10 Interesting Facts About Hijras And Myths Surrounding Their Community
Over thousands of years, Hijras or the eunuchs have secretly occupied a dominant position in the society. Regardless of the fact that they have many rights in the society, they are socially not acceptable to many in our communities. For not being accepted by the society, they have created their own lifestyle and carved a space for themselves in the society.
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However, they are very secretive about their lives and customs which make people want to know about their lifestyle, livelihoods, origins and traditions. Here we bring you some facts about Hijras, India's officially recognised third gender.
1. Rebirth of Hijras
Emasculation operation is often termed as rebirth for Hijras, which is like their own nirvana. After operation, they become a potent eunuch from an impotent male. The emasculation operation is carried out by the midwife who performs it after receiving sanction from goddess.
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Once the operation is done, they have to follow an isolation period of four days. These four days involves extra care, special diet, sufficient sleep and so on.
2. The tradition which is replica of marriage rituals in Hinduism
After the emasculation operation is done and once the four days of isolation period is over, the eunuch is made to follow a tradition.
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According to this tradition, the eunuchs taken to a nearby water body for rituals, which is replica of marriage rituals in Hinduism. The eunuch becomes a potent eunuch after this tradition.
3. Their ceremonies
Most of their ceremonies originally have their roots in Hindu religion, but major aspects of their social structure are from Islam and the majority of their leaders and gurus are Muslims.
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In 18th and 19th centuries Hindu and Muslim Hijras didn't live together, but in contemporary India they often do.
4. Their death procedures
Very few people know about the death procedures of Hijras. When a eunuch dies, his death rally is carried out in the night and no one else other than their community is allowed to see the procedure.
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It is believed that their funeral ceremony is sober. There are beliefs if someone else other than the Hijras sees the procedure; he is born as one in his next birth.
5. Dying eunuch is believed to have some divine powers
The dying eunuch is believed to have some divine powers, due to which eunuch would come, seek her blessings and pray for her soul.
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When the other eunuchs come to know about one of their own's death, they would sit in the corner of a home and immerse themselves into prayer. Eunuchs around her pray for forgiveness so that she is born with a clear gender in next birth.
6. Curse of Hijras
Ironically, their community is considered so bad that they turn up to places of joy, such as weddings, to take away everybody's bad luck.
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They demand for cash from people and don't take no for an answer. People usually pay up quickly afraid of bad luck, obscene gestures and profane language. There is no option - it's either cash or curse.
7. Their partners and sexual life
The usual partners of Hijras are men who consider themselves heterosexual, and are the penetrative partners. These heterosexual men are mostly married and keep affairs with Hijras secret.
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Even if they get married, the marriage is not considered legal in India. Hijras in India often work as sex workers and are involved in prostitution.
8. Their gurus are blessed with great powers
Every Hijras or eunuch has a guru, who is believed to be blesses with a power of knowing everything about their disciples.
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It is also believed that they even have an ability to foresee their death, which is only true if he originally is born as eunuch and not undergone the emasculation. Each Hijras respect their guru a lot and follow them.
9. Rights of the Hijras
Misfortune has been a companion of India's eunuchs. Because the country has historically recognised only tow gender, Kinnars has been deprived of the right to vote, own property or go to schools.
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In 2005, Indian passports office allowed eunuchs to write "E" instead of male or female. They are now allowed to take a admission in government school.
10. Hijras as generals in Mughal armies
Hijras used to work as women servant in olden days apart from performing on wedding and occasions.
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They were kept as trusted life guards in female areas and some even become generals in Mughal armies. Malik Kafur was a prominent eunuch who conquered the entire Deccan for Delhi sultan Alauddin Khilji.