Hijra Participant - Chhath Festival - Howrah 2013-11-09 4188What is Hijra? – Conclusion

The hijras number three billion people, making up a significant portion of India’s population. It’s a frequent misconception that all hijras are hermaphrodites. However, studies have shown that only a small percentage of the hijra population is born intersexed. Others could be anatomical guys who do not reach puberty and develop secondary sexual traits for medical reasons. Most ‘hijras,’ on the other hand, are men who have a healthy, functional male body but suffer from gender dysphoria. As a result, being a hijra has a psychological rather than a physical basis. To believe that gender dysphoria is a “curable mental disorder” would be plainly unjust to any guy who experiences real, long-term sentiments of wanting to be feminine. Most hijras will claim that they were born intersex because it is unacceptable in India for an anatomical male to wish to live as a female. Trisha was open about her past as a guy, but comfort levels like hers are uncommon. The majority of hijras are not as forthright or candid. In fact, because I am a foreigner, they may have felt empowered to say even this.

It is unusual for Indian hijras to integrate into society and live a normal, independent life. Hijras live in their own group due to authoritarianism, ostracism, and harassment of those who defy the two fixed binaries of male and female. Being on the margins has its drawbacks, but it also creates an interesting subculture with its own jargon, habits, and traditions.

This article is a tribute to those who are marginalized by society but are vitally connected to it like tributaries.

Additional Thoughts on “Caste”

In India, there is a caste system. People in ancient India were separated into castes or varnas based on their occupations. The following was the order of precedence:

In addition to the foregoing, there was a group of people who were not recognized or approved within the Varna system’s four tiers. The jobs they conducted, such as scavenging, cleaning sewers, and butchering, were thought to be ritually filthy. As a result, society kept them isolated, and they were required to dwell on the fringes of every village and town. They were dubbed “The Untouchables” because of their status.

The gang was subjected to numerous atrocities, as a result of which they suffered greatly. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, an Indian jurist, economist, politician, and social reformer who belonged to this group, invented the term “Dalit” to characterize his people. The word “Dalit” means “Oppressed” in Hindi.

The Indian government then implemented reservations in educational institutions, workplaces, the parliament, and other locations to aid the advancement of dalits. However, not all dalits have been able to advance because the same group of dalits (known as the “Creamy Layer”) has reaped the rewards generation after generation, leaving the remainder of the dalits as impoverished and backward as before.

 

References:

1) Nivan 1999, or the Hijras’ Emasculation Ritual. Nanda, Serena, Neither Man nor Woman, 24-25.

2) Bahuchara Mata entries on Wikipedia.

previous article: Mythological References to the Hijra Community

I have been a story writer since 1998 and have published many novels/novellas in both English and Japanese. Protagonists of the following fictions are Hijras – including ordinary males who turn into Hijras over the course of the story:

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