Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MYTHS SURROUNDING HIJRA COMMUNITY

Hijras are often encountered in streets, trains and other public places, demanding money from young men. If refused, the hijra may attempt to embarrass the person into giving money, using obscene gestures, profane language and even sexual advances. There are several myths surrounding the hijra community. Hijras are considered dangerous. They are known for bestowing blessings, but they can bestow not only blessings but curses too. The curse of childlessness is wielded as a weapon against anyone who refuses to give them money or makes fun of them.

These hijras perform religious ceremonies at weddings and at the birth of male babies, involving music, singing and sexually suggestive dancing. These are intended to bring good luck and fertility. Although the hijras are most often uninvited, the host usually pays them ‘wadhai’. Many fear the hijras curse if they are not appeased, bringing bad luck or infertility, but for the fee they receive, they can bless goodwill and fortune to the newly born. Hijras are said to be able to do this because since they do not engage in sexual activities, they accumulate their sexual energy which they can use to either ‘bestow a boon or a bane. Of the hijras we interviewed, Humaira narrates, “The notion widely held is that when we curse people, it is accepted by God but we do not curse them very often. We are instructed by our gurus not to curse people except in very extreme because our prayers go directly on arsh; our curses are accepted by Allah”.

Another myth that is known about the hijras is regarding the burial of their dead bodies. While most of the hijras interviewed during the research seemed apprehensive and reluctant to the question relating to the burial of their dead bodies, only one of them talked very briefly about it. According to Saima, (one of the hijras interviewed), the hijras bury their dead bodies at night and not during the day time. This is so because although they bury their dead bodies in the same graveyard where all individuals/Muslims do, it is a widely believed notion that since the hijras cannot give birth to a child, anyone who sees their dead body will tend to suffer from bad luck and infertility for the rest of their life. But according to Humaira, another hijra we interviewed, “When there is only one Quran and only one way of burying the Muslims, why would we have a different burial? Our burial is similar to the burials of any male or female Muslim and it takes place in the morning, evening, anytime.” Thus it is evident that the identity of hijras is fabricated with myths and portrayals that might or might not be true.




5 comments:

  1. realy informative!!
    will help me to construct questionnaire for my research on them!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do believe that hijras may be invited to some of the religious ceremonies mentioned in your article. They are asked to perform at weddings and especially to bless a newborn male. There is a very insightful documentary on the subject titled "Kiss the Moon" by director Khalid Gill.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I sincierly believe that hijras are most clean hearted person if u behave nicely with them.I hv met lots of hijras on roads,usually they use to go home to home to collect money so in that wat at my home also i always meet them with a bice smile and i touch their feee(even though i am a muslim girl)bt how does it matter,Its a way of giving respect to someone.and i feel very happy whenever i do these things.Talking with them laughing with them make them happy.And come on guys agar kisi se 2 min hans kar baat krne se ubhe khushi milti hai to why not hum sab apni life se kabhi kabhi 2min to nikal hi skte hai.Isn't it guys.If u like my small comment or u can say my opinion pls do reply on my comment .Thank u guys.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was in mumbai at the outskirts of national highway of ahamadabad route.then a higra came tome and requested to me for sex for want of money you know.i refused it to do so but she scratched on my skin by her nail.then I feared for a while why did she do so.then I told this event to another higra then she cursed me that you will be affected by disease and will have to admit at hospital . Then in this case her curse will really works at me or not ?pls tell me .I am afraid. Because I didn't hurt her at all then why she cursed me?

    ReplyDelete