Here is a photo of an Indian Eunuch - or Hijra - which I shot in Delhi. The group was roving the strets, about 5 Hijras and a few musicians who were accompanying them.
The story of the Hijra goes something like this:
Men who decide they feel more feminine than masculine and would rather exist in society as a woman are members of this clandestine society, which has existed in India for centuries. The men are castrated by somewhat terrifying measures; I read about a method involving rectal insertion creating a numb pain and simply cutting off the unwanted organ.
The hijras are no longer men and live in their hidden communities as outcasts who dress in female clothing, and adopt a new female name. They make money by showing up in public, singing and dancing and making a scene to the point where people pay for them to go away. This is especially common at weddings... where they make substantial amount. I saw them on the trains a few times as well, collecting money.
To me, India is very repressed about the concept of homosexuality - for all intents and purposes it doesn't exist (which is of course impossible). This is how Indians who are on the extreme end of the spectrum can act upon it.
A very interesting subject matter, and those who have been to India have no doubt been exposed to the Hijras in some way.
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Guntram (6) 2005-09-12 8:09
interesting,that you made a remark on the hijras in India. Homosexuality in India is still fined with prison, nevertheless there are some courageous groups demanding their rights in Delhi and Mumbai for example. Still a long way to go ...
Thanks for sharing this one
xuaxo (6854) 2006-03-03 19:33
More interesting the note than the photo.
kajspice (4542) 2006-03-27 16:44
It is this type of picture and note which gives you a deserved place in my favourites!
You have perfectly informed me what I have had floating around in my head about the hijras of India...I am fascinated about them and would love to know more...when I was there last, I felt there were more hijras than the previous visit...Indian parents being Indian parents...my mum said "dont look!"...(by the way, I'm close to 30).
I love that third paragraph (very diplomatically phrased by the way)..."To me, India is very repressed about the concept of homosexuality - for all intents and purposes it doesn't exist (which is of course impossible). This is how Indians who are on the extreme of the spectrum can act upon it."...
well done mate, I would never have dared to take this picture!
noborders (1010) 2007-05-29 1:54
Your note is excellent, because it explains in short what it is all about. I heard from a friend who lived decades in India that they are even sometimes hired to entertain children parties !!!
I have often seen hijras, alone or in small groups, performing to earn a living on trains or in the streets - everybody laughs, they probably don't feel like being "funny" all the time and it must be hard for them, on the other hand they force a bit their play to attract more attention...
Did you hear that one of them entered into politics some 2 years ago, and had got a certain success ?
I'll add it to my theme,