The third gender the hijra sociology essay

Hindu In this paper, I explore the culture of the Hijras to learn how an outcast group that is looked down up on still has its role in traditional society. The Hijras are a transgender social group who are located amongst southern and mid-eastern Asia. They are also considered performers for special occasions in different societies.

The third gender the hijra sociology essay

Get Full Essay Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues. Probably the best-known are the hijras of northern India.


The politically correct term to use is kinnar. Another acceptable term is mukhanni. An offensive term for hijra is chakka.

In English, the equivalent is eunuch though this term is not precise since the majority of hijras no longer undergoes castration. Across India, it is known by other equivalent terms as the sub-continent is linguistically diverse. Differences also lie in the deities that are worshipped as well as in its practice.

There is also the jogappa of South India who are devotees of the goddess Yellamma-devi, a popular Hindu deity of Durga. They are more of transvestites. Both the jogappas and the devadasis serve as dancers and courtesans.

The sakhi-bekhis are few in number and can be found in normally in Bengal. They worship Sri Radha, the companion of Lord Krishna and typically dress as females to support the notion that they are girlfriends of Krishna.

A Kothi is different from hijra as the former are men or boys who take on the feminine role in sex with men and do not belong to a community.

The hijra is the only sect that practices castration.

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Hijras are devotees of the goddess Bahuchara Mata, the mother goddess worshipped all over India. In her name, as vehicles of her power to give blessings, the hijra traditionally earn their living by receiving alms and performing at weddings, at temple festivals, and at homes where a child, especially a male, has been born.

The dharma religious obligation of the hijra is emasculation, and the term eunuch is the most frequent translation of the word hijra. Connected to the obligation to undergo emasculation for those who are not born intersexed is the hijra claim that they are other-worldly people.

Impotent as men, and unable to reproduce as women, the hijra are like ascetics sanyasi in their separation from normal family life samsara and in their dependence on alms for their livelihood. According to Serna Nanda, this ascetic ideal links the hijra to their goddess and to other figures in the Indian religious tradition, such as Arjun, hero of the Hindu epic Mahabharata and through him Shiva; hijras also identify with Krishna and Ram avatars, or incarnations, of Vishnu.

Given that across India, hijras come in different forms and are called by different names, it is apparent that gender transgressions are widely common and tolerated. Ramaswami Mahalingam made a study of the aravanis and noted the following: The cultural construction of gender in India differs from gender concepts in the United States.

For instance, Feinman found that Americans tolerate feminine gender role transgressions but not masculine gender role transgressions. The fluidity of gender identity has apparently been granted for women but not for men. Male identity is essential and associated with power, and the male gender transgression in the United States is associated with loss of status, whereas in India male gender transgression is viewed as a male prerogative Trawick, In Indian culture, the belief in goddess worship is linked to an essential representation of female identity as pure, strong, and powerful.

Evidence from Indian folklore and mythology also suggests that female identity is seen as the core essence of gender, from which male identity emerges. Instances of gender transformation are abundant in cultural and religious myths. In such popular representations, typically a male becomes a female As mentioned, hijras and other transgender Hindus commonly identify with and worship the various deities connected with gender diversity as related in the Hindu texts including the Vedas and Upanishads.

Other major scriptures referred to is the epic Mahabharata and the treatise excerpt, Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana.

The third sex or nature is analyzed in the Kama-sutra, another sacred text which emphasizes pleasure as the aim of intercourse.

It provides a detailed description not necessarily its approval of oral sex between men, and also refers to long-term unions between men qtd in Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association Hijras usually belong in a community of five to twenty individuals who become their surrogate and extended family.

They are organized according to seniority with a guru seniors and chelas juniors who are committed to loyalty and obedience to the guru.

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The traditional way for hijras to earn their living is by showering blessings after the wedding when the bride has been taken to the house of the groom.

When a child is born, the hijras are called to the house or they can also just show up as they are merely practicing their prerogative of giving blessings for the fertility and prosperity of the child and the family.Education Inequality and Global Justice for the Third Gender.

Hijras in India - Alpona Halder - Term Paper - Women Studies / Gender Studies - Publish your bachelor's or master's thesis, dissertation, term paper or essay.

• Describing third gender and linking it to the hijras being consider a third gender? following the contributions to indian sociology by Agrawal • Identify who the Hijra’s are??follow the same way as “Research Paper by Sonya Hahm. The ‘hijras’ are generally considered to constitute a ‘third gender’, neither male nor female.

Even in their own narratives, the hijras view themselves not simply as ‘neither man nor woman’, as the title of Nanda’s() ethnography on the hijras suggests, but also as deficient in terms of masculinity and not completely feminine. In India, the Supreme Court in April recognized hijra and transgender people as a ‘third gender’ in law.

[17] [18] [19] Nepal, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have all legally recognized the existence of a third gender, including on passports and other official documents.

The third gender the hijra sociology essay

Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term used to describe people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have "a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one's sex".

It is the opposite of the term transgender.. Related terms . The Hijras believed that dual gender figures were more powerful than other identifications. They do not classify themselves as men or women, but a third-gender.

They are also referred to as eunuchs, which means castrated men.

Jill Peters' 'Third Gender' Photography Series Explores India's Hijras | HuffPost