The Third Sex: A Peep Into The Lives Of Eunuchs

Posted on November 8, 2010 in Society

By Abhilasha Singh:

Eunuchs are addressed by many names: hijra, kinnar, transexual, third sex or other sex. The very first image that comes to our mind of hijra is a man-body clad shabbily in a sari. The face caked in white powder and cheeks circled with cheap rouge, bright lipstick-ed mouth and dark kohl-eyed ludicrously odd travesty of womanhood clapping clamorously in a busy market, hustling for five or ten rupees.

Eunuchs in India are still deprived of normal rights as our law codes recognize only two sexes: male and female. Eunuchs are generally dressed as females, adopt feminine names and are referred to as “She”. They are still fighting for their rights to education, job, vote and above all the much-awaited acceptance in society.

Eunuchs live in their own created community, a separate world of their own. They have their own Gods, they follow their own laws and everyone who belongs to this world has to abide by these laws. Among these ostracized eunuchs, many of them are castrated, few are genetically born hermaphrodite, that is, they have genitals of both sexes and few are transvestites, that is, a female mind trapped in male body or vice versa.

History of eunuchs is eons old. In earlier times they were appointed as guards of kings’ harems to avoid the sexual relationships with royal queens. This sexual perversion still exists in society and they are forced to live their lives in isolation. Now the survival instincts drive them to unsafe and insecure corners of sex trade, extortion and crime.

Few exceptions are there. Shabnam Mausi has created the history by being elected as an MP of Madhya Pradesh. But her overwhelming victory is disillusioned by the agenda people have in their minds. They think that as eunuchs have no family of their own, maybe they would work for the common people without any selfish reasons as representatives from other parties would not have.

Eunuchs have lost their faith in humanity that they should expect from their fellow beings. In every phase of their lives they are being tormented by their own parents who leave them and tag them as “ill-omened”, harassment and torture by policemen, humiliation and insult by media…the poor mortals have been trampled umpteen times to death by whoever comes across them. Justice, equality, dignity, liberty; they all have been drowned in the hollowness of these words.

Millions of such souls in our country lead lifeless lives. Government has taken few steps to abridge this gap. In passports, ration cards and other utility forms O (for other sex) or E (for Eunuch) is added, apart from M and F, under sex category. But still a lot has needed to be done. This can only be achieved once we change our mindset and by spreading awareness to every strata of the society. Now it’s a high time to give a serious thought about the state of eunuchs. It’s not about what we can give to them but it’s all about the respect, love and status they actually deserve as a human being.

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