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Hijra is an umbrella term used for those men who are transgender, eunuchs,

transvestites, hermaphrodites or intersex bisexuals or homosexuals (Nanda, as sited in

Bretell & Sargent, 1997; Sharma, 2000). The important argument here is that no proper

residential settlement pattern exists for Hijras as provided to women. The Hijra-male

has to learn to cope with this standardized deviation. In this article the residential

patterns of Hijra is discussed theoretically to make a case that their unique pattern of

residence and different nomenclature for members of the household residing in that

family is not deviation from patriarchy but conformity with demands of the patriarchy.

The eunuchs' residential pattern in the above-mentioned patriarchal system, i.e. their

subversive bodily acts and complicity with patriarchal hegemony, are of more

importance for any student of Gender Studies and Social Anthropology in Pakistan. The

information detailed in this paper was collected via a series of face-to-face interviews

conducted in two cities of Pakistan i.e. Peshawar and Bannu from September to

December 2008 and by recourse to the extant literature. The specific question thus

addressed in this paper is that, is it a conscious effort of Hijra to supplement the

Patriarchy or if it is deviation from it establishing one of their own housing? the paper

conclude that Hijra are not deviants of the patriarchy but providing space to those who

do not fit in to its domestic roles, thus complementing or facilitating patriarchy-taking it

out of any threat or danger may posed otherwise providing with alternate family with

roles clearly dictated by patriarchy.


In Pakistan gender is governed to confirm a stereotypical form of patriarchy, with clear cut

demarcation for male and female domains especially in the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa Province.

Here the male hujra i and the female domain, Zanan Khana ii : are two distinctly separate areas:

entry to the latter for male adults - even close kin - is strictly forbidden under normal

1 Lecturer in Social Anthropology, Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Peshawar, Pakistan

everyday circumstances. This predominantly Sunni Muslim society, which manifests distinctly dichotomous male and female roles, permits no place for any other gender, neither in the legal structure nor in the religious sphere although from socio-cultural perspective the extant literature is full of relevant evidence (Stephen, 1997). The social structure dictates an unquestioned binary role for its members, i.e. male and female, and groups all ‘others’ into the category of Hijra (Reddy, 2005). In family discourse, an adolescent girl wearing male- style dress, with a short hair cut and restricted hip movement, may be the butt of jokes made by parents who, when referring to her, may use the term 'Hijra'. Conversely, when a male adopts a more fluid body movement, fluid gait, wears silky or colored attire, uses a soft voice, and is clean shaven, members of lower and middle class families may refer to such males as Hijra (mostly mothers, sisters or friends). This is an appellation regularly used to redress any deviance manifested by any person within this fixed, normative, patriarchal structure wherein women should appear flexible of body movement and with suitably decorative ornamentation and men are expected to adopt an upright, almost rigid demeanor. Judith Butler (1999) referring to this gender variation and defining the term gender says that ‘If the inner truth of gender is a fabrication and if a true gender is a fantasy instituted and inscribed on the surface of bodies, then it seems that gender can be neither true nor false, but are only produced as the truth effects of a discourse of primary and stable identity’ (Butler, 1999:174).

Politically, from a patriarchal standpoint (Sharma, 2000), the term Hijra/Khusra is specifically applied to transgender males and/or eunuchs living in groups, with a leader (Guru iii ) as 'mother', in specific zones, e.g. restricted or 'apartheid' areas into which both men and women can enter. Any adolescent found visiting them or making friendship with them is immediately declared 'homosexual iv ' (Government of Pakistan, 2006-unpublished). According to Nanda, ‘Hijra is a third gender role, who is neither man nor woman but contains the elements of both. She is an inter-sexed impotent man, who undergoes emasculation in which all parts of the genitals are removed’. (Jami, 2005:03). Sinha defines as ‘Normal male physically hale and hearty, born with normal genitals and testicles, which may or may not be castrated later and attire in female garbs’ (as cited in Sharma, 2000, p. 2). Most importantly they are all men, including hermaphrodites or intersexed, who wear female clothes and behave like women or try to attain female identity (male turn female). Women who wear men cloths or try to attain male identity (female turn male) do not fall into the category of Hijra (Jami, 2005).

Hijra are an important segment of social structure in Pakistan, especially in urban centers. Many young boys from rural districts visit the cities, one major attraction being the Hijra community. Hijra live mostly in the slum areas near bus terminals. The same area is mostly preferred although for different reasons of convenience by economic migrants.

Observers may find it difficult to both comprehend and/or accept the Hijras' different dress style, the flamboyant behavior and body language unless they have had access to literature such as that of Connell (2005), Lewis (2000), Butler (1999) and Yuval-Davis (2006). Hijra- although are defined (legally-documented) males, socio-culturally they trespass the domains of both males and females, and are of special interest to many scholars (Reddy, 2005; Sharma, 2000; Riaz, 1995).

Discourse of the Paper

For me, as a new comer into the discourse on gender and Hijra identities in Pakistan, my focus lies in the residential pattern of hijra with reference patriarchal social arrangements. In patriarchal society like Pakistan, family is the only place of social training. This is only place of residential identity as well as a place of refuge at times of crisis. It is the only space that provides identity with others. Hijras, within this domain, have no identity as they ostensibly have no family in the perceived sense of parenthood. But they must have one to speak of at a patriarchal forum: thus they respond well by virtue of establishing families of their own. The normative structure considers these arrangements deviant and by extension temporary. They are always a threat to govern-mentality (Yuval-Devis, 2003): forced evacuations or at worst threats (both legal and social) deprive them of permanent settlements or ownership of houses (Reddy, 2005). My argument here will focus on their residential patterns to discuss if it is really temporary? This paper will explore that these arrangements of residents although look temporary but in reality they have a nature of permanence for their own functional needs as is the case of gypsies. This discussion will also shed light on the argument that the residential arrangement and family structure of Hijra is not a threat to the normative family but a mean of confirmation to the patriarchal demands to provide space with in the existing structure for those who do not fall into all the nomenclatures provided otherwise.

Theoretical Support

The aforementioned subversive bodily acts of establishing unique families and residential

patterns are mentioned as

‘parody’ (Butler, 1999), and, 'complicity' (Connell, 1995) by

scholars of repute on gender. These terms clearly expose the existence of a close, binary, heterosexual family structure on the one hand and patriarchal hegemony on the other. In response to the different subversive roles played by Hijra in different life courses and discourses, Butler contends that

[these] practices of parody can serve to re-engage and reconsolidate the very distinction between a

.phontasmatic, and

mantic- failed copy, as it were… [the] inevitable exclusion of marginal gender from territory of the

natural and real…A constitutive failure of all gender enactments for the very reason that these

privileged and naturalized gender configuration and one that appears as derived,

ontological locales are fundamentally uninhabitable (Butler, 1999:186).

Butler's explanation of gender based residential arrangements and the challenges it creates through performance for Hijra are further elaborated by Connell (2006) through expatiation of different masculinities, elaborating the concept, understandable that how difficult it is for Hijras to fight their particular form of sexuality and to confirm to society's gender demands on residence, a society that has a perceived normative structure in accordance with its socio- religious dictates, very much fixed in patriarchal hegemony. Both men's and women's role expectations of Hijra declare them as an important and irrefutable reality on the one hand and a ‘busted social character’ (Connell, 1995), on the other. Hijra are considered physically and psychologically ambivalent and because of this ambivalence people consider them freaks (for hiding their sexual identity); therefore, they are a marginalized/stigmatized community’ (Humaira, 2005). Marginalized’ masculinity is explained with specific reference to the configuration of practice generated in a particular situation in a changing structure of relationships (Connell, 1995).

The existence of this specific arrangement is a requirement of the social structure as an alternative for family because the state has declared family out of its domain. But the question remains: What if structural change occurs and gender equality is ensured, within a loosened if not abolished patriarchy? The structure of the Hijra residential family seems to be more artificial than parody and subject to change or at least replaced by the Gay families of the West, with no role for the Guru, the present day identity of the Hijra family structure. However, for this paper, focus will remain here on how the present residential patterns of the Hijra community intersect ethnicity, class, religion and gender in interaction with various other segments of society.

Butler (1999) cites a case of Herculean: similar character from Michel Foucault’s work, who was really depressed with her transgender status, is addressed for her feelings as Herculean

expel ‘

herself from the domain of all human beings. In this pre-suicidal isolation, she claims

to soar above both sexes, but her anger is most fully directed against men, whose title she sought to usurp in her intimacy with Sara and who she now indicates without restraint as those who some how robbed her of the possibility of love' (Butler, 1999:132). The Hijra of Pakistan most resemble the protest in the Herculean story by Michel Foucault reproduced in Butler’s book titled Gender Trouble. v In the above scenario, Hijra of Pakistan appear as the only force resisting these stereotypical roles through a range of activities. They speak a special language, dress more flamboyantly than women (A dress women in rural Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa may not even dream to), and use a particular body language that neither males nor females would dare to use in daily life. For example, for different reasons both men and women face restrictions vis-a-vis dancing in public: there is a ban on using erotic gestures to entertain male audiences. Men are not expected to dance as it is against their static representation of body; if women dance, the extra liberty of body movement involved represents a threat to a conservative patriarchal society. Thus to fill this cultural gap, the Hijra, that is, those of the third gender, are assigned the role to fill in.

Historically, Hijra were placed in Royal houses where they served as Khadim- domestic servants who were permitted to enter the female domain into which not even close male kin could gain entry: the Hijras' status as 'impotents' permitted this liberty (Humaira, 2005). They could frequently visit the men’s Hujra, as they were perceived men dressed as women: the women did not object to their presence either. In their domain the men experienced a degree of sexual satisfaction having men wearing women's clothing both dancing before - and serving them. The Hijra could enter the women’s domain without any objection from the men (a) because they were perceived to equal women in appearance, and (b) because they were impotent. Women's interaction with the Hijra gained legitimacy through yet another source, the divine factor. While female interaction with males was forbidden, divinity could in a sense provide sanction; the different myths associated with the Hijra imbued them with 'divine' powers, placing them above humanity and discounting any 'maleness'. This allowed them to interact freely with both men and women without fear of disgrace and free from the severe consequences that could result from their exaggerated feminine appearance (Sharma, 2000; Reddy, 2005; Humaira, 2005). Thus this visible ‘other’ maintains its special privileged status through religion: at pilgrimages only the Hijra can undertake the tasks of serving both men and women in offering prayers (Humaira, 2005). This special status further strengthens them

socially, confirming their status of being outside of the binary and presenting them as no threat to the social structure as such.

Question Formulated

The Hijras' specific role in this structure is the main source that facilitates the patriarchy. The question I am attempting to construct relative to this paper and for further research is as follows: Does this special category, so visible due to its semiotic and symbolic exhibitionism, present any threat to a strictly male dominant society? Do Hijra further facilitate the system by providing space for all those challenging it, with in the domain of normative family structure? The characters in Dera are the same as of patriarchal family nomenclatures? Is it only roles performed by different actors? Hijras, through their bodily construct, strive hard to perform certain gender roles to achieve acceptance in an extremely conservative patriarchal system. Students pursuing gender studies may consider this an important subject for investigation for, as Butler (1999) suggests, these are not fixed sex or gender roles and may change if the patriarchal hegemony is challenged in any real sense by gay and lesbian movements in Pakistan (Connell, 1995).

My discourse throughout this paper is based on post-structuralism, i.e. the study of human behavior from a sociological viewpoint, exploring the extant problems in the residential pattern of the eunuchs in Pakistan. I seek to ascertain how men, women and Hijra construct a structure of ‘Otherness’ in a group solidarity, while at the same time within this group various statuses and roles define/determine the behavior of individual Hijra. I will explore when and how Hijra shift their roles and identity in order to adjust to social demands. Thus in the discourse, gender, ethnicity, class and sexuality are found - both in practice and discourse - intersecting with each other. The paper maintains that although the Hijra community presents to everyday men and women as a static 'dump' wherein the perceived 'abnormal' are housed, upon entering it one finds dynamics of conflict and struggle, what Marx refers to as the 'inter- play'. The other aspect of this theoretical report is the concept of sub-culture; exploration takes the form of an anthropological ethnography, employing a methodology of participant observer.

Hijra: The Illegitimate Third Gender-The Reality of Pakistan

The term 'Hijra', according to Talwar (1999), is often used as a form of abuse of a person, especially of men who appear whimsical, effeminate, impotent or ineffective. Giving the

characteristic features of Hijra are idealized

as] large and ugly looking persons with big hands and feet, wearing flamboyant colors and matt makeup (facial hair concealed), emphasis on certain body parts (breasts, hips etc) exaggerated movements and non verbal gestures including clapping, cracking obscene jokes, vulgar in talk and gestures etc’ (Humaira, 2005:04). For the purposes of this specific study, such people will be defined as follows: persons with masculine body hair, stiffness of limbs but softness of skin in some cases, projecting certain body parts in an exaggerated fashion to emulate the female form, affecting artificial breast enhancement through medical intervention, costume dress performance, claiming sexual deformity, either real or created, and living in groups with a compulsory Guru as a spiritual ‘male mother’, to whom they are theoretically loyal but always competitive vis-a-vis desired future status (Reddy, 2005). Hijras, who temporarily occupy a social space (Reddy, 2005), always shift from place to place, their preference being for urban centers (Heldeman-2006) and being near migrant workers, who are temporarily their source of earnings for sex work (Unpublished report of Provincial HIV/AIDS Surveillance 2007, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa Government, Pakistan).

portrayal of Hijra in literature of gender,


Residence and Power Structure of the Hijra Community

A Dera vi , which serves as a permanent place of residence for Hijra, is a rented apartment with

a two room minimum: affordability requires this minimum space to house between 6 to 10

persons. A Hijra, a Guru and a Naik vii are three individuals, whose roles tend to overlap as they perform their multiple roles within the dera. Guru is considered the most superior in this whole inter-play albeit and this is not evident to strangers or visitors. Her role is restricted to the inner-circle, i.e. the affairs of the Hijra community ranging from settling disputes, identity, spirituality, status assignment to socialization and, in due course if required, punishment. In terms of spirituality and social hierarchy, the Guru is a role model for all Hijra, a character who is recognized in Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic mythology (Humaira, 2005; Sharma, 2000; Reddy, 2005). The Guru in Pakistan is given special status during the performance of Hajj viii and at circumcisions; her genealogy may be traced to Indian mythology. S/he attributes her power to the blessings of various shrines and reciprocates through regular participation in anniversaries, visiting them along with her Hijra (Chelas ix ) to bring life and music to the event. The blessings of these great Babas x brought them prosperity and music, as well as respect as opposed to their ‘being [considered] nothing’ (Shafqat, 1996)

When a Guru lives with Hijra, it means that the dera is run by her. But sometimes more than one Guru may reside in a single dwelling in which case it is usually the one who has the greatest number of Hijra as her chelas, who governs the house as ‘father’. The status of a Guru depends upon the number of chelas s/he has (Reddy, 2005). In special situations such as these, S/he restricts her own practice of not having a regular unpaid Marakh xi (partner) instead looking for a sua xii (temporary hetero partner) who will earn money and elevate her status. Although s/he never overtly suggests it, this is an expected norm of the community. Great numbers of visitors are indicative of the beauty and demand for a Hijra; it enhances the importance of the Guru in the community besides earning income. A Marakh, however, is accepted as a common feature, a common desire that all Hijra (including the Naik and Guru) cherish. A Guru symbolically associates this with the intimacy of the Hijra with normal heterosexual persons: s/he sees the Hijra as an innocent female child; s/he wants to protect her from vulnerability to mishap or, in a more psychological sense of insecurity, fears losing her chela to the normative social structure. The Naik, on the other hand, seeks out sua: the latter will bring regular gifts and articles for daily use to the house thus sharing the economic burden with the Naik. Guru always receives their share of the income but they will never demand for it as is the Hijra's obligation to provide. The two never discuss this matter irrespective of the degree to which their relationship is dependent upon money. The Naik deals with the money directly; his sources include paying customers, collections at weddings and other occasions at which males shower (fresh bank) currency on beautiful Hijra who dance well. The Naik collects the money, distributes a share among the musicians and gives the Hijra a share. A Hijra never asks for money: it is given to her; she is considered to be the most generous of all of these characters, distributing it as a charity; to reciprocate God’s gift of beauty that enabled her to earn so, keeping her due share which will enhance her character and status in the community. S/he (the Hijra) always gives gifts to her male partner and to the Guru; as well, s/he gives the Naik special food that they share together. S/he never discusses sex with any one during a performance; issues such as sex or dealing with law enforcement agencies are the responsibility of the Naik. Compliance with these matters is the hallmark of a good Hijra, who earns her status and duly inherits both wealth and additional status from her Guru (Reddy, 2005). Disobedience, on the other hand, may result in expulsion from the dera by the Naik, the Guru and the community. The most dangerous outcome for a Hijra would be being left to survive in a patriarchal system in which unarguably they have no designated role not under any circumstances.

Sex beneficiaries also have their role to play. Clients visit the Naik to book a Hijra for a dance function; women may visit the Guru or, in some cases the Hijra, to ask them for a special service for a male child, for example. But important among them in terms of regular contributions to the home is the Marakh, for it is he who enjoys the most important (VVIP) status due to the Hijra's association with him. But while he is respected, honored, offered hospitality and enjoyment, it may take him quite a long time to adjust to the community, to learn the language of the Hijra community- a step that a Hijra takes after considerable thought and considerations.

Hijra in Male-Female Interactions: Legitimizing Her Existence through Social Drama

Most of the gender-sex conflict rests upon the concept of role performance. Conflict occurs in the varieties of roles a Hijra performs in the course of her life, i.e. her interaction with different characters at different intersections. For Hijra, the first and most profound role to play is the sisterhood' role in dealing with in-friends, sharing all they have ranging from a distinct language (which they always use when talking to men or among themselves) to using symbolic gestures indicating that they are not male. Irrespective of ethnicity or race, they are a distinct group within their own 'secret' group. The exception is the man, who gains entry via a ritual ceremony of marriage, such as a Marakh. He provides sentimental support and engages in sexual exchange at certain times, an arrangement preferred by the majority of Hijra in the walled city of Bannu, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa Province. They sleep alongside each other on the floor. At night time, one can find - in one dera - six Hijra playing sex- games, performing the desired roles they do not ordinarily share with each other (but which they engage in with their male partners/clients during the day (unpublished data of HIV/AIDS Surveillance, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa Province, Pakistan, 2007). The Hijra has to exhibit feminine body movements when performing her female role, bedeck herself with ornamentation, address herself as 'female' and deal with kinship at her residence (dera). She must be loyal, i.e. a good earning 'daughter' to her mother Guru in order to earn the respect of the community must exercise maximum flexibility when dancing to prove herself the equal of and to be able to compete with any female dancer. S/he must be able to live up to her market value and gain respect through her humble and charitable disposition. S/he must be loyal to her Marakh/Girya (husband) so as to ensure her entrance to the dera, giving him an appropriate amount of time (attention) and not opting to visit a sua when he is in there; and, if their relationship develops, s/he must train him to speak a language that belongs to them alone (Hijra Community). S/he must also confirm to his dress code demands when s/he leaves the

house to go with her marakh for shopping. Reddy (2005), states the case of Sikunderabad, North India where a Hijra must wear the Burqa xiii in public. In Pakistan, s/he must dress as a male, wearing clothing s/he will never use once out of the public gaze. As a sex worker, s/he must satisfy men who visit her for paid sex, engaging in the maximum number of varied sexual acts so that in her inner group s/he will earn a good name as one who performs excellently and makes good money. It is important that word is spread to other men in the community to the effect that sexually s/he is 'more' than a woman. When dealing with women, however, s/he must project herself as 'one of them' in most respects, at the same time maintaining her distinct position as a Hijra and not presenting as a 'woman' simply to earn loyalty and make the acquaintance of other women. S/he must project herself as suitably weak and fragile when dealing with heterosexual men, at weddings or in her role of dancer collecting alms for charities. S/he will project herself as a woman when offering prayers, 'fake' her monthly menstruations, taking medication for pain relief, wearing pads in her underwear to prevent any escape of 'blood', and avoiding all sexual activity xiv . The situation changes markedly, however, when it comes to the performance of the Naik or Guru. They project themselves as masculine characters to the Hijra, with full authority and control demonstrated through group dynamics and various expulsion and inclusion ritual rights. The women consider the Naik to be a saint, more like a divine entity, a form of musicality that women psychologically want to interact with.

The Hijra dynamics discussed above illustrate that gender role for this community is not fixed nor does its sexual entity remain the same. It follows a trajectory through female-male-female that extends to saint at times, with corresponding gender roles. But this is neither conclusion nor climax. The sum of these dynamics is that none of these performances is voluntary: these are compulsions dictated by a social structure dominated by masculine hegemony in which s/he herself is a part and an active participant. While s/he becomes a member of one group at times in order to feel secure in a hegemonic world, s/he in fact opts - at times overtly - for another world, challenging her sex, her gender, even her desires. As Connell (1995) observes, hegemony, subordination and complicity are relations internal to the gender order which, to a Marxist way of thought, deal with conflicts of interest in various groups.

Conclusion: Gender And Sexuality In Conflict: Class, Ethnicity and Religion

Hijras, in everyday lives, practice transaction roles as a distinct, linguistic and ethnic group in their dealing with men. In order to avoid being exposed to fear or threat, they on occasion

present themselves as males, but they risk incurring shame due to their feminine demeanor.

Thus project their distinct identity to satisfy a perceived 'superior' masculinity and avoid the

risk, usually associating themselves with group identities considered inferior in language and

religion in prevailing social hierarchy. Hijra are, by any or all definition/s, relegated to the

lowest rung of the social hierarchy in Pakistan's class system. This is in line with

Pukhtoonwali (the Pukhtoon Code of Honor) in particular, wherein dance and music are

considered the domains of kasabgar (professionals - not landlords, thus by extension not

considered Pukhtoon and ranked low in the socio-cultural and now religious hierarchy).

Furthermore, when it comes to the distribution of crops, which complies with a traditional

system of feudalistic agrarian barter, kasabgar receive the minimum share in return for their

labor (Ahmad, 1980). This psychic status permeates all domains of Pukhtoon relations,

especially among the feudal and illiterate rural-urban populations, who constitute the major

interacting muscular faces with the Hijra.

In brief I will suggest that it is neither the gender role nor the sexual volunteerism that

attributes low status to the Hijra, nor is it the profession of dance that compels them to be

feminine and homosexual. But they are interdependent: they intersect for the obvious reason

of the limited options offered to them by Pakistan's rigid patriarchal system. Hijra are not

deviants of the patriarchy but providing space to those who do not fit in to it ; thus

complementing or facilitating patriarchy-taking it out of any threat or danger may posed

otherwise providing with alternate family with roles clearly dictated by patriarchy.


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End Notes

i A place specifically designed for men (and boys) as living quarters or a retiring area; females are forbidden to enter. Also known as male dormitory but among Pukhtoon ethnic group it is more like a community centre.

ii The term is referred to the home: a family lives in, but specifically it means the bed room of a nuclear family or sitting room for female folk which is usually the retiring room of the eldest female i.e. mother or mother in law.

iii Adopts a 'mothering' role-a male Hijra elder, the spiritual source of the group; source of social legitimacy in family or residential arrangement.

iv An adult person, 'as deviant engaged in the same sex act' is the official approach: this is how he will be described in official documents.

v See pages 31-32, 119-120,122- 135,166, Judith Butler (1999), Gender Trouble

vi A term as replacement of home of patriarchy derived from the concept of temporary arrangement of economic migrant men at urban centre or Hujra to be more cultural in masculine terminology of Pukhtoons. vii Usually a male character new to the household structure: the custodian of the house or owner, he performs

the ‘Father’ role; on behalf of all he bears the brunt of any associated shame and humiliation, and negotiates

with all clients, law enforcement agencies and neighbors, as well as out door activities. The Naik engages in

male activities and usually wears male attire although he walks using flexible body movements and uses a

variety of female ornamentations including nail polish and lipstick.

viii An annual pilgrimage at Makah, a compulsory component of Islam for all Muslims if they can afford the cost

ix A term synonymous for Student in Educationist terminology and Children in patriarchal kinship terminology

x Immortal spirits of revered personalities xi Derived from Mera meaning husband in Pashto: This term is used in most areas of South Asia: a person assuming the role of life partner to a Hijra; Ideally a Guru being custodian of the chastity of hijras may restrict such relationships, functionally for fear of losing money and losing control of a subordinate (Hijra). The term Girya is also used as replacement for Marakh

xii A temporary heterosexual partner, who visits the Hijra for sexual intercourse, has already attended to

payment and other details through the naik. While these characters are mostly acceptable to the Guru, the Hijra avoid talking about their 'clients' in front of the Guru as it is an act of shame to discuss such relations in the presence of one's 'mother'.

xiii Burqa an all-enveloping full-length garment, the only opening of which is the small, elongated 'grill'

through which the female can see. xiv Although was denied by most of the respondents in Bannu. The information was shared by a few Hijra with whom I interacted through an informant, i.e. a Marakh or ‘Gate Keeper’, who proved a helpful source of access into the deeper sphere of group dynamics