The Eunuch Reality: Eunuchs In India

Posted on December 28, 2008 in Featured, Society, Youth and Sexuality

-Anshul Tewari

” The Indian society, no matter how open minded it may claim to be, will always fear in touching some of the taboo subjects”

Well today I am going to write on another such issue. Recently, I went to Connaught Place with a few college friends. Tired, we went and sat in the Palika Park. Suddenly out of nowhere, a group of Eunuchs came to us, demanding money. We were certainly not in the mood to give away any money, so we refused. The eunuchs started abusing us and said all sort of things. One of them even threatened to open her clothes if we did not give them money. Compelled by this threat we had to pay them. This incident certainly shocked us.

When I returned home I researched a bit about the subject and found various shocking facts.

Lets start with the basics first:

THE HISTORY:

Eunuchs were frequently employed in Imperial Indian palaces as servants for female royalty, and often attained high-status positions in Indian society. Eunuchs in Imperial palaces were organized in a hierarchy, often with a senior or chief eunuch (“Khwaja Saras”) directing Junior eunuchs below him. Eunuchs were highly valued for their strength, to provide protection for the ladies palaces, and their trustworthiness, allowing eunuchs to live amongst women with fewer worries. This enabled eunuchs to serve as messengers, watchmen, attendants, and guards for palaces. often, eunuchs also doubled as part of the King’s court of advisers.

The Ancient Indian Kama Sutra refers to people of a “third sex” (trtyaprakrti), who can be dressed either in men’s or in women’s clothes and perform fellatio on men. The term has been translated as “eunuchs” (as in Sir Richard Burton’s translation of the book), but these persons have also been considered to be the equivalent of the modern hijra of India.

Hijra, a Hindi term traditionally translated into English as “eunuch”, actually refers to what modern Westerners would call male-to-female transgender people and effeminate homosexuals (although some of them reportedly identify as belonging to a third sex). Some of them undergo ritual castration, but the majority do not. They usually dress in saris (traditional Indian garb worn by women) and wear heavy make-up

THE HARSH REALITY:

An article by Times Of India quotes that out of the one million (approx) population of Eunuchs in Delhi, only 1% are born that way. The others are forcefully converted.

In an interview, a forcefully converted Eunuch confessed that the business is deeply connected. The Police are not unaware of this.

A report also states that young men and boys are kidnapped for this business. They are first drugged and then converted in an unconcious state. Some even said that they were forced to get into the habit of taking drugs, and then homosexuality and were then converted. The Godfathers of this business are getting richer by the day and more and more lives are being destroyed every year. After the conversions the young men are not left with any other option than joining the group of other similar men and continuing their business.
The police are well aware of this and so are the other elements of our judiciary, but nothing concrete is being done to stop this forceful trade.

No Government has taken action to curb this crime and no manifesto has ever been made. There are hundereds of NGO’s working for the welfare of Eunuchs, but what about the ones who are forcefully converted?

Their dreams and rights are taken away and they are left with no other proffessional option. Some are forced into the flesh trade and some suffer from HIV, some are forced to perform at marriages while some are forced to beg. The society finds it hard to accept this fact and accept the third sex. Not that they are unaware, its just their fear. But till when will we fear? The Eunuchs must be given their rights to live a dignified life, but shouldn’t policies be made to curb the forceful conversions?

WHY?

Why do we overlook such issues? Why do we read about them and forget? Why don’t we revert back to the reality and work to form a concrete solution? Till when will we shy away from these taboo issues and let them prevail in our society? Its time to wake up. Trust me, it is the correct time to wake up.

Do post your comments/suggections or if you want to quote some personal incidents.

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Sana Parveen

god, this thng bout forcing ppl into ths business is so shocking…..!!!!!

Varuag

Giving legal right to eunuch may bloat the problem of forceful conversions. The data bein available along with the info is not adding up properly. pieces of the puzzle are missing.
If I am not able to figure it out then there would be many with the same state of confusion, helplessness to do something.
Questioning policy, govt. for everything is not an answer to all the issues being faced by the society.
Even the author wrote the article only after he was pestered and got shocked primarily because of his inability/helplessness in the matter which concerned him and his friends.
The article is not completely researched and discussion with people has brought to light that dignity is not their concern mostly, money is what they are after….and here also one can find the ‘Dalals’ as the links. ‘Gurus’ are the kingpins and political nexus is already there.

Acceptance by parents/society of their progeny with little displaced sexuality is a must if a breakthrough is required.
I am trying to get more data and info….NGOs..
Talked to a person who spent almost a year and what was revealed was not so encouraging. They do not need anything from society except inclusion.
Need to make their database, include in census, count them as citizen of india, declare nirvana process as illegal as it is unhealthy and prone to health risks,instead provide them with access to medical facilities for conversion/sex change. It is not done by them because forceful cases will not be doable by them.

Theirs is a tightly knitted community and their trust is required.

sangeeta

i feel very bad and sad to see the poor condition of eunuchs who have been neglected just because they are sexually handicapped.they are far much better than the rapists moving freely in our society and are big threat for us.something must be done at least to make them financially independent.they can be trained as cab drivers or security guards.ithink these are the best suited jobs for them.gradually they will be accepted by people and will be respected for what they are

chirag gogri

Eunuch are creating havoc in society especially when they are not offered any money apart from this some people have opted themselves easiest way of earning money without taking any pains n hard efforts in bombay they have created havoc in society they are spitting and beating people though donot have any right to raise their hand

Stuti

I agree about the condition of the eunuchs but more than Pity they need acceptance in society .They do not need charity but rather we can provide them with jobs which need less knowledge and skill, so that those who are less educated can avail them.

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