CHANGING STATUS OF EUNUCHS (HERMAPHRODITES)- ROLE OF YOUTH.
Eunuchs or Hijras are hermaphrodites in our race who do not possess a single gender identification, but dual. “The Sanskrit term "tritiya prakriti," or third nature, is used to classify them” (3 bring surname and year). Chatterji (write year) (this comes in references), “The term hijra is often translated as "eunuch" and the archetypal hijra is raised as a man and undergoes ritual removal of the genitals to become a hijra. However, anthropologist Nanda(write year) explains that many hijras come from other sexually ambiguous backgrounds: they may be born intersexed, be born male or female and fail to develop fully at puberty, or be males who choose to live as hijras without ever undergoing the castration procedure.
Eunuchs have been an integral part of our society for 4000 years now. In the Indian Mythology, Ramayana, when Lord Rama was banished from his kingdom Ayodhya for 14 years exile, many of the people wished to accompany him on his exile but he commanded “Ayodhya ke sabhi narnari, apne gharon ko laut jaye (all men and women of Ayodhya may return to their homes)”. Hearing this all the men and women returned to their homes but the eunuchs stayed there as they did not associate themselves with any of these genders. They stayed at the border of Ayodhya for 14 years bearing the heat, thunder, lightening, cold and rain. After conquering Ravan, when Rama returned to his homeland he was amazed to see the loyalty and dedication of the eunuchs and hence granted their tribe the boon that their blessing would be sought on every auspicious occasion. This boon automatically raised their status in the society of those days. Even during the Imperial India eunuch were employed as the servants and guards for female royalty as they were more trustworthy and often obtained high status position. Though Indian Mythology is filled with endless instances relating eunuchs but there is a ‘stark contrast’ in their present situation.(write in text citation and reference for this information)
In India witness eunuchs begging on the roads and traffic signals. “An estimated 5-6 million eunuchs live in India” write in text citationIf they aren’t given the desired amount then they often terrorize people for it. These people are also found chanting and dancing at childbirth in families for money you could show a picture for this. But such begging does not suffice their stomachs and does not help them to a sustainable life. Most of the eunuchs also enter into prostitution and sell their bodies to earn money. We may find these acts of begging and prostitution very demeaning and hateful, but the grave reality is that they have no other employment option. The society sees them as objects of ridicule and no matter how hard they try they cannot create a sophisticated life for themselves. When I asked whom? that why don’t they find another way of employment and why don’t they educate themselves in order to get jobs, Sunita Devi replied, “humara koi nahihai. Aaj hum padh bhi le toh bhi hume koi naukri nahi deta hai. Wo loog kahenge ki basti me bachche hone band ho gaye hai joy yaha aaye ho? Humme koi nahi rakhega (No one will employ us. Today even if we educate ourselves then also no one will employ us. The employers will say that has the childbirth stopped that you have come here. No one will keep us).”
While I was interviewing eunuchs the common issue that everyone raised was that the society does not accept them. They are treated like a marginalized sector of the society and do not even have basic human rights. Rani spoke, “when we walk on road people look at us as if we are not human beings but devils. They do not want us to see them and touch them. They call us by various names which further create a huge gap between us and the normal”. Rani is one of the eunuch guru staying in Agra and has read till...
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