Hijra (South Asia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Hijra (Indian subcontinent))
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A group of Hijra in Bangladesh
A group of Hijra in Bangladesh
MeaningEunuchs, intersex, Asexual and transgender people
ClassificationGender identity
Other terms
SynonymsAravani, Jagappa, Kinnar, Khawaja Sira, Chhakka, Khadra, Moorat
Associated termsBakla, Khanith, Kothi, Kathoey, Third gender, Two-spirit, Trans woman, Trans man, Akava'ine, Muxe
CultureSouth Asian
Regions with significant populations
Indian Subcontinent
 India490,000 (2014)
 Pakistan10,418 (2017)
Legal information
RecognitionYes (India & Pakistan)

In the Indian subcontinent, Hijra[n 1] are eunuchs, intersex people, asexual or transgender people.[1][2] Also known as Aravani, Aruvani, Jogappa,[3] the hijra community in India prefer to call themselves Kinnar or Kinner, referring to the mythological beings that excel at song and dance. In Pakistan, they are also called Khawaja Sira, the equivalent of transgender in the Urdu language.[4]

Hijras are officially recognized as third gender in the Indian subcontinent,[5][6][7] being considered neither completely male nor female. Hijras have a recorded history in the Indian subcontinent since antiquity, as suggested by the Kama Sutra.

Many live in well-defined and organised all-hijra communities, led by a guru.[8] These communities have consisted over generations of those who are in abject poverty or who have been rejected by or fled their family of origin.[9] Many work as sex workers for survival.[10]

The word "hijra" is a Hindustani word.[11][12] It has traditionally been translated into English as "eunuch" or "hermaphrodite", where "the irregularity of the male genitalia is central to the definition".[13] However, in general hijras have been assigned male at birth, with only a few having been born with intersex variations.[14] Some Hijras undergo an initiation rite into the hijra community called nirvaan, which involves the removal of the penis, scrotum and testicles.[10]

Since the late 20th century, some hijra activists and non-government organizations (NGOs) have lobbied for official recognition of the hijra as a kind of "third sex" or "third gender", as neither man nor woman.[15] Hijras have successfully gained this recognition in Bangladesh and are eligible for priority in education and certain kinds of low paid jobs.[16] In India, the Supreme Court in April 2014 recognized hijras, transgender people, eunuchs, and intersex people as a 'third gender' in law.[1][17][18] Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have all legally accepted the existence of a third gender, with India, Pakistan and Nepal including an option for them on passports and certain official documents.[19]


The Hindustani word hijra may alternately be romanized as hijira, hijda, hijada, hijara, hijrah and is pronounced Hindustani pronunciation: [ˈɦɪdʒɽaː]. This term is generally considered derogatory in Urdu and the term Khwaja Sara is used instead. Another such term is khasuaa (खसुआ) or khusaraa (खुसरा).[citation needed]

A number of terms across the culturally and linguistically diverse Indian subcontinent represent similar sex or gender categories. While these are rough synonyms, they may be better understood as separate identities due to regional cultural differences. In Odia, a hijra is referred to as hinjida, hinjda or napunsaka, in Telugu as napunsakudu (నపుంసకుడు), kojja (కొజ్జ) or maada (మాడ), in Tamil as thiru nangai (mister woman), ali, aravanni, aravani or aruvani, in Punjabi as khusra or jankha, in Kannada as mangalamukhi (ಮಂಗಳಮುಖಿ) or chhakka (ಚಕ್ಕ), in Sindhi as khadra, and in Gujarati as pavaiyaa (પાવૈયા). In Bengali, hijra is called হিজড়া, hijra, hijla, hijre, hizra, or hizre.[citation needed] In Konkani, they are known as Hizddem / Hizdô.

In North India, the goddess Bahuchara Mata is worshipped by Pavaiyaa (પાવૈયા). In South India, the goddess Renuka is believed to have the power to change one's sex. Male devotees in female clothing are known as Jogappa. They perform similar roles to hijra, such as dancing and singing at birth ceremonies and weddings.[20]

The word kothi (or koti) is common across India, similar to the Kathoey of Thailand, although kothis are often distinguished from hijras. Kothis are regarded as feminine men or boys who take a feminine role in sex with men, but do not live in the kind of intentional communities that hijras usually live in. Additionally, not all kothis have undergone initiation rites or the body modification steps to become a hijra.[21] Local equivalents include durani (Kolkata), menaka (Cochin),[22] meti (Nepal), and zenana (Pakistan).

Hijra used to be translated in English as "eunuch" or "hermaphrodite",[13] although LGBT historians or human rights activists have sought to include them as being transgender.[23] In a series of meetings convened between October 2013 and Jan 2014 by the transgender experts committee of India's Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, hijra and other trans activists asked that the term "eunuch" be discontinued from usage in government documents, as it is not a term with which the communities identify.

Gender and sexuality[edit]

These identities have no exact match in the taxonomy of gender and sexual orientation,[23] and challenge Western ideas of sex and gender.[10]

In India, some Hijras do not define themselves by specific sexual orientation, but rather by renouncing sexuality altogether. Sexual energy is transformed into sacred powers. However, these notions can come in conflict with the practical, which is that hijras are often employed as prostitutes.[24] Furthermore, in India a feminine male who takes a "receptive" role in sex with a man will often identify as a kothi (or the local equivalent term). While kothis are usually distinguished from hijras as a separate gender identity, they often dress as women and act in a feminine manner in public spaces, even using feminine language to refer to themselves and each other. The usual partners of hijras and kothis are men who consider themselves heterosexual as they are the ones who penetrate.[25] These male partners are often married, and any relationships or sex with "kothis" or hijras are usually kept secret from the community at large. Some hijras may form relationships with men and even marry,[26] although their marriage is not usually recognized by law or religion. Hijras and kothis often have a name for these masculine sexual or romantic partners; for example, panthi in Bangladesh, giriya in Delhi or sridhar in Cochin.[22]

Social status and economic circumstances[edit]

Most hijras live at the margins of society with very low status; the very word "hijra" is sometimes used in a derogatory manner. The Indian lawyer and author Rajesh Talwar has written a book, titled The Third Sex and Human Rights, highlighting the human rights abuses suffered by the community.[27] Few employment opportunities are available to hijras. Many get their income from extortion (forced payment by disrupting work/life using demonstrations and interference), performing at ceremonies (toli), begging (dheengna), or prostitution ('raarha')—an occupation of eunuchs also recorded in premodern times. Violence against hijras, especially those who are prostitutes, is often brutal, and occurs in public spaces, police stations, prisons, and their homes.[28] As with transgender people in most of the world, they face extreme discrimination in health, housing, education, employment, immigration, law, and any bureaucracy that is unable to place them into male or female gender categories.[29]


In October 2013, Pakistani Christians and Muslims (Shia and Sunni) put pressure on the landlords of Imamia Colony to evict any transgender residents. I.A. Rehman, the director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said, "Generally in Pakistan, Khwaja Sira are not under threat. But they are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province because of a 'new Islam' under way."[30]


In a study of Bangladeshi hijras, participants reported not being allowed to seek healthcare at the private chambers of doctors, and experiencing abuse if they go to government hospitals.[31]

In 2008, HIV prevalence was 27.6% amongst hijra sex workers in Larkana, Pakistan.[32] The general prevalence of HIV among the adult Pakistani population is estimated at 0.1%.[33]

Criminalization of sexuality[edit]

After India's Supreme Court re-criminalized homosexual sex on 11 December 2013, there was a sharp increase in physical, psychological and sexual violence against the transgender community by the Indian Police Service, which often does not investigate reports of sexual assault against them.[34] On 6 September 2018, the Supreme Court overturned India's Section 377, which criminalized anal and oral sex.[35]

Education and employment[edit]

In 2002, nearly 5,000 people attended the All India Eunuch Conference held in Varanasi; the conference's platform demanded that universities and government open more job opportunities to this population.[36] On 15 April 2014, in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India ruled that transgender people should be treated as a third category of gender or as a socially and economically "backward" class entitled to proportional access and representation in education and jobs.[37]

Beginning in 2006, hijras were engaged to accompany Patna city revenue officials to collect unpaid taxes, receiving a 4-percent commission.[38]


The hijra community developed a secret language known as Hijra Farsi.[39] The language has a sentence structure loosely based on Hindustani[39] and a unique vocabulary of at least a thousand words.[citation needed] Some of the kinship terms and names for rituals used by the Hindi-speaking Hijra community are different in use from those used by people outside the Hijra community. For e.g. dādī in Standard Hindi is the term for paternal grandmother, and in the Hijra community is used to address the Guru's Guru.[40] Beyond the Urdu-Hindi speaking areas of subcontinent the vocabulary is still used by the hijra community within their own native languages.[citation needed]

In politics of the Indian subcontinent[edit]

Hijra Protesting at Pakistan's capital Islamabad

The governments of both India (1994)[41] and Pakistan (2009)[42] have recognized hijras as a "third sex", thus granting them the basic civil rights of every citizen. In India, hijras now have the option to identify as a eunuch ("E") on passports and on certain government documents. They are not, however, fully accommodated; in order to vote, for example, citizens must identify as either male or female. There is also further discrimination from the government. In the 2009 general election, India's election committee denied three hijras candidature unless they identified themselves as either male or female. In 2013, transgender people in Pakistan were given their first opportunity to stand for election.[43] Sanam Fakir, a 32-year-old hijra, ran as an independent candidate for Sukkur, Pakistan's general election in May.[44]

In April 2014, Justice KS Radhakrishnan declared transgender to be the third gender in Indian law in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India.[1][17][18] The ruling said:[45]

Seldom, our society realises or cares to realise the trauma, agony and pain which the members of Transgender community undergo, nor appreciates the innate feelings of the members of the Transgender community, especially of those whose mind and body disown their biological sex. Our society often ridicules and abuses the Transgender community and in public places like railway stations, bus stands, schools, workplaces, malls, theatres, hospitals, they are sidelined and treated as untouchables, forgetting the fact that the moral failure lies in the society's unwillingness to contain or embrace different gender identities and expressions, a mindset which we have to change.

Justice Radhakrishnan said that transgender people should be treated consistently with other minorities under the law, enabling them to access jobs, healthcare and education.[46] He framed the issue as one of human rights, saying that, "These TGs, even though insignificant in numbers, are still human beings and therefore they have every right to enjoy their human rights", concluding by declaring that:[45]

  1. Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as "third gender" for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the Parliament and the State Legislature.
  2. Transgender persons' right to decide their self-identified gender is also upheld and the Centre and State Governments are directed to grant legal recognition of their gender identity such as male, female or as third gender.

A bill supported by all political parties was tabled in Indian parliament to ensure transgender people get benefits akin reserved communities like SC/STs and is taking steps to see that they get enrollment in schools and jobs in government besides protection from sexual harassment.[47]

In the 1990s, about 10,000 people belonged to a national organization called Treetiya Panthi Sanghatana (TPS). As of 2003, the president was Kajal Nayak.[48] A younger Kajal Nayak, who was 27 years old in 2019, is the president of Jajpur's Transgender Association.[49]


Hijra and companions in Eastern Bengal in 1860

The ancient Kama Sutra mentions the performance of fellatio by feminine people of a third sex (tritiya prakriti).[50] This passage has been variously interpreted as referring to men who desired other men, so-called eunuchs ("those disguised as males, and those that are disguised as females",[51] male and female trans people ("the male takes on the appearance of a female and the female takes on the appearance of the male"),[52] or two kinds of biological males, one dressed as a woman, the other as a man.[53]

Franciscan travellers in the 1650s noted the presence of "Men and boys who dress like women" roaming the streets of Thatta, in modern Pakistan. The presence of these individuals was taken to be a sign of the city's depravity.[54] During the era of the British Raj, authorities attempted to eradicate hijras, whom they saw as "a breach of public decency."[55] Anti-hijra laws were repealed; but a law outlawing castration, a central part of the hijra community, was left intact, though rarely enforced. During the same period, the hijra were included in the Criminal Tribes Act and labelled a "criminal tribe", and were subjected to compulsory registration, strict monitoring and stigmatized for a long time; after independence however they were denotified in 1952, though the centuries-old stigma continues.[56]

In religion[edit]

The Indian transgender hijras or Aravanis ritually marry the Hindu god Aravan and then mourn his ritual death (seen) in an 18-day festival in Koovagam, India.

Many practice a form of syncretism that draws on multiple religions; seeing themselves to be neither men nor women, hijras practice rituals for both men and women.

Hijras belong to a special caste.[citation needed] They are usually devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata, Lord Shiva, or both.

Bahuchara Mata[edit]

Bahuchara Mata is a Hindu goddess with two unrelated stories both associated with transgender behavior. One story is that she appeared in the avatar of a princess who castrated her husband because he would run in the woods and act like a woman rather than have sex with her.[citation needed] Another story is that a man tried to rape her, so she cursed him with impotence.[citation needed] When the man begged her forgiveness to have the curse removed, she relented only after he agreed to run in the woods and act like a woman.[citation needed] The primary temple to this goddess is located in Gujarat[57] and it is a place of pilgrimage for hijras, who see Bahuchara Mata as a patroness.

Lord Shiva[edit]

One of the forms of Lord Shiva is a merging with Parvati where together they are Ardhanari, a god that is half Shiva and half Parvati. Ardhanari has special significance as a patron of hijras, who identify with the gender ambiguity.[57] The legend has a story when Rishi(Saint) Bhrigu pleased Lord shiva and denied to please Mata Parvati. Then Lord shiva and Parvati merged with each other and showed their form of Ardhanari or Ardhanarishwar, meaning half man and half woman. The form represents that a man and woman has both elements of masculine and feminine.

In the Ramayana[edit]

In some versions of the Ramayana,[58] when Rama leaves Ayodhya for his 14-year exile, a crowd of his subjects follow him into the forest because of their devotion to him. Soon Rama notices this, and gathers them to tell them not to mourn, and that all the "men and women" of his kingdom should return to their places in Ayodhya. Rama then leaves and has adventures for 14 years. When he returns to Ayodhya, he finds that the hijras, being neither men nor women, have not moved from the place where he gave his speech. Impressed with their devotion, Rama grants hijras the boon to confer blessings on people during auspicious inaugural occasions like childbirth and weddings. This boon is the origin of badhai in which hijras sing, dance, and give blessings.[59]

In the Mahabharata[edit]

Kuttantavar festival in Koovagam

The Mahabharata includes an episode in which Arjuna, a hero of the epic, is sent into an exile. There he assumes an identity of a eunuch-transvestite and performs rituals during weddings and childbirths that are now performed by hijras.[24]

In the Mahabharata, before the Kurukshetra War, Iravan offers his lifeblood to goddess Kali to ensure the victory of the Pandavas, and Kali agrees to grant him power. On the night before the battle, Iravan expresses a desire to get married before he dies. No woman was willing to marry a man doomed to die in a few hours, so Lord Krishna ( as Mohini ) marries him. In South India, hijras claim Iravan as their progenitor and call themselves "aravanis".[59]

Each year in Tamil Nadu, during April and May, hijras celebrate an eighteen-day religious festival. The aravani temple is located in the village Koovagam in the Ulundurpet taluk in Villupuram district, and is devoted to the deity Koothandavar, who is identified with Aravan. During the festival, the aravanis reenact a story of the wedding of Lord Krishna and Lord Aravan, followed by Aravan's subsequent sacrifice. They then mourn Aravan's death through ritualistic dances and by breaking their bangles. An annual beauty pageant is also held, as well as various health and HIV or AIDS seminars. Hijras from all over the country travel to this festival. A personal experience of the hijras in this festival is shown in the BBC Three documentary India's Ladyboys and also in the National Geographic Channel television series Taboo.

In Islam[edit]

There is evidence that Indian hijras identifying as Muslim also incorporate aspects of Hinduism. Still, despite this syncretism, Gayatri Reddy notes that a hijra does not practice Islam differently from other Muslims and argues that their syncretism does not make them any less Muslim.[60] Reddy also documents an example of how this syncretism manifests: in Hyderabad, India, a group of Muslim converts were circumcised, something seen as the quintessential marker of male Muslim identity.[61]

In films and literature[edit]


Hijras have been portrayed on screen in Indian cinema since its inception, historically as comic relief. A notable turning point occurred in 1974 when real hijras appeared during a song-and-dance sequence in Kunwaara Baap ("The Unmarried Father"). The Hindi movie Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) features hijras who accompany one of the heroes, Akbar (Rishi Kapoor), in a song entitled "Tayyab Ali Pyar Ka Dushman" ("Tayyab Ali, the Enemy of Love").

  • In Soorma Bhopali (1988), Jagdeep encounters a troupe of hijra on his arrival in Bombay. The leader of this pack is also played by Jagdeep himself.
  • One of the main characters in Khushwant Singh's novel Delhi (1990), Bhagmati, is a hijra. She makes a living as a semi-prostitute and is wanted in the diplomatic circles of the city.
  • One of the first sympathetic hijra portrayals was in Mani Ratnam's Bombay (1995). 1997's Tamanna[62] starred male actor Paresh Rawal in a central role as "Tiku", a hijra who raises a young orphan. Pooja Bhatt produced and also starred in the movie, with her father Mahesh Bhatt co-writing and directing.
  • The 1997 Hindi film Darmiyaan: In Between, directed & co-written by Kalpana Lajmi, is based on the subject of hijras, with a fictitious story of an actress bearing a son that turns out to be neuter.
  • Kishor Shatabai Kale's novel, Hijara Ek Mard [Eunuch, A Man], was adapted for the stage in 1998. The play was titled Andharyatra.[63]
  • In the 2000 Tamil film Appu, directed by Vasanth and a remake of the Hindi film Sadak, the antagonist is a brothel-owning hijra played by Prakash Raj. (In Sadak, the brothel-owning character was played by Sadashiv Amrapurkar under the name "Maharani".)
  • In Anil Kapoor's Nayak (2001), Johnny Lever, who plays the role of the hero's assistant, gets beaten up by hijras, when he is caught calling them "hijra" (he is in habit of calling almost everyone who bothers him by this pejorative and no one cares much, except this once ironically, as the addressees are literally what he is calling them.)
  • There is a brief appearance of hijras in the 2004 Gurinder Chadha film Bride & Prejudice, singing to a bride-to-be in the marketplace.
  • Deepa Mehta's controversial film Water (2005) features the hijra character "Gulabi" (played by Raghubir Yadav), who has taken to introducing the downtrodden, outcast widows of Varanasi to prostitution.
  • Vijay TV's Ippadikku Rose (2008), a Tamil show conducted by postgraduate educated transgender woman Rose, was a very successful program that discussed various issues faced by youth in Tamil Nadu, where she also gave her own experiences.
  • In addition to numerous other themes, the 2008 movie Welcome to Sajjanpur by Shyam Benegal explores the role of hijras in Indian society.
  • Jogwa, a 2009 Marathi film, depicts the story of a man forced to be hijra under certain circumstances. The movie has received several accolades.[64]
  • The 2011 film Queens! Destiny Of Dance tells the story of an upmarket hijra community that is headed by their queen, Guru Amma, played by actress Seema Biswas.[65]
  • The 2011 comedy-horror Kanchana features an unemployed man who is possessed by a transgender woman seeking revenge against her murderers.
  • The 2020 comedy-horror Laxmii, based on Kanchana, features the actor Akshay Kumar, a cisgender man who usually plays hypermasculine roles, in the role of a Muslim man who begins crossdressing because he is possessed by the ghost of a transgender woman.[66]


In the Malayalam movie Ardhanaari, released on 23 November 2012, director Santhosh Sowparnika tries to depict the life of a transgender person. Manoj K Jayan, Thilakan, Sukumari and Maniyanpilla Raju perform leading roles.

Njan Marykutty is another Malayalam film about the troubles and challenges of a trans woman in Kerala.[67]


Vaadamalli by novelist Su. Samuthiram is the first Tamil novel about the Aravaani community in Tamil Nadu, published in 1994.

Transgender activist A. Revathi became the first hijra to write about transgender issues and gender politics in Tamil. Her works have been translated into more than eight languages and act as primary resources on gender studies in Asia. Her book is part of a research project for more than 100 universities. She is the author of Unarvum Uruvamum (Feelings of the Entire Body), the first of its kind in English from a member of the hijra community.[68][69] She acted and directed stage plays on gender and sexuality issues in Tamil and Kannada. The Truth about Me: A Hijra Life Story[70] is part of the syllabus for final year students of The American College in Madurai.

"Naan Saravanan Alla" (2007) and Vidya's I Am Vidya (2008) were the first autobiographies of trans women.[71][72]


The 1992 film Immaculate Conception[73] by Jamil Dehlavi is based upon the culture-clash between a western Jewish couple seeking fertility at a Karachi shrine known to be blessed by a Sufi fakir called 'Gulab Shah' and the group of Pakistani eunuchs who guard it.

Murad (English: desire, but the film's English title was Eunuch's Motherhood), was an award-winning biographical telefilm drama made by Evergreen Media Europe for Pakistan's television channel Indus TV that aired in 2003. It featured some of the country's top male television actors—Sohail Asghar, Nabeel, Qazi Wajid, and Kamran Jilani playing the roles of hijras. It was directed by Kamran Qureshi, written by Zafar Mairaj and produced by Iram Qureshi. It won both Best TeleFilm and Best Director awards at 2003 Indus Telefilm Festival.[74][75] The story revolves around Saima, a transgender woman, who adopts a child named Murad. For the first time, influential male actors showed their support for hijra rights during interviews, pointing out that in Pakistani English at that time eunuch was the term to describe a transgender person, and khwaja sara had not yet replaced what is now considered a derogatory term due to decades of heckling and name calling.[76][77]

In 2004, Kamran Qureshi directed Moorat (English: effigy but released in English under the title Eunuch's Wedding. It a 33-episode series produced by Humayun Saeed and Abdullah Kadwani with more than a dozen cast members.[78][79] It was nominated for Best Drama Serial, Abid Ali for Best Actor, and Maria Wasti for Best Actress at the Lux Style Awards 2005.[74][80] The show was credited with making people understand the pain and abuse that hijra constantly endure when people make fun of the way they look or dress. The story involves a young lady who is engaged to be married. It turns out her husband is transgender. The story unfolds the trans community and their deprived and isolated world. It portrays eloquently how they, too, are not far away from human emotions and feelings and their world is not much different from the heterosexual community. Even though they are in plain sight, they are taboo subjects and are not taken seriously. This makes them suffer endlessly in silence wrapped in slurs. The 33-episode series therefore touches on transgender abuse, abuse against women, poverty, the immorality of arranged marriages and child abuse.[81]

Bol (Urdu: بول meaning Speak), is a 2011 Urdu-language Pakistani social drama film. It concerns a patriarch, Hakim, who is a misogynist, a domestic abuser, a bigot and a zealot who forces religion on his family. They face financial difficulties due to Hakim wanting a son. He rejects his transgender daughter, Saifi, as he wanted an heir and she identifies as a girl. Saifi is deeply loved by the rest of her family. As she grows up, men want to take advantage of her and she does not understand at first. However, her oldest sister intervenes and teaches Saifi about what kind of touching is inappropriate. As Saifi grows older, she is not allowed to leave the house. She finds her sister's dresses compelling and tries them on, revealing her gender identity. A neighbour played by famous South Asian singer Atif Aslam, who is in love with one of the sisters, gets Saifi a job at a place where they paint trucks, with the blessing of Saifi's sisters and mother. Saifi dresses like a boy; however, other boys sense her lack of self-esteem and eventually gang-rape her. She is saved when another transgender person, played by Almas Bobby (a transgender actor), finds her and takes her home. Hakim overhears Saifi telling her mother and Zainab what happened. When everybody is asleep, Hakim locks the room and suffocates his child for luring the men for the "shame" he would have to bear if the story got out.[82] It received several positive reviews from critics and went on to win the Best Hindi film award in IRDS Film awards 2011 by Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS).[83]

Outside the Indian subcontinent[edit]

In the graphic novel Habibi by Craig Thompson, the protagonist, Zam, is adopted by a group of hijras.

In the TV comedy Outsourced (2011), a hijra is hired by Charlie as a stripper for Rajiv's "bachelor party", much to Rajiv's utter horror.

The novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy features a storyline involving a hijra character named Anjum.

Hijras feature prominently in John Irving's 2002 novel A Son of the Circus.

In the 2008 film 'Bride and Prejudice', directed by Gurinder Chadha, a group of hijras make an appearance during the 'A Marriage Has Come to Town' number, in which they dance and sing the following lyrics: "Who can tell you more about Yin & Yang?/Sharing one spirit between woman and man/Marriage is the path taken by he and she/May your new life be kissed by harmony."


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Hindi: हिजड़ा   Urdu: ہِجڑا‎   Bengali: হিজড়া   Kannada: ಹಿಜಡಾ   Telugu: హిజ్ర   Punjabi: ਹਿਜੜਾ   Odia: ହିନ୍ଜଡା
    , ਖੁਸਰਾ/کھسرا khusra (Punjabi), kojja (Telugu) and ombodhu (Madras Tamil).


  1. ^ a b c "India recognises transgender people as third gender". The Guardian. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  2. ^ Shaw et al. 2017, Köllen 2016, p. 171, Seow 2017, p. 132, Ginicola, Smith & Filmore 2017, p. 189
  3. ^ "Hijra Community, India (Govt.)".
  4. ^ "Engendering rights". 19 July 2017.
  5. ^ Shaw et al. 2017, Bevan 2016, p. 70
  6. ^ "7 Countries Giving Transgender People Fundamental Rights the U.S. Still Won't". mic.com. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
    "Hijras and Bangladesh: The creation of a third gender". pandeia.eu. 2 December 2013. Archived from the original on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  7. ^ Hossain, Adnan (April 2017). "The paradox of recognition: hijra, third gender and sexual rights in Bangladesh". Culture, Health & Sexuality. Taylor & Francis. 19 (12): 1418–1431. doi:10.1080/13691058.2017.1317831. eISSN 1464-5351. ISSN 1369-1058. OCLC 41546256. PMID 28498049. S2CID 5372595.
  8. ^ Nanda 1985, pp. 35–54 "The most significant relationship in the hijra community is that of the guru (master, teacher) and chela (disciple)."
    Cohen 1995, "Hijras are organized into households with a hijra guru as head, into territories delimiting where each household can dance and demand money from merchants"
  9. ^ Nanda 1999, p. 116 "None of the hijra narratives I recorded supports the widespread belief in India that hijras recruit their membership by making successful claims on intersex infants. Instead, it appears that most hijras join the community in their youth, either out of a desire to more fully express their feminine gender identity, under the pressure of poverty, because of ill treatment by parents and peers for feminine behaviour, after a period of homosexual prostitution, or for a combination of these reasons.".
  10. ^ a b c Nanda 1996
  11. ^ Reddy 2010, p. 243 "By and large, the Hindi/Urdu term hijra is used more often in the north of the country, whereas the Telugu term kojja is more specific to the state of Andhra Pradesh, of which Hyderabad is the capital."
  12. ^ Chettiar 2015, "The Urdu and Hindi word "hijra" may alternately be romanised as hijira, hijda, hijada, hijara, hijrah and is pronounced "heejra" or "heejda";
  13. ^ a b Nanda 1999.
  14. ^ Nanda 1991, "Among thirty of my informants, only one appeared to have been born intersexed.".
  15. ^ Agrawal 1997, pp. 273–97.
  16. ^ "Gurus of eunuchs can not recommend castration: Govt". 9 March 2012.
    Karim, Mohosinul (11 November 2013). "Hijras now a separate gender". Dhaka Tribune. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  17. ^ a b McCoy, Terrence (15 April 2014). "India now recognizes transgender citizens as 'third gender'". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Supreme Court recognizes transgenders as 'third gender'". Times of India. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  19. ^ Julfikar Ali Manik and Ellen Barry, "A Transgender Bangladeshi Changes Perceptions After Catching Murder Suspects", New York Times, 3 April 2015.
  20. ^ Bradford 1983, pp. 307–22.
  21. ^ Reddy & Nanda 1997, pp. 275–282.
  22. ^ a b Naz Foundation International, Briefing Paper 3: Developing community-based sexual health services for males who have sex with males in South Asia. August 1999. Paper online Archived 18 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine (Microsoft Word file).
  23. ^ a b Towle & Morgan 2002.
  24. ^ a b Nanda, Serena. "Hijra and Sadhin". Constructing Sexualities. Ed. LaFont, S., New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2003. Print.
  25. ^ See, for example, In Their Own Words: The Formulation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Behaviour Among Young Men in Bangladesh Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Shivananda Khan, Sharful Islam Khan and Paula E. Hollerbach, for the Catalyst Consortium.
  26. ^ See, for example, various reports of Sonia Ajmeri's marriage. e.g. 'Our relationship is sacred', despardes.com
  27. ^ "Amazon.com: Rajesh Talwar: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  28. ^ Ravaging the Vulnerable: Abuses Against Persons at High Risk of HIV Infection in Bangladesh, Human Rights Watch, August 2003. Report online.
    See also: Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (Karnataka) Report on Human Rights Violations Against the Transgender Community Archived 2 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine, released in September 2003. Reported in Being a Eunuch, By Siddarth Narrain, for Frontline, 14 October 2003.
  29. ^ "Trans Realities: A Legal Needs Assessment of San Francisco's Transgender Communities', Shannon Minter and Christopher Daley" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  30. ^ "Despite Gains, Pakistan's Transgender Community Under Attack". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  31. ^ Khan et al. 2009, pp. 441–51.
  32. ^ "Awareness about sexually transmitted infections among Hijra sex workers of Rawalpindi/Islamabad". Pakistan Journal of Public Health. 2012.
  33. ^ Bokhari, Asma; Nizamani, Naseer M.; Jackson, Denis J.; Rehan, Naghma E.; Rahman, Motiur; Muzaffar, Rana; Mansoor, Samina; Raza, Hasan; Qayum, Kanwal; Girault, Philippe; Pisani, Elizabeth; Thaver, Inayat (2007). "HIV risk in Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan: an emerging epidemic in injecting and commercial sex networks". International Journal of STD & AIDS. 18 (7): 486–492. doi:10.1258/095646207781147201. PMID 17623508. S2CID 30097917.
  34. ^ "Indian transgender activist resists molest[ation?] by police officer, gets beaten up". Gay Star News. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  35. ^ Mahapatra, Dhananjay; Choudhary, Amit Anand (7 September 2018). "SC decriminalises Section 377, calls 2013 ruling 'arbitrary and retrograde'". The Times of India.
  36. ^ Associated Press (30 December 2002). "Indian eunuchs demand jobs in universities, government". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  37. ^ "Supreme Court's Third Gender Status to Transgenders is a landmark". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  38. ^ "Indian eunuchs help collect taxes". CNN via Internet Archive. Associated Press. 9 November 2006. Archived from the original on 1 December 2006. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  39. ^ a b Hall 2001, pp. 133–162 "In Delhi the hijras have named their language Farsi. While their "hijralect" has very little, if anything, to do with what is generally known as "Farsi", the term is fitting given that the hijras see themselves as descended from the eunuchs of the medieval Moghul courts, where Farsi was the dominant language.
  40. ^ Hall, K. (1996). "Lexical subversion in India's Hijra community" (PDF). Gender and Belief Systems: Proceedings of the Third Berkeley Women and Language Conference. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Women and Language Group. pp. 279–292.
  41. ^ "Politicians of the third gender: the "shemale" candidates of Pakistan". New Statesman.
  42. ^ Usmani 2009.
  43. ^ "Transgender Pakistanis join election fight for first time". BBC News. 18 April 2013.
  44. ^ Pinfold, Corinne (26 February 2013). "Pakistan: First trans woman in general election says the community is 'more than dancers and beggars'". PinkNews. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  45. ^ a b National Legal Services Authority ... Petitioner Versus Union of India and others ... Respondents (Supreme Court of India 15 April 2014).Text
  46. ^ "India court recognises transgender people as third gender". BBC News. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  47. ^ "Govt to bring policy for transgenders". Deccan Herald. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  48. ^ "Week-long eunuch meet at A'nagar". PUNE Newsline (India). 8 April 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2003.
  49. ^ "Transgender MLA Candidate Kajal Nayak Clears Matric Exams". KalingaTV. 22 May 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  50. ^ Kama Sutra, 1883 Richard Burton translation, Chapter IX, Of the Auparishtaka or Mouth Congress..
  51. ^ Kama Sutra, 1883 Richard Burton translation.
  52. ^ Artola 1975.
  53. ^ Sweet & Zwilling 1993, p. 600.
  54. ^ Lach 1998.
  55. ^ Preston 1987, p. 371–87.
  56. ^ Reddy 2010, p. 25.
  57. ^ a b Venkat 2008
  58. ^ "Many, if not most, translations of Valmiki's Ramayana do not contain this reference." Joseph T. Bockrath, "Bhartia Hijro Ka Dharma: The Code of India's Hijra", Legal Studies Forum 83 (2003).
  59. ^ a b Narrain 2006
  60. ^ Reddy, Gayatri. (2005). With respect to sex : negotiating hijra identity in South India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-70754-9. OCLC 655225261.
  61. ^ Reddy, Gayatri (2008). "Hijras, 'AIDS Cosmopolitanism' and the Politics of Care in Hyderabad". doi:10.1037/e618052011-025. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  62. ^ Kron-3 (13 April 1998). "Tamanna (1998)". IMDb. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  63. ^ "Rediff On The NeT: Noted novelist to portray eunuch in Marathi play". www.rediff.com. 20 April 1998. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  64. ^ "Jogwa: societal grime with aesthetic beauty". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  65. ^ Kulkarni, Onkar (29 April 2011). "The third act". The Indian Express. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  66. ^ Jha, Meenketan; Holland, Oscar (13 November 2020). "'Laxmii' critics say Bollywood blockbuster offers a problematic transgender portrayal". CNN. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  67. ^ Sudhish, Navamy (16 June 2018). "'Njan Marykutty' review: Transperson's troubles handled sensitively". The Hindu.
  68. ^ Prabhu, Gayathri. "The Truth About Me: Hijra Life Story". Writers in Conversation. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  69. ^ Umair, S. M. (29 September 2010). "Hope floats". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  70. ^ "A. Revathi". Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  71. ^ Achanta, Pushpa (9 October 2012). "My life, my way". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  72. ^ "Doraiswamy to Revathi: A Tamil writer-activist's alternative journey". Deccan Herald. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  73. ^ rajiv-sethi (11 September 1992). "Immaculate Conception (1992)". IMDb. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  74. ^ a b "Award and Nominations". Kamran Qureshi.
  75. ^ "TV Movie Murad 2003". www.facebook.com.
  76. ^ "Director Kamran Qureshi". YouTube.
  77. ^ "Murad aka Eunuch's Motherhood". IMDb. 2003. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  78. ^ "Moorat". 7th Sky Entertainment.
  79. ^ "OST TV Serial 'Moorat' (on Intersex & Transgender) 2004 - Tina Sani Song". Archived from the original on 2 November 2021 – via www.youtube.com.
  80. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014.
  81. ^ Moorat Aka Eunuch's Wedding, IMDb, August 2004, retrieved 1 April 2018
  82. ^ "BOL: A review". DAWN. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  83. ^ Bol


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]