Hijra – the third gender in India

Hijra – the third gender in India

Hijra is one of the castes in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, which includes representatives of the “third sex”: a community of transgender people, bisexuals, homosexuals, and eunuchs. They dress and behave like women, call themselves a female name. The number of Hijra varies according to different estimates from 50 thousand to 5 million. But traveling in India and meeting men everywhere in women’s clothing, it seems that 5 million is a more realistic figure.

Hijra have a cult status: childless women ask for their blessings, Hijras come to weddings, celebrations on the occasion of the birth of a boy, take part in the crossings. They sing and dance, demanding “badhai” – a kind of reward for the blessing. Otherwise, they threaten to impose a curse, making men impotent, and women infertile. Many Hijra often makes a living by prostitution, begging, or fraud. But despite all this, the Indians treat them with respect. Perhaps this is because the ideal of many Hindus, Krishna by descriptions was a self-sufficient being with qualities of both men and women. True, they do not speak openly about this.

Traditionally, the Hijra work in trains like Gypsies. They, sexually liberated, walk around the wagons and stick to young innocent boys, usually puritanically brought up. A boy in India can be considered a child till the age of 25. After this time they can marry.

The Hijras behave self-assuredly and brazenly. That is, they are practically lawless in Indian society, making people giving them money. The fact is that the police practically do not interfere in the interpersonal relations of citizens, because of the absence of claims and conflicts.

Sometimes in trains, some have to intercede for the youth. They come wearing women’s clothes to the man in the train car and claps his hands loudly, once in a few seconds. It’s such a hypnotic joke. Those who are afraid that such an impudent man will stick to them, immediately fall into a stupor and often immediately reaches into the wallet for money to buy off from pestering. Sometimes the Hijra sticks to the victim tightly and will stand next to him stroking with the finger to his side until the victim surrenders and reaches into his pocket.

In a society that does not know violence, they behave like non-frightened parrots. Somehow they began to pester me and I immediately cut off stupid sticky extortion, just shouted loudly, sending away. And in return received a look squeamishly condemning and a compliment on Hindu – Dikar! It means, if you do not want to be a savage, pay a couple of pennies.

Hijras live most often in groups in communities, or “houses,” within which there is a clear allocation of roles and a support system. About 20% of the Hijra have a family – they are married to women and even have children. During the next population census in India, the Hijras were asked to recognize them as the third sex, refusing to register as “men” or “women.” In June 2001, the National Hijra Congress was convened in Rath City, declaring political claims at the local, regional and general Indian level.

In April 2014, the Supreme Court of India formally recognized the Hijra and Transgender as the third sex. And the authorities of the Indian capital are paying the elderly eunuchs a monthly pension of 1,000 rupees (about $ 25) from a special pension fund for the poor and the disabled. Although pensions as such in India are received only by civil servants and officers. And the rest of the old people live in the care of children or families, which in principle is not at all burdensome. Since the needs of most Hindus are reduced to eating, talking about nothing, and a selfie of young people.

The film was made in Puri, Odisha. What the Hijra offered, turned out to be mint leaves, which apparently he just liked to chew.

Hijra offering mint leaves 


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