An Untold Story: Rashida Biwi, A Transgender

Posted on July 30, 2011

By Anonna Dutt:

With a sad face Rashida Biwi (name changed) said ‘I would like to be addressed as SHE’. She is a transgender and has never known a respectable life just because of what SHE is. Ever since she understood what people were saying to her, she has never heard anything but abuse.

She continued her sorry tale with a brave smile on her lips and a sad look in her eyes. She said she used to be a Hijra. After a pause she asked us what we knew about the particular religious group. She laughed off our attempts to answer and explained the entire concept to us. Hijras are a religious group of transsexuals who live in a group of 50 — 60 under one Guru, known as the Niak. The Hijras are treated as slaves and have to work day and night to satisfy all the demands of the Niak. Their jobs not only include asking for alms but slogging around doing all the household work of the Niak. They have to work till 3 at night and again get up early in the morning. Also, they are supposed to remain pure, i.e., they are not supposed to have sex. If anyone is ever accused of adultery, the person is burnt to death. This is not merely a story; this is actually the situation persisting in India.

There are Trans — genders who have sex, but they do not belong to the religious group. They live independently and most of them take up sex work as their profession. Rashida Biwi was one amongst them. They are like the outcasts of their group which makes their sustenance all the more difficult. But this is not the worst part of it.

The Trans genders are not even recognised as part of the society, not even their own. They do not relate to anyone as friends, family or even acquaintance. They are denied the right to love. They are denied every right and for what — just because of their sex.

Every now and then we hear about movements targeted at improving the status of the women, but never do we think about the third sex that is present in our society. They too should have access to equal rights and humanitarian behaviour. This is not just a outcry coming from Rashida Biwi but everyone of her likes and Rashida Biwi has decided to fight for the cause.

This article is written to highlight the plight of the trans- genders in our society. This is to create awareness amongst the people and change their perspective of thinking. This is to help Rashida Biwi in her attempt to gain justice for herself and her people! has pledged to bring forward the voice of the unheard communities in India. To read more such stories visit our Unheard Stories section.

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