By Izza Khalid
One of the most rising concealed issues in our society nowadays is that of eunuchs. Some refer to them in the typical term, ‘Khusra’, or a more crude term, ‘Hijra’.
Although they are not acknowledged in our society like they should be, they are forced into a profession such as prostitution, on the mere fact that they are not regarded as either gender, but are somewhere in the middle and because of their sad fate, to be born in a society which will not only ridicule such a being, but in fact use and abuse its mere existence, and take away any right that they ought to have.
The concept of eunuchs has been developed since ever on the traces of historical evidence. However, now we can observe their presence in our country as well. Although, they are instituted in a vast number and majority in India, many of them now exist in the poor places of Pakistan. They are considered as appalling people and not really valued by the populace and there are many incidents, which demonstrate or depict such discrimination and oppression against them.
Clapping and gesturing in a vulgar fashion, you find eunuchs present on traffic signals, begging for money, or on the doorstep of a house where a child is born, and the most common of all, they interrupt in the celebrations of a wedding, so they can be given money to go away.
According 70-year-old Ghafoor, he long, a guru of their number, acclaims that they have their own jargon and sign language, making certain to keep their sacrament and customs a closely fortified hush-hush. “If you try to peep into their private lives you wouldn’t get far beyond hearsay, rumor and contradictory statements,” he says. “But the smiles and big grins hide a thousand bitter-sweet tales.
It is sad, that healthy working human beings are forced to make these customs for a way of living, even though they can contribute towards our economy just like any other healthy working person.
When a eunuch is born in a family, the entire gang of eunuchs shows up to retrieve that child, as it is an addition to the amount of people who can earn in the entire gang. Whether parents supply the child depends on their monetary situation. If they are prosperous and want to keep hold of the child, they will disburse off the gang. Nevertheless, if they are underprivileged, they will be only too relieved to alleviate their encumber of sustaining an extra child, making the eunuchs assure to take care of the child sound, and organizing regular meetings. One guru says “Ninety percent of parents of such children of poor or middle classes give us their babies because they are unable to support them, or can’t stand the sneers of their relations.” Moreover, he applauses “But rich parents usually raise their sexually impotent children in a normal fashion and give them education. Many such children go on to become high-ranking government officials or climb the ladder of success in private jobs.”
Eunuchs were in the past castrated at birth and approved a favored rank in the court of the Indian subcontinent’s Mughal empire but now Pakistan’s eunuch community comprises of hermaphrodites, transsexuals, transvestites and homosexuals.
Abandoned by their embarrassed families when they strike their teens, eunuchs end up living jointly in communities led by a guru who proceeds as a leader and counselor but most often as a pimp.
However, after meeting most of them and asking them this one simple question as to why they were living a life of prostitution in the red light district of the city, they answered they have nowhere else to go, they are only accepted by other eunuch gangs, to be in which, they have to work and earn money, and since no one else will hire them, they stoop to the level of begging, dancing, and selling sex for money. The question is not what they can do, it’s a simple idea of what every eunuch should adhere to, and live like because the society thinks they are not worthy to be good workers, because of their sex.
Until recently, they were denied the right to have identity cards, as they are not either of the gender, but Almas Bobby who works as the Head of Hijra’s and owns many organizations and welfares for such gender is himself one of them. He has helped muster his fellow eunuchs in recent years to campaign for their rights. Manifestations adjacent to rape and extortion by the police have strained a lot of concentration in the Pakistani press. Efforts have been directed to accomplish this goal. Likewise, Lawyer Mohammad Aslam Khaki cased the appeal for eunuchs’ rights at the Supreme Court, which last month structured a third gender feature on national identity cards. The judge also commanded more help for eunuchs in receiving their contribution under inheritance laws as well as enhanced defense from police harassment.
Eunuchs have been emerged in the society as a matter of ignorance. Their families and relatives choose to disown some of them and so they tend to indulge themselves in activities as such, offering money so they can make a way of life. All of these factors depict that the eunuchs have been deprived off their rights and how they have been assaulted. Recently, the Indo-Asian News Service, updated on the 31st January, 2011 in Islamabad reported the rape case of three eunuchs’s who had gone to perform at a wedding by armed men as accounted by the police. The incident took place in Dera Ghazi Khan where the three eunuchs went to chip in the wedding. “We had been invited for a dance performance and we arrived at the function together sometime in the evening,” the Express Tribune quoted one of the rape victims as saying.
Some eunuchs which are born in middle class families, and whose parents can afford to give them a good education and raise them as normal children, get them married off to women as well, do not realize that they never settle in those marriages, and one such case was found in the red light district of Lahore, where the particular eunuch said that he could not say no to his parents because he loved them, but was not faithful to his wife, and unhappy in his marriage, he came here every night, and indulged in the customs, like the rest of the eunuchs.
After asking him, why he came here to begin with, he stated that this is where he really truly belonged and felt at home.
The treatment given to eunuch’s is uncalled for, and the customs we laugh at, and ridicule with all our might, are created indirectly, by us, who cannot accept a person who is nor here, nor there in gender, and so create discrimination and prejudice with a being, who may be as bad or as good as the next person, but is never given a chance to prove it.
Some of them were questioned, were helped, were given the chance to tell their stories, to rise above the disgust of the life they lead and still try to live life normally, but what about the one’s who remain unattended in a large number? Who belong to small or deprived families? Whose parents have enforced them into this to earn for them? Do all of them obtain identification? No, it is just a few in the lot and the afflictions of the rest carry on.
It is not just upto eunuchs to fight for their rights, but it is also upto each individual to regard them as human beings worthy like any other human being, and to not ridicule or mock them, but to give them a chance, so with acceptance in society they can no longer be destitute and poor, but be educated and worthy to work, and leave the customs behind them, and it is every person’s responsibility to strive for change where it is needed, for the first step, always starts with us.