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The Rights, Vol-1: Issue-II, 10, December, 2015 ISSN: 2454-9096 (online)


Kamala Kanta Show
Faculty Of Social Work,Durgapur Law College & IGNOU,
Kaji Nazrul University,

Delegation to the 1st International Congress on Human Rights & Duties

(Regd: 14ICHRD2015)
Transgender is generally described as a person whose gender identity, gender expression or
behavior does not conform to their biological sex. The court says that since TGs do not have
reproduction capacity as a either man or woman, they are neither man nor woman and claim
to be an institutional ―third gender‖. TG also includes persons who intend to undergo sex Re-
Assignment. The Paper studies the life of TGs concerning to the rights they are enjoyed, also
social aspect with the case study of TG community of Burdwan district.

Keywprds: Transgender, Rights, Human, India, La

T ransgender is generally described as a

person whose gender identity, gender
expression or behavior does not
conform to their biological sex. As per
judiciary view since TGs do not have
host usually pays the hijras a fee. 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 on to the newly born. Hijras are said
reproduction capacity as a either man or to be able to do this because, since they do
woman, they are neither man nor woman and not engage in sexual activities, they
claim to be an institutional ―third gender‖. accumulate their sexual energy which they
TG also includes persons who intend to can use to either bestow a boon or a bane.
undergo sex Re- Assignment surgery (SRS)
or have undergone SRS to align biological Most hijras live at the margins of
sex with their gender identity in order to society with very low status; the very word
become male or female. Transgender or hijra "hijra" is sometimes used in a derogatory
in India are called by different names and manner. Few employment opportunities are
different region like Hijras in north India, available to hijras. Many get their income
Kinnar in Delhi, Aravanis in Tamil Nadu, from performing at ceremonies (toli),
Jogaties in Maharashtra & Karnataka, Shiv- begging (dheengna), or sex work ('raarha')—
shakthis etc. an occupation of hijras also recorded in pre-
modern times. Violence against hijras,
Hijras are magical personality that especially hijra sex workers, is often brutal,
create fear and sometimes respect to and occurs in public places, police stations,
common people. Hijras perform religious prisons, and their homes. As with
ceremonies at weddings and at the birth of transgender people in most of the world, they
male babies, involving music, singing, and face extreme discrimination in health,
sexually suggestive dancing. These are housing, education, employment,
intended to bring good luck and fertility. immigration, law, and any bureaucracy that
Although hijras are most often uninvited, the is unable to place them into male or female
Human Rights Perspectives of the Third Gender in India Kamal Kant Show
The Rights, Vol-1: Issue-II, 10, December, 2015 ISSN: 2454-9096 (online)

gender categories. Beginning in 2006, hijras In 1994, they were given the right to
were engaged to accompany Patna city vote. In 1999, Shabnam Mausi Bano became
revenue officials to collect unpaid taxes, India's first hijra MLA. In 2003, Hijras in
receiving a 4-percent commission. Madhya Pradesh have established their own
political party called "Jeeti Jitayi Politics"
Hijras are often encountered on (JJP). In recent Loksabha elections, Daya
streets, trains, and other public places Rani Kinnar, a transsexual activist, stood as
demanding money from people. If refused, an independent candidate from Ghaziabad
the hijras may attempt to embarrass the man constituency against Rajnath Singh. Tamil
into giving money, using obscene gestures, Nadu became the first state to give
abusive language, and even sexual advances. recognition to the transgender. In official
In India for example, threatening to open forms, there is ‗T‘ along with ‗M‘ and ‘F‘ in
their private parts in front of the man if he the gender identification column. In Chennai,
does not give away some money. The toilets are being built for the transgender.
dominant cultural role of the hijras, as we Recently a large no. of NGOs has come up to
have seen, is that of ritual performers. It is work for the transgender. Things are
also true, however, that hijras often engage changing. But the limits to these changes are
in homosexual prostitution. in our mindset. There is a need to broaden
our mindset, to make our mindsets more
Recognition and protection and human or more rational.
promotion for the rights of Hijaras in India
traced back to In the time of Ramayana, As 1. HIJRAS IN CONTEMPORARY
[per the popular epic when Rama set for 14 INDIA
years exile in the forest the citizens of
Ayodhya (Kingdom of Rama) followed him Hijras who belong to south India and
with grief and tears, Rama stopped them at particulars to madras region, tell about a
the border of kingdom before entering into different type of death ritual. According to
the forest and asked them to wipe every men them the dead is buried in his own home. If
and women to wipe the tears. But those man the home does not belong to the death, then
who were neither men nor woman did not the dead is taken out of the home at mid
know where to go. So they stayed there night when no one is there to watch. The
because Rama did not ask them to go. They dead is taken out in the standing position by
remained their 14 years and Snake hills grew three–four of his companions. They take the
around them. When Rama returned from dead to the jungle and dig a deep ditch. They
Lanka, he found many Snake hills. Not put two three quintals of salt into the ditch
knowing why they were there, he removed and bury the dead in a standing position.
them and found so many people with long While taking to the jungle he is given
beards and long nails. And so they were beating. After burying the dead they offer a
blessed by Rama. That is why they are prayer to the goddess to give salvation to the
respected so much in Ajodhya. During death. The hijras worship their goddess
ancient and the medieval period of Indian Bahuchara. The temple of the goddess is
history they were existing as an institution. situated in Gujrat near Ahmadabad. The
In the fourth century B.C. they were Bahuchara mata is their main goodness yet
employed in the harems. This role of their, in the hijras of North India do worship the local
fact, was very significant in maintaining the and religion goodness, like Vaishnu Devi,
personal hygiene of the harem in mates and Mansa Devi etc. But there are hardly any
in the administrator of affair of the harems. mythological justification revealed by the
During the Mugal period, particularly, during hijras. However in the case of Bahuchara
reign of Shah Jahan, hijras held very high Mata there are a large number of stories.
status. They were also employed during the Salunke argues, the Bahuchara worship in
rules of Akbar. the form of the vulva is related to the ritual

2 yadam Institute of Research Human Rights and Duties Research Center

Human Rights Perspectives of the Third Gender in India Kamal Kant Show
The Rights, Vol-1: Issue-II, 10, December, 2015 ISSN: 2454-9096 (online)

of castration. The idea is to identify one-self directed Centre and State Governments to
with the deity which is done by feminine grant legal recognition of gender identity
dress. Since it gives them a sense of identity, whether it is male, female or third gender.
so violation of it is considered threat to hijra
Legal Recognition for Third Gender: In
culture. According to salunke, violation of
any such rule is punishable by the hijra recognizing the third gender category, the
community‘s court of law, i.e., hijra Court recognizes that fundamental rights are
panchayat. It is therefore within the purview available to the third gender in the same
of hijra community to provide religious manner as they are to males and females.
symbols. Further, non-recognition of third gender in
both criminal and civil statutes such as those
2. HIJRA AND PUBLIC INTEREST relating to marriage, adoption, divorce, etc is
LITIGATION discriminatory to the third gender. Legal
Recognition for Persons transitioning within
male/female binary: As for how the actual
Transgender now a third gender in
procedure of recognition will happen, the
response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL),
the apex court has delivered a land mark Court merely states that they prefer to follow
judgment which is expected to bring the psyche of the person and use the
transgender in the main stream of society. "Psychological Test" as opposed to the
The Supreme Court, in a land mark "Biological Test".
judgment, has recognized transgender as the
third gender in this country. This decision of 4. ECONOMIC ENGAGEMENT
the apex court makes India the first country
to give transgender third gender status. A
bench of justices K.S Radhakrishnan and Almost anyone who has ever
A.K Sikri directed the Govt. to take steps for travelled in a train across UP/Bihar must
granting recognition to transgender as a have had several misadventures of such type.
separate third category of gender after male The question arises that why cannot they
& female. The bench said they are part and think of more ethical and socially acceptable
parcel of society and the Govt. must take ways of earning their bread?..Do they always
steps to bring them in the main stream of have to resort to the usual 'saree lifting'
society. The apex court passed the order on a ways?...Sadly, they hardly have a choice.
PIL filed by National Legal Service Almost no-one will be willing to employ a
Authority (NALSA) urging the court to give eunuch they virtually have no right to
separate identity to transgender recognizing education, health care, jobs, etc. they hardly
them as the third category of gender. have a voice in the country. Apart from
constitutional amendments, they only think
3. THE VERDICTS OF SUPREME that can change the scenario is social
awareness. Awareness both for us and them.
We need to learn that they too are humans
and that matters more than any other reason.
We should be more tolerant. And the hijra
The Supreme Court judgment on should learn that they should go out of the
Transgender Right (NALSA vs Union of way to ensure that the society's perception
India) A summary of the 15th April 2014 towards them changes. They should revert
judgment, by Danish Sheikh, This judgment firm their usual tradition and behave in such
covers persons who want to identify with the a way that the society's apathy towards them
decreases. They shouldn't indulge in such
third gender as well as persons who want to
activities that will make the general public
transition from one identity to another, i.e. to hate them even more. People should pay
male to female or vice versa. The Court has them at weddings/birth so that at least they
3 yadam Institute of Research Human Rights and Duties Research Center
Human Rights Perspectives of the Third Gender in India Kamal Kant Show
The Rights, Vol-1: Issue-II, 10, December, 2015 ISSN: 2454-9096 (online)

can enjoy some comforts of life rather than has never to pay for anything; they just go
being discriminated as well as living a there and stay until they wants to leave.
merciful life with no mercy of others. There
should be some organizations as well who 6. LAST RITES ANALYSIS
would treat them as a target section and
organize a work-force or a community like ―Nobody has seen a funeral of a
they do with poor women. 99% hijras are the kinnar‖, ―When a kinnar dies his body is
victim of forced castration. There is no beaten brutally and then buried inside the
effective law to curb this heinous crime. traditional house‖-These types of myths are
Removing a small part makes big difference prevalent in the society but death and funeral
in the rest his life. I do not know god created of a eunuch takes place as normally as of any
such an important organ outside the body? other common man‘s funeral and cremation.
The hijra of India are probably the most well The information of death of a eunuch is
known and populous third sex type in the communicated to others by making
modern world. The Humsafar Trust estimates announcement from the Hijiji. Hindu kinnars
there are between 5 and 6 million hijras in are cremated and Muslims kinnars buried in
India. Often called eunuchs in English, they the graveyards. The only difference between
may be born intersex or apparently male, burial of a eunuch and common man is that a
dress in feminine clothes and generally see common man can be buried in any graveyard
themselves as neither men nor women. of Burdwan town but a eunuch can be buried
only in a specified graveyard and there to a
5. MEANS OF ENTERTAINMENT special section is allotted and reserved for
them. A common man cannot be buried
Movie/Television: All the hijras are
very fond of watching television and movies 7. BURDWAN TOWN: THE
in the theatres. A colored Television set rests LOCALE OF THE PRESENT
installed in the tent for the entertainment of STUDY
the members of the group. The hijras lead a
very stressful life due to living far from
The decision and finalization of the
family and to minimize this stress most hijras
topics and selection of the area of study are
go to Theater hall to watch a movie at least
almost simultaneously done. The researcher
once in a week. All of them get together and
decided to conduct a study on the socio
share the experience of the day‘s work that
economic condition, and problem faced by
how much was the earning and, what all
hijras in Burdwan town, it was found to be
problems were faced. The hijras also plan the
the right place because good number of
activities for the next day that which area
hijras residing in this town.
they had to go for earning next day. The
conversation is not limited to them but many
topics of current importance are freely As per the Census 2011 data,
Bardhaman District has an area of 7,024 km².
discussed. This is the time to relax and vent
out their mental frustrations by talking to It is bounded on the north by Birbhum and
Murshidabad districts, on the east by Nadia
their housemates.
District, on the southeast by Hooghly
Each kinnar is allowed to go and District, on the southwest by Bankura and
Purulia districts, and on the northwest by
enjoy to any place in India once in a year and
stay there a number of days, in tradition Dhanbad district of Jharkhand. The district
has six sub-divisions, Asansol, Sadar
houses of kinnars in India. The arrangement
(North), Sadar (South), Durgapur, Kalna, and
of a guest kinnar‘s stay, his food and journey
Katwa. It was amongst the first districts to
are borne by the natives. The guest kinnar
have a 100% literacy rate. Bardhaman is the

4 yadam Institute of Research Human Rights and Duties Research Center

Human Rights Perspectives of the Third Gender in India Kamal Kant Show
The Rights, Vol-1: Issue-II, 10, December, 2015 ISSN: 2454-9096 (online)

most advanced district in West Bengal both

industrially and agriculturally. The eastern 9. MAJOR FINDINGS &
part is enriched by the alluvial soil of CONCLUSION
Bhagirathi River (minor stream of river
Ganges), and is one of the most productive  In poor family when any genital
agricultural regions in West Bengal. The abnormal child born they hide this
western part of the district, chiefly Asansol, matter within few members of the
is rich in coal and other mineral resources. family, and try to find out any
This part is highly industrialized and solution, on other hand other
contains various factories based on iron and persons of society was unable to
steel processing, as well as many cement raise the voice against the rich
factories. Durgapur, Burnpur, and Kulti are family, due to this, it clearly
in the western part of the district. It also indicated that maximum
contains power plants at Durgapur and respondents who join the hijra group
Dishergarh. belongs to lower middle class
family, and its percentage was
 Due to abnormality in genital organ
and strange cross dresser attitude,
The Main Objective is to understand the the school mates, friends, relatives,
socio-economic condition of Hijras with community peoples try to molestate
focusing on the ascertainment the social them, whenever possible. Maximum
status of hijras, Assessment the economic cases of molestation remain when
status of hijras; identification the culture of they were alone, maximum
the hijras; finding out the factors underlying respondents were molestated by kith
their problem1s. & kin, neighbors and school mates
its percentage was 65%.
For the purpose of the present study the  Maximum respondents have no
researcher selected Burdhwan town as his attachment with other family
proposed geographical area of work which members, and its percentage was
falls under Burdhwan district of West Bengal 72.5%.
in India. In Burdwan town there are 216  Maximum respondents were unable
eunuchs residing and this population is to complete the basic education, due
estimated by local NGO SAATHI, and the to non supportive attitude of other
age group of the respondents are also community members, and its
estimated to fall between 20 to 45 years2. percentage was 47.5%.
 They were not shown any interest
toward education, in this stage of
The method used to collect the data was:
1. Interview schedule:- The researcher prepared an interview schedule
life, they choose the way of begging
which included question according to the set objective and arranged in running trains, homes, red signals
them systematically and sequentially. During data collection the
researcher filled the interview schedule by himself. The biggest
and in bus stops.
advantage in the use of interview schedule is that one can observe,  From the childhood they were
interpret and read the body language and attitude of the respondents.
2. Interview guide:- The researcher collected data from the head of suffering from many obstacles. And
one of the traditional house in order to have an in depth knowledge of many incidents took place in their
socio economics and cultural practices of hijras.
3. Observation:- The researcher observed the respondent during data lifespan.
collection tried to code their body language and attitude. So for the
allotted task both the verbal and nonverbal attitude plays key role.
collect relevant data from the respondents. From the total
2 universe of 216, 20% samples have been selected and thus,
As we know that hijra groups are very conservative, so they
fear to share any information to the people who were not the size of the sample selected through the above sampling
belongs to their community. In this adverse circumstances method becomes 40. All the respondents were above 18 years
researcher plan the strategy to collect the data after proper and lives in the group or Toli of four to six members who
rapport building with local NGO SAATHI who are working have migrated from various places/parts of country.
on this issue. Purposive sampling method has been adopted to

5 yadam Institute of Research Human Rights and Duties Research Center

Human Rights Perspectives of the Third Gender in India Kamal Kant Show
The Rights, Vol-1: Issue-II, 10, December, 2015 ISSN: 2454-9096 (online)

 All the respondents were male hijra lifestyle they were unable to save
with female soul, among them only money, and its percentage was 05%.
seventeen respondents were gone  Due to unavailable of other
through castration; others reported profession, hijras choose the
that their genital organ was not in profession to collect money by
definite shape. begging in running trains and from
 A large no. of respondents were the vehicles of red light signals.
earning by the begging in  Maximum respondents were prone
trains/express trains and local trains to cigarette smoking, and drinking
which were running in the route of due to typical profession and more
Howrah to other cities. During the stressful state of mind.
dhandha/work hour they were  The maximum no. of respondents
bound to pay (3o) thirty rupees to accepted that they went on tour,
the RPF staffs, railway on duty once in two years, and its
staffs, to catch the train from siding percentage was 67.5%..
or from the Burdwan railway  All the respondents accepted that,
station. On other hand they were they used sari during the working
bound to hand over fixed amount hours or during earning hours.
(500) five hundred to guru/gaddi,  All the hijras know that Koovgama
for there per day maintenance. was the religious place of them, in
 Maximum no. of respondents were the month of April and May there
accepted that there per day income was a festival of hijras and worship
vary from (500-550) rupees, and its of Bahuchara mata took place every
percentage is 77.5% year, in which hijra of all over the
 Living place of hijras was non world visited this holy place, not
hygienic, it was the end point of the only this many common peoples of
railway platforms attached with the male and female gender visit to
boundary wall of the railway know the cultural aspects of the
premises, where the garbage heaps hijras. As per the ritual of hijra, they
were present. become the bride for one night and
 Only list no. of respondents marry lord Krishna and when the
accepted that they were suffering day appears they break there
from HIV/AIDS, and its number bangles and became widow.
was four. Maximum respondents accepted
 Maximum hijras have strong faith in that, they never get the chance to
counseling and the treatment visit Koovgama.
provided by the representatives of  Hijras have strong we-feeling within
the NGOs, because they got strong the community. So they maintain
moral support from the organization good cooperation within the
SATHI. members.
 Many of them do not possess any  During illness and emergency tour
valid voter ID card, pan card, guru/gaddi assist the individual
driving license due to their typical members by giving them economic
identity. So they have no any bank support to overcome the
account. problematic situation.
 Only list number of respondents  All the respondents come under
accepted that they were working in same guru SHANTI, and lives in
dance bar previously because it was groups of same locality. They pay
the good source of earning, but due five hundred rupees ( Rs.500), to
to high risk of HIV and transmitted Guru/Gaddi, for overall
disease and huge expense in maintenance.

6 yadam Institute of Research Human Rights and Duties Research Center

Human Rights Perspectives of the Third Gender in India Kamal Kant Show
The Rights, Vol-1: Issue-II, 10, December, 2015 ISSN: 2454-9096 (online)

 All the respondents accepted that • Human rights violations against

there was hollowness in their heart sexuality minorities in India report
from the beginning, because they (first edition), PUCL KARNATAKA.
never got the desired behavior from • Human rights violations against
the side of family, friends and from
sexuality minorities in India report
society members.
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