|Guru / Ideal||Bahuchara Mata, Lord Shiva, Allah (Muslim)|
|Meaning||Eunuchs, Intersex, and Transgender People|
|Languages||Hijra Farsi, Hindi, Urdu|
|Populated States||Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan and Delhi|
|Alternative Names||Eunuch, Kinnar, Aravani, Kothi, Shiv-Shakthis, Jogti Hijras|
|Festivals||Koovagam, Hindu and Muslim Festivals|
Hijra is a term used in south asia specifically, in india and pakistan – to refer to transwomen (male-to-female transsexuals or transgender persons). in other regions of india, transgender people are also known as aravani, aruvani or jagappa. according to the kamasutra period, hijra have a recorded history in the indian subcontinent from ancient times. this history has had a number of well-known roles within the cultures of the subcontinent, part gender-marginal, part spiritual and part existential. india, pakistan, nepal and bangladesh have all legally recognized the existence of a third gender, which includes passports and other official documents.
In the culturally and linguistically diverse indian subcontinent, many words represent the same gender or gender categories. although they are broadly synonymous. they may be better understood as separate identities due to regional cultural differences. in odia, hijra is referred to as Hinjida, Hinjda or Napunsaka, in telugu as Napunsakudu, Kojja or Maada, in tamil as Thiru Nangai (mister woman), Ali, Arvani, or Aruvani, in punjabi as Khusra or Jankha, in sindhi as Khadra, and in gujarati as Pavaiyaa.
In north india, goddess Bahuchara Mata is worshiped by pawaiya. in south india, goddess renuka is believed to have the power to change gender. male devotees in female clothing are known as Jogappas. they perform roles similar to hijra, such as dancing and singing in birth ceremonies and weddings. one of the forms of lord shiva is the merger with parvati where together they are Ardhanari, a deity who is half shiva and half parvati. ardhanari is of particular importance as the protector of eunuchs, who identify with the ambiguity of gender. some eunuchs undergo an initiation rite in the eunuch community called nirvana, which involves the removal of the penis, scrotum and testicles.
The defining characteristic of most hijras is to leave home to become part of the hijra community, a community that isolates itself from the wider society and teaches its lesson in secret. a young person is initiated by following a guru, or teacher, who will teach the chela, or disciple, of the hijra ways of life. this includes leaving their home to live in community with other hijras, learning the ritual roles they play in hindu homes. hijra are expected to dance, sing and give blessings at both birth and marriage of hindus. for many hindus, the blessing of a hijra to a child would bestow fertility, prosperity and longevity to the child. one to two days after the marriage ceremony- hijra will be performed to bless the couple for fertility. for many hindus, it is the third linga nature of the eunuchs – including the sacrifice of their fertility to the goddess – that gives eunuchs this incredible religious power. in fact, eunuchs can even curse a family if they are abusive or refuse to pay for blessings. many hindus and eunuchs themselves take these blessings and curses very seriously, hijras say that they curse only in extreme circumstances. while eunuchs are often invited to perform these rituals, they will also attend unannounced births and marriages, claiming their right to be present as their sacred religious duty.
The hijra (eunuch/transvestite) is an institutionalized third gender role in india. category of hijra by body types are
1. M2F: These people are born as male but associate themselves with female gender i.e. they identify themselves as female.
2. F2M: These people are born as female but associate themselves with male gender i.e. they identify themselves as male.
3. Eunuchs: males with their testicles removed or males born with rudimentary testes.
4. Intersex: intersex is a general term used for a variety of situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't fit the boxes of 'Female' or 'Male'. sometimes doctors do surgeries on intersex babies and children to make their bodies fit binary ideas of 'Male' or 'Female'.
Hijras were well-respected and revered in ancient india. in fact, hijras play important roles in many hindu religious texts. while the hijra community is still revered by society at large and celebrated in religious and spiritual ceremonies, they are often victims of abuse and discrimination. violence and hate crimes against the community are common.
|Name||Profession / Popular|
|Laxmi Narayan Tripathi||Transgender/Hijra Rights Activist, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of Kinnar akhada|
|Shabnam Mausi||The First Transgender Indian to be elected to public office (MLA)|
|A. Revathi||Writer, Transgender/Hijra rights activist|
Community - within which all aspects of social life can be included. in which we have some degree of emotions and live in a certain area.
A community is a group of people living in a certain place or region or virtual platform, having a common culture, a common way of life, that meets all their needs within the community. Thus they have a sense of unity and a sense of loyalty to the community.
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