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.