The Hijras of India

897 words 4 pages
Neither Man Nor Woman: The Hijras of India

In our culture, it is for us a belief and an evidence tha the biological term and gender term of “sex” refers for two sexes, males and females. Throught this book Neither Man Nor Woman by Serena Nanda, focused on the hijras of India, a community of outside members, I will examine how hijras are categorized as a third sex group and how homosexuality and transexuality takes place in their community with the importance for a hijras of having a husband. Second, I will analyze the roles of the hijras in their society through the importance of those powerful rituals. Third topic that I will discuss will be how prostitution is part of their economical living and how a Guru gains power and authority
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Another essential economical resource for the community that Hijra consider important is prostitution. It is important to note that Hijra’s prostitution is a form of secure for the family, a choice made because rituals and dance do not offer enough to contribute to a better living. While prostitution is not positively viewed by the population as positive, Sushila, a prostitute Hijra, argues that it for her better than begging on the street for alms, as it is not considered a cultural tradition in areas like Bombay. Gurus, considered to be wise, with intellectual capacity and a strong sense of respect and responsibility are admired by others and in that way get a form of power and authority among the Hijra; in other words a guru is a form of a manager. Other Hijra works for a guru, and make most of their money with a percentage taken from prostitution and rituals dance contribution. Nanda clearly states that a guru requires specific skills to lead a community: “Becoming a guru requires initiative, assertiveness, careful management of one’s financial resources, and a disposition to exploit the labor of others.”(Nanda)
In conclusion, those topics could help better understanding on how a community very different from the western society is viewed and respected among others. Hijras are considered a “third sex” with an important role in the Indian society through rituals. Creating economical security for the family also includes the prostitution


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