret matter. People outside the Hijra community did not know about their
sexual life. In front of others they did not want to explore about sexual life. So its very
difficult for their impression management. They have to prepare property for their behaviour.
When behave with outsiders their behavior is normal. But when they act with their sexual
partner their behaviour is totally different.

Prostitution
Hijras are engaged in homosexual activities. They have a good demand to homosexual male
active partners. All the Hijras did not participate in prostitution. Those who were only passive
in homosexual activities only they are able to perform their role as prostitute. At present
36

Hijras are doing this all over the country. But Hijras are not new to this profession. When
Magnus Hirschfield to come to India in the decayed of thirties he observed that they sit on
the balconies by bright lamp light just as the female prostitutes do and they exactly like
women. On the street are founts who inform the passerby those eunuchs live in the house.
(Hirschfield M: 1935)

Guruma is the central character of Hijra prostitution. He engages others to this profession. He
receives money from others income. So he maintains this business strictly. When any new
Hijra join Hijra community then a special event and ritual had done by Guruma. A stick or a
stone enter into the anus of the new Hijra. This work had done seven to twelve days. When
this work had done then they arrange song and dance. In fear that others might know about
their activities.

At present prostitution is one of main profession for them. They are now doing this in hotel,
their own house and also in the street and park. In their old age, for Hijras who are not
particularly talented singers and dancers, or who live in cities where their ritual performances
are not in demand prostitution provides an adequate way of earning a living. It is a
demanding and even occasionally dangerous profession, however, because some customers
turn out to be rowdies. Although a Hijra living in a commune has to pay 50% of her fees
from prostitution to her household head, few of the younger Hijra prostitutes can afford their
own place; and living with others provides a certain amount of protection from rough
customers and the police. In spite of the resentment and constant complaints by younger Hijra
prostitutes that they are exploited by their elders, they are extremely reluctant to live on their
own.
A lot of people are now involved with Hijras. Some Hijras have permanent customer. Some
Hijras doing this like other female prostitutes. By doing this entire thing Hijras are now
targeted as one of most risky group for the transmission of HIV and STD.

From the

fieldwork it is known to researcher that Hijras are suffering from many sexual diseases. Their
customer did not want to use condoms. Monica 23 years old Hijras told that their customer
said I am giving you money so why I use condom. Their customer did not feel comfort to
use condoms. So now Hijras rapidly affected in HIV, Syphilis, Donovanosis, Gonorrhoea etc
diseases. So this procession is now very harmful for them as well as for the people who are
involve in such activities.
37

PROCESS OF ADAPTATION

Hiras are stigmatized group in the society. They by born Hijras or they are living as Hijras.
Their identity in the society is spoiled identity. So they cant lead a normal life like mass
people. They cant share all the social events frequently. It is a crucial factor for them to adapt
in the society. So they live apart from non-hijra people in an isolated area. They also have to
adapt in their own Hijra community.

Hijras have to adapt in the society in various style. They live in different community. It is
isolated from main community people. So but they have to come out from the Hijras
community and mix up with mass people for several reasons. For instance their main source
of income is in this way they generally go to the marketplace in a group and collect tola (a
handful of any item, mostly of grocery), for which they do not pay and receiving money for
dancing on the birth of a child or marriage party or even for prostitution they have to come
out from their community and frequently share some thing with mainstream people. But in
the Hijra community they have a different living style and different language also. So their
impression management is a vital factor for them. In back stage when they have in their own
Hijra community they have played different role but when in the front stage when they play
their in front of non-Hijras people their role is totally different. Their language manner all is
different.
Hijras are a stigmatized group, so the future of their life is not as like others. They have no
ability for reproduction. They did not join in any kind of job. They cant lead a married life
like other non-Hijra people. So with knowing all this they lead their life. Its a very hard thing
for

any

one.

Their dual behaviour is also made it hard for them. They have different role in their own
community

and

different

role

in

their

own

community.

For doing this they have learnt some manners and behaviors how to behave with other nonHijra people. But their adaptation within the Hijra community is also crucial for them.

38

Case-1

Tia a twenty two years old chhinni Hijra. He told that when he was out side the Hijra
community people always annoying him. When people knew that he was a Hijra it was
difficult for him to stay outside the Hijra community. In his word, when I go out for a work
in a crowd place people who knew that I am a Hijra they always tease me. It was started
during the time of puberty when if was fifteen. A since then I was recognized as Hijra. I
joined the Hijra community when I was seventeen. One day Guruma bring me here since then
I am living with this Hijra house. Now I am a member of this Hijra community. Now I am
earning livelihood by collecting money from bazar and also receiving payments from the
parents of a new born baby by performing. Now I am well settled in Hijra community.

Hijras adaptation within the Hijra community

Hijras adaptation within the Hijra community is also a vital factor for them. No Hijra in the
Hijra community live from their birth. They usually came to Hijra community after their
puberty. Because after puberty their identification is clear for every one. So after puberty it is
extremely difficult for them to live in the society. So then they go to Hijra community. After
joining in the Hijra community they had to learn some special rules and regulations. The rules
and regulation in the Hijra community is totally different from Bengali society. A new comer
goes there from outside of the Hijra community. Guruma even gives her a new female name.
He had to learn dance, song and claps. He had to also learn their special language which
named as Ulti language. They had to learn homosexual activities which were not familiar to
them before joining in the Hijra community. And some times Hijras homosexuality is causes
of their conflicts. Bangladeshi audiences express their ambivalence toward the Hijras by
challenging the authenticity of Hijra performers. The Hijras emasculation distinguishes them
from jenanas, or practicing effeminate homosexuals, who do not have the religious powers
ascribed to the Hijras, but who sometimes impersonate them in order to earn a living. Thus,
Hijras state that emasculation is necessary because, when they are performing or asking for
alms, people may challenge them. If their genitals have not been removed, they will be
reviled and driven away as imposters. Hijra elders themselves constantly deride those men
39

who are men and can have children and join their community only to make a living from it,
or to enjoy sexual relations with men. The parallel between such fake Hijras and the false
ascetics

is

clear.

Hijras consider sexual activity offensive to the Hijra goddess, Bahuchara Mata. Upon
initiation into the community, the novice vows to abstain from sexual relations or to marry.
Hijra elders claim that all Hijra houses lock their doors by nine oclock at night, implying that
no sexual activities occur there. In the cities where Hijra culture is strongest, Hijras who
practice prostitution are not permitted to live with Hijras who earn their living by traditional
ritual performances. Those who live in these respectable or family houses are carefully
watched to see that they do not have contact with men. In areas more peripheral to the core of
Hijra culture, including most of South India, prostitutes do live houses with traditional Hijra
performers, and may, in fact, engage in such performances themselves whenever they have an
opportunity to do so.
Sexually active Hijras usually assert that all Hijras join the community so that they can
engage in sexual relations with men. As Kamola, a particularly informant, said:
Why else would we wear saris? Those who you see who are aged now, when they were
young they were just like me. Now they say they havent got the sexual feeling and they talk
only for god and all, but tell you, that is all nonsense. In their younger days, they also did this
prostitution

and

it

is

only

for

the

sexual

felling

that

we

join.

The Hijra who most vehemently denied having sexual relations with men were almost always
over 40. It appears that as they get older, Hijra give up sexual activity. Such change over the
life cycle parallels that in India generally; in the Hindu cultural ideal, women whose sons are
married are expected to give up sexual activity. In fact, not all women who act in ways that
suggest active sexual interest (Vatuk, 1985). The presentation of self as a non-sexual person
that occurs with age also appears among the Hijras. The elderly ones may wear male clothing
in public, dress more conservatively, wearing white rather than boldly colored saris, act in a
less sexually suggestive manner, and take on household domestic roles that keep them
indoors.
Although Hijra elders are most vocal in expressing disapproval of Hijra sexual relations, even
younger Hijras who have husbands or practice prostitution admit that such behaviour runs
counter to Hijra norms and lowers their status in the larger society. Hijra prostitutes say that
prostitution is a necessary evil for them, the only way for them to earn a living. They attribute
the frequency of Hijra prostitution to the declining economic status of the Hijra in India since
the time of Independence.
40

Rajya Sabha passes The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014

Rajya Sabha on 24 April 2015 unanimously passed The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill,
2014 by voice vote. It should be noted that it was a private members bill moved by DMK
MP Tiruchi Shiva to protect the rights of transgender persons. It is the first private members
bill to be passed in 46 years. In the past, 14 Private Members Bills have been passed. Now,
the bill will go to the Lok Sabha for the passage. Key features of the Bill Seeks to provide
framework for the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive national policy for
ensuring overall development of the transgender persons and their welfare. Two percent
reservation in primary, secondary and higher education and in government jobs.
Establishment of Employment Exchange, National and State Commissions for Trasngender
Persons and Special Transgender Rights Courts. No child who is transgender will be
separated from his or her parents on the grounds of being a transgender except on an order of
competent court. Penalty for hate speech against transgender persons includes imprisonment
extending upto one year and with fine. This bill will help government take necessary steps in
order to ensure that transgender persons enjoy the right to life with dignity and to personal
liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. It should be noted that 29 nations and leading
democracies in the world including US, UK, Canada, France, Australia, Italy and Singapore
have

legislations

protecting

rights

of

transgender

persons.

41

Conclusion

Third gender is used to identifying a social status that required showing consistent labeling
and other linguistic practices in a society that distinguished a class of individuals from both
men and women, and attributed them with a constellation of traits comparable to those traits
used to define other gender.
From all the above discussion it can be said that anatomical defect especially in the genitals
distinguish them from others but their identity has made through a process including their
attitudes, manners and practices.
For most Bangladeshi Hijras are diabolic creatures a fount of diurnal disgust and perennial
fear. They are looked at as hapless chimeras bereft of sexual potency. This is evident from the
way the word Hijra is used in the day -to- day conversations of people. The word Hijra is
often found being used to disparage people. The very utterance of the word carries with it an
obvious sense of denigration. Unlike India where Hijras are apotheosized by many, in
Bangladesh they are a stigmatized, socially marginalized and economically impoverished
people. Even the standard dictionaries in Bengali define the term "Hijra in terms of the
"politics of pleasure. But at Hijras are conscious about their human rights. For this in
(2000), a group of Hijras, most of whom are sex workers, formed Bondhon, (bond in
Bengali). This organization engages in a range of activities including HIV/AIDS prevention
work, supported by international funding, and campaigning for the human rights of sex
workers. They are also allying with other organizations in a lobby for inclusion of the identity
intersex on voter identity cards for future elections, which presently specify the voter must be
either male or female. At the same time as campaigning for recognition as intersexuals.
Finally it can be said that the situation is changing slowly. Now they are organizing and try to
set up their position in the society. As a human being they are also fighting for their
recognition in the society.

42

References:

http:// www. Sover.net/~Sharing/gender.html.


http://www.the-sisterhood.net/trans-eastern/index.html
http://geo.yahoo.com/serv?s=76001081&t=1108563032
http:// allies.tamu.edu/Did%20xou%20know/transgender.htm
http:// www.thingsasian.com/ destination/ about_us.jsp # invest.

43