New Delhi, September 25, 2017: Stories centered around hijras, kinners, or Eunuchs are always a matter of curiosity, since we hardly know anything about them except the superficial perception we have or had when we see them. We come across a number of myths, anecdotes about the third gender of India, but you’ll be startled to know certain facts about them that you were never aware of!
Let’s take a look at 10 astonishing facts about hijras, or the third gender of India:
- Their origin dates back to the ancient times: Kinners or Hijaras, as they are called, have existed since long. They have been mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata and in Islam where they served in the harems of the Mughals.
2. What did they do for living, in older times: Initially, they earned their bread by serving women of wealthy families. They would do their chores and even shopping for them. They also served as the guards of these women.
3. Ever wondered how a new Eunuch is created?: The name given to the ceremony when a new Eunuch is born, is Nirvana. The ceremony includes the process of emasculation, in which the penis and testicles of the physiological male is removed. The process, as they say, turns the impotent male, into a potent Eunuch.
4. Their cremation is a very private affair: Their cremation is done in the regular way, however, involves very few close people. They are believed to carry out the rituals at night.
5. They can foretell future: Eunuch gurus are believed to have been blessed with the quality of clairvoyance. They can perceive events in the future. It is also believed that they are even able to foresee their death.
6. They pray for forgiveness when they happen to foresee their death: They consider their birth as a Eunuch, the result of their sins, that’s why they pray for forgiveness so they are not born as a Eunuch in their next birth.
7. Dying Eunuch is considered ‘God-like‘: Other kinners on hearing the news of an Eunuch being on deathbed, come from different places, seeking the blessings of the dying Eunuch.
8. Hijras worship the Ardhanarishvara form of Lord shiva: The famous Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva, in which half of the God is a woman indicates Shiva as united with his female creative power, shakti. Hijras worship lord Shiva, since they can closely identify themselves with the god.
9. The annual festival of hijras at Koovagam: Koovagam is a small village located 200 miles south of Madras. It is here that the annual festival of Eunuch takes place. On the occasion of Chitrai Purnima, Kinners experience the ceremony of marriage which is then, followed by widowhood.
10. The legend of Bahuchara Mata: Bahuchara Mata, an incarnation of Maa Durga, according to the tales, was married to a man who would run into the woods and act like a woman. Angered with this, one day she cursed him to become an Eunuch. They pray Bahuchara Mata for forgiveness so they would be born with a clear gender in their next birth.
-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha