There are two ways of becoming a hijra. The first is to be born with as an inter-sexual or hermaphrodite, and the second is to be born with a male body but with a feminism gender identity. Most hijras, undergo castration (removal of the testicles). Therefore, traditional hijras today still see ‘the operation’ as the important feature to legitimize one as a “true hijra”. However, today, many hijras do not undergo castration or prefaces hormones, but still regard themselves as part of the hijra community.
People usually dressed in traditional clothes worn by women (shalwar kameez), wearing heavy make ups and high tone colors, emphasis on certain body parts (breasts, hips etc.), exaggerated movements and non verbal gestures including clapping, cracking in decent jokes, vulgar in talk and gestures, indeed these are the stereotype impressions that have developed about the hijras over the ages. Most people make fun of them and call them perverts. These people are subject to laughter, mockery, and ridicule. Yet a serious glance into the lives of these people, show that the struggle I order to exist. These people, who were once the cultural descendants of the courts of the Mughal Empire, now earn their living out of begging, dancing and prostitution.
Other eunuchs dance, an integral part of the wedding. The dancers are showered with red roses and money. The eunuch-bride wears a red gharara and gold jewellery which the groom brings with him. The guru gives the bride’s hand to the groom and says the magic words, ‘Huqay Tay Huqa, Banda Tujhay Qabool’. The bride and groom both say ‘Qabool Hai’ thrice and the wedding is solemnized. The wedding train then goes to the groom’s house, where he puts a gold ring to his wife.
Some eunuchs pray regularly, but don’t go to mosques. As narrated by Laila, one of our interviewee, ‘We, hijras pray just like all other Muslims. We offer salat, read the Quran and follow Islam like all other Muslims. We are taught all this by our Guru. Though we don’t pray regularly, we do so whenever we get the time’. Eunuchs have their own secret language as well that they use in their business as reported by one of the eunuch we interviewed. The language is close to Persian and is also spoken in