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What do hijras do?

Hijras are a distinct community of people in South Asia who identify as neither male nor female. They are often referred to as transgender or third gender, although it’s important to note that these western labels do not fully capture the complexity and diversity of their experiences.

Traditionally, hijras have had a specific role in Indian society – that of performing at auspicious occasions such as weddings and childbirths. They are believed to have a special power to bestow blessings and curses, and are often sought out for their blessings on important occasions. In return, they are given gifts and money.

Thus, hijras have historically been both revered and marginalized by society.

In contemporary times, hijras face a wide range of challenges. Discrimination in education, employment and housing is widespread, and many are forced to resort to begging and sex work for survival. Hijras are also at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections due to marginalization and lack of access to healthcare.

Despite these challenges, there are many hijra-led initiatives that are working towards greater inclusion and empowerment for the community. Hijra-run schools and vocational training programs are helping to improve education and employment outcomes. Some hijras have also become successful activists, fighting for recognition of their rights as citizens and equal protection under the law.

Hijras continue to navigate a complex and evolving landscape, as they negotiate their identities, experiences and aspirations in a society that often fails to fully understand or accept them.

What is the role of hijras?

The role of hijras can be somewhat complex and multifaceted, as it varies depending on the cultural and societal context. In many South Asian societies, hijras are often recognized as a distinct third gender, and they may be regarded with a mix of reverence, fear, and disdain.

One of the most visible roles that hijras often fill is that of professional beggars, as they are expected to bless people and offer good luck in exchange for money. They may also perform at weddings, births, and other important life events, where they sing, dance, and offer blessings to the new couple or child.

Aside from these more traditional roles, hijras may also function as informal community organizers and activists for the rights of sexual and gender minority groups. They may advocate for legal protections, challenge discrimination and violence, and provide support and resources for those who face difficulties due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The role of hijras is complex and varied, and it often reflects the complex social and cultural dynamics around gender and sexuality in South Asian societies. While hijras may face discrimination and marginalization, their unique position also affords them a certain degree of power and influence in their communities.

What is hijra gender roles?

Hijra gender roles refer to the social and cultural roles assigned to individuals who identify as hijra in South Asian countries, particularly in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Hijra can be broadly understood as a Third Gender identity that encompasses transgender individuals, eunuchs, intersex individuals, and people who blur the lines of binary gender.

In South Asia, hijras are often stigmatized and discriminated against, and they have historically been excluded from mainstream society. Despite the challenges they face, hijras have formed their own communities and developed their own cultural practices, including specific gender roles and norms.

One of the central features of hijra gender roles is the performance of femininity. Many hijras dress in traditional women’s clothing, wear makeup and jewelry, and adopt feminine mannerisms. They often perform specific roles in society, such as singing and dancing at weddings and other traditional events.

In this way, hijras are seen as performers of femininity, providing entertainment and bringing blessings to those around them.

Hijras also have a long-standing tradition of guru-chela relationships, where experienced hijras act as mentors and guides to younger members of the community. Chelas (disciples) are expected to be obedient and respectful to their gurus, who in turn provide them with support and guidance in navigating the challenges of hijra life.

Hijras also have their own unique religious practices, including a form of Sufi Islam and a devotion to the goddess Bahuchara Mata. In these traditions, hijras are seen as having a special spiritual power, and they often perform rituals and blessings for others.

Hijra gender roles are complex and multifaceted, shaped by cultural, religious, and social factors. Despite facing discrimination and marginalization, hijras have developed a rich and unique culture that reflects their experiences and identities.

When did hijras start?

The history of hijras dates back to ancient India, where they were known as a third gender, alongside male and female genders. The origin of hijras is not precisely known, but they have existed in Indian society for centuries. It is believed that hijras were initially created to serve in the courts of the Mughal Empire, who utilized them as trusted advisors, guards, and eunuchs.

However, over time, hijras adopted their unique identity and culture, which made them distinct from other genders.

The history of hijras can be traced to various religious texts in India, such as the Kama Sutra, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana. These texts describe the existence of people, known as klibas, who were considered neither male nor female. In the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is also represented as being androgynous, which highlights the importance of gender fluidity and acceptance in Indian society.

In addition to this, hijra communities have their distinct language, culture, and rituals, which are integral to their identity. They celebrate a range of religious festivals such as Holi, Diwali, and Eid, and perform unique rituals, such as castrations and the hijra nirvan ceremony.

In contemporary times, hijras are recognized as a third gender in India, with legal protections and rights provided under the Indian constitution. However, much more needs to be done to end the social stigma and discrimination against the community. hijras have been an important part of Indian society for centuries, and their history is a testament to the diversity and inclusivity of Indian culture.

What role do hijras have in Indian culture?

Hijras have a long and complex history in Indian culture. They are a marginalized group of transgender individuals who have played a significant role in the social, cultural, and religious fabric of Indian society for centuries.

In traditional Indian society, hijras were often seen as social outcasts, ostracized from their families and communities due to their gender identity or expression. However, despite facing discrimination and marginalization, hijras have continued to play important roles in Indian culture, particularly in the areas of religion and entertainment.

Many hijras are involved in religious practices, particularly in Hinduism, where they often serve as temple dancers and perform rituals related to the goddess Bahuchara Mata. They are believed to have the power to bless or curse individuals, and are often called upon to perform blessings at weddings and other ceremonies.

In addition to their religious roles, hijras are also known for their involvement in entertainment, particularly in the form of dance performances. Hijra dance groups are a common sight at weddings and other celebrations, and their performances are often seen as bringing good luck and prosperity to the event.

Despite their cultural significance, hijras continue to face discrimination and marginalization in India. Many hijras are forced to make a living through begging, due to limited employment opportunities, and they are often subject to violence and abuse.

However, in recent years, there have been efforts to promote the rights and inclusion of hijras in Indian society. In 2014, the Indian Supreme Court recognized hijras as a third gender, and the government has introduced a number of programs to provide education, employment, and healthcare to transgender individuals.

While hijras have faced significant challenges in Indian society, their cultural significance and contributions are undeniable. Through their involvement in religion and entertainment, they have played an important role in shaping the cultural fabric of India, and are a testament to the resilience and strength of the transgender community.

Why do eunuchs clap?

The practice of eunuchs clapping dates back to ancient times and has been a significant part of their culture and tradition. Eunuchs, also known as hijras in South Asia, are individuals who have been castrated before puberty, typically for religious or cultural reasons. In some societies, hijras may also have been castrated to serve as palace guards, servants, or singers.

The exact reason why eunuchs clap is not entirely clear. Still, it is believed that the practice has religious, cultural, and social significance. In Hindu mythology, the clap is considered to be the sound of creation, and some believe that eunuchs’ claps can bring good fortune and prosperity. Clapping is also used as a form of worship in some Hindu temples, where hijras are revered as sacred beings.

Apart from its religious significance, eunuchs clapping also has cultural and social importance. In many South Asian societies, hijras are seen as a third gender, neither male nor female, and are often marginalized and discriminated against. Clapping is one way for hijras to gain attention and recognition in society.

During celebrations and festivals, eunuchs often perform dances and clap around to collect money from the crowd. This practice of eunuchs clapping is believed to bring joy and happiness to the people around them and is welcomed at weddings, childbirths, and other events.

Furthermore, eunuchs use clapping as a form of communication amongst them. Since they are not allowed to have children, eunuchs often have an unofficial family system, where one hijra takes on a motherly or sisterly role, and others become her children or sisters. When hijras meet, they often clap as a sign of recognition, respect, and greeting.

In this context, clapping is a way for eunuchs to connect and establish relationships.

The practice of eunuchs clapping has religious, cultural, and social significance. It is a way for hijras to express their identity, connect with each other, and gain acceptance in society. As such, eunuchs clapping is an essential aspect of their tradition and culture.

How do hijras earn their living?

Hijras, also known as eunuchs or transgender individuals, face significant discrimination and marginalization in Indian society. As a result, finding stable employment can be a challenge for many hijras. However, there are several professions and income-generating activities that some hijras have pursued to earn a living.

Traditionally, hijras have often relied on begging as a means of survival. In India, hijras have been recognized as a third gender since 2014, and they are often seen as religious figures who can offer blessings and curses. As a result, some people believe that giving money or gifts to hijras can bring good luck or protect them from harm.

Some hijras also attend weddings and other celebrations to perform dances and collect money from attendees.

In addition to begging, some hijras have found employment in the beauty and fashion industry. Hijras are known for their expertise in makeup and hairstyling, and many work as beauticians in salons or as freelance makeup artists. They also participate in fashion shows and events, showcasing traditional Indian attire.

Another area where hijras are finding employment is in providing social services. Many hijras work for NGOs and government agencies, providing education and awareness programs around HIV/AIDS prevention and other public health issues. They also work as counselors for LGBTQ individuals, helping them navigate the challenges of coming out and living as queer in Indian society.

While hijras face many obstacles to employment and economic stability, some are finding creative ways to earn a living and contribute to their communities. However, more needs to be done to address the systemic discrimination and exclusion faced by hijras in India and ensure that they have access to the same opportunities as other citizens.

What is the position of Hijra in the Indian community?

The position of Hijra in the Indian community has been historically complex and multifaceted. Hijras are a community of transgender individuals who have been a part of Indian society for centuries. They have a distinct identity and culture, and are recognized as a third gender in Indian law.

Despite their recognized status, Hijras have often faced discrimination, marginalization, and violence. They are often stigmatized and excluded from mainstream society, leading many of them to live in isolated and impoverished communities. Many Hijras are forced to resort to begging or sex work to earn a living, which further reinforces their social exclusion.

Despite these challenges, Hijras have played an important role in Indian society. They have a rich cultural and spiritual tradition, and are considered to have special powers of blessing and curse. In many parts of India, they are invited to bless newborns, newlyweds, and other auspicious occasions.

They also play an important role in the hijra gharana or hijra families, which are tightly knit social networks that provide support and protection for their members.

In recent years, there have been significant efforts to improve the position of Hijras in Indian society. The Indian government has taken steps to recognize their legal rights and protect them from discrimination. In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognized transgender individuals as a third gender and directed the government to provide them with legal protections and affirmative action benefits.

Despite these efforts, however, the position of Hijras in Indian society remains precarious. Many still face discrimination, violence, and economic exclusion. There is a need for continued advocacy and support to ensure that the rights and dignity of Hijras are fully recognized and respected in Indian society.

What is the history of hijra community in India?

The hijra community, also known as eunuchs or transgender people, has a long and complex history in India. The term “hijra” is derived from the Arabic word for “migration” or “journey,” which refers to the idea of a transition or transformation from one gender identity to another.

The hijra community has existed in India for thousands of years and is mentioned in ancient Hindu texts, such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In these texts, hijras were often regarded as sacred and were said to possess special powers to bless or curse others. They were also frequently employed by royalty for their abilities in dance, music, and other performing arts.

During the Mughal era in India (16th-19th centuries), hijras became more marginalized and were often associated with prostitution and begging. However, they also continued to play an important role in ceremonies and festivals, such as weddings and childbirth. They also performed a social function as mediators and arbitrators in disputes and conflicts.

In modern times, the hijra community has faced discrimination and persecution, both from the state and from society at large. In 1871, the British colonial government criminalized hijras under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which made same-sex relations and certain forms of gender expression illegal.

This law remained in effect until 2018 when it was finally struck down by the Indian Supreme Court.

Despite legal victories, hijras continue to face social stigma, discrimination, and violence in contemporary India. Many are forced to resort to sex work, begging or other forms of informal employment due to a lack of formal job opportunities. The community still faces significant health challenges, particularly with regard to HIV/AIDS transmission and access to healthcare.

However, there has also been growing awareness and activism around the rights of hijras in recent years. In 2014, the Indian government officially recognized hijras as a “third gender” and granted them legal recognition and protections. Hijra activists have also organized protests and public demonstrations to raise awareness about their issues and advocate for legal and social reforms.

The history of the hijra community in India is one of both resilience and adversity. While the community has faced significant challenges throughout history, its members have also played important cultural and social roles and have demonstrated remarkable strength and resilience in the face of discrimination and marginalization.

Today, the community continues to face many challenges, but there is also growing hope and optimism for a more inclusive and accepting future.

What is the difference between hijra and man?

Hijra and man are two terms that refer to different gender identities or expressions. Hijra is an umbrella term used in South Asia to describe transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals who have a long-standing cultural and religious history in the region. In contrast, man refers to an individual who identifies as male and typically aligns with the male gender role and societal expectations associated with masculinity.

One of the main differences between hijra and man is that hijra is a more fluid and inclusive term that encompasses a range of gender identities and expressions that do not fit neatly into the male or female binary. Hijras may have physical characteristics that are typically associated with both male and female genders or may identify as neither male nor female.

They often form their own communities and have unique cultural practices and traditions that value their gender identity and expression.

In contrast, being a man typically involves aligning with socially constructed ideals of masculinity, such as being strong, dominant, and assertive. Men typically present themselves in a way that reinforces these gender expectations, such as through their clothing, behavior, and demeanor. Men also have the privilege of being part of a dominant group in society, which affords them certain advantages and opportunities.

Another important difference between hijra and man is the way they are perceived and treated in society. Hijras have historically faced discrimination, violence, and exclusion due to their gender identity and expression. They also have limited access to education and formal employment opportunities, which can lead to poverty and marginalization.

On the other hand, men often hold positions of power and enjoy greater social, economic, and political privilege.

Hijra and man are two distinct gender identities or expressions that have unique cultural, social, and historical contexts. While hijras challenge traditional gender norms and binaries, men typically uphold and reinforce them. The difference between these two identities highlights the complexity of gender and the need for greater acceptance and understanding of diverse gender identities and expressions.

Are hijras accepted in India?

Hijras, also referred to as third gender or transgender people, have a long history in India. They are considered to be a marginalized community that has faced discrimination and social ostracization for centuries. Traditionally, hijras have been known to be an integral part of Indian culture and have been involved in various religious and social ceremonies.

However, the acceptance of hijras in India largely remains a matter of debate.

On the one hand, there are several examples of hijras being discriminated against and facing social exclusion. For instance, hijras often face employment discrimination and are limited in their access to education and healthcare. In some parts of India, hijras are even subject to violence and harassment because of their gender identity.

On the other hand, there have been some efforts towards the recognition and acceptance of hijras in India. In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognized transgender people as a third gender and granted them legal rights and protections under the Indian constitution. This decision was seen as a significant step towards addressing the issues faced by the Indian transgender community, including hijras.

Since then, many state and local governments have also taken steps to ensure the rights and welfare of the transgender community.

There has also been a growing awareness and support for the Hijra community in recent years. Several organizations and individuals have taken up the cause of the Hijra community and raised awareness about their rights and issues. In cities like Mumbai and Delhi, hijras have formed their own organizations and are working for their social and economic upliftment.

However, it is essential to note that the acceptance of hijras in India is not uniform. While some sections of the society are supportive, others continue to hold traditional views and are opposed to it. Religion and cultural beliefs also play a significant role in shaping the attitudes towards the Hijra community.

Therefore, there is still a long way to go before hijras can be fully accepted and integrated into Indian society. Nevertheless, recent developments indicate that there is a growing recognition of the contribution that hijras can make to the Indian society, and efforts are being made to create a more inclusive environment for them.

How many types of hijras are there?

Hijras are a part of the South Asian transgender community, and are believed to possess a special spiritual power. They are often discriminated against and marginalized in society, and have a long and complex history in the region.

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact number of types of hijras, as the term can be used to describe a range of gender non-conforming individuals in South Asia. However, in general, there are three broad categories of hijras:

1. Traditional hijras – These individuals are typically born male and identify as female, but their gender goes beyond simplistic binary categories. They may change their physical appearance to look more feminine, and may undergo hormone therapy or other medical treatments to enhance their femininity.

Traditional hijras often live in close-knit communities, and may beg or perform at weddings and other social events to make a living.

2. Aravani hijras – The term “aravani” is specific to hijras in southern India, and these individuals are considered to be a distinct sub-group within the wider hijra community. Aravanis are often associated with the worship of the South Indian goddess Mariamman, and may participate in elaborate religious rituals and festivals.

They also often live in close-knit communities, and may engage in sex work or begging to sustain themselves.

3. Jogappa hijras – Jogappa is a term used to describe a sub-group of hijras in Karnataka, India. These individuals are born male and identify as female, and are known for their distinct style of dress and makeup. Jogappas are often associated with the worship of the Hindu goddess Yellama, and may participate in religious festivals and rituals.

They are also often involved in sex work.

It’s important to note that these categories are not fixed, and there is significant overlap between them. The experience of being a hijra can also vary widely depending on individual identity, region, and cultural context. Despite the challenges faced by hijras in South Asia, they continue to assert their identities and communities through activism, art, and cultural practices.

Are hijras biologically male?

Hijras are a gender identity from South Asia which comprises people who do not identify themselves strictly as male nor female. Their gender identity lies in between or outside of the male-female binary, and are often regarded as a third gender.

When it comes to biological sex, hijras are individuals who may have been born with male genitalia, but do not completely identify either as male or female. Many of them undergo castration, a process of surgical removal of the testicles, as a rite of passage and a symbol of their identity. This has resulted in many people referring to hijras as ‘eunuchs’ in the past, although the term is now considered outdated and disrespectful by many.

It is important to note that the concept of ‘biological sex’ is not as rigid as traditionally believed. People who are intersex or transgender have shown us that our understanding of biological sex can sometimes be limiting. Hormones and chromosomes play a critical role in determining biological sex, but sometimes, there can be variances and complexities that are not easily categorized.

Hijras are individuals whose idea of gender identity does not strictly conform to either male or female. While they may have been born with male genitalia, many of them undergo castration as part of their cultural tradition and identity. hijras’ gender classification transcends narrowly defined biological sex categories, and therefore their experiences extend beyond binary gender definitions.

Are hijras asexual?

Hijras, a community found in South Asia, have been traditionally seen as a third gender, often associated with transgenderism or intersexuality. However, it is important to note that hijra identity is complex and cannot be defined by a single term or category.

When it comes to their sexuality, hijras are not necessarily asexual, as some members of the community identify as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Hijras may have sexual relationships with men or women, and some even have families and children. The problem lies in the way society perceives hijras and their sexuality, often reducing them to a stereotype of emasculated individuals who have no sexual desires or fulfilling romantic relationships.

It is important to recognize that the hijra community is a diverse group and cannot be generalized in terms of their sexual identities or experiences. The stigma and discrimination faced by hijras often lead to social exclusion, limiting their opportunities to explore their own sexuality and establish fulfilling relationships.

Hijras are often denied access to education, employment, and healthcare, which negatively impacts their lives and relationships, making it difficult for them to establish and express their sexual identities.

Hijras are not asexual as a community, but it is important to understand and respect the complexity of their identity, gender expression, and sexuality. Supporting the hijra community, promoting their rights, and challenging the stigmatization they face is crucial in creating a more inclusive and accepting society.

What is a Chakka?

A Chakka is a term that is primarily used in Indian cuisine to refer to the flesh of the jackfruit fruit that is used in cooking. The jackfruit is a tropical fruit that grows in many parts of Asia, including India, and it is commonly eaten in its ripe or unripe form.

In its ripe form, the jackfruit has a sweet and fruity taste and is often used in desserts and sweet dishes. However, in its unripe form, the jackfruit has a starchy and fibrous texture that is often compared to meat, which makes it an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian and vegan dishes.

The Chakka is the name given specifically to the flesh of the unripe jackfruit, which is often cooked to resemble meat in dishes such as curries, stews, and stir-fries. It is a popular ingredient in many regional Indian cuisines, especially in southern India, where it is known as the “Kathal” and is widely used in vegetarian and vegan diets.

The Chakka is an excellent source of fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and iron. It is also low in calories and fat, which makes it an excellent ingredient for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet.

The Chakka is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that has been an integral part of Indian cuisine for centuries. Its popularity is only growing as more people adopt vegetarian and vegan diets or seek out healthier alternatives to traditional meat-based dishes.


  1. Hijra (South Asia) – Wikipedia
  2. The Peculiar Position of India’s Third Gender
  3. A Brief History Of Hijra, India’s Third Gender – Culture Trip
  4. India’s Third Gender Rises Again –
  5. Chapter 5: Understanding Caste and Kinship within Hijras, a …