A life of Bravery

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“Nothing’s more important than having the bravery to live your life”.
(“Daily Inspiration” by Robin Sharma)

This is a portrait of Sunita which I took a few days ago inside her house in a little city located nearby Varanasi (Benaras) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Sunita thinks that she is around 65 years old but she is sure that she joined an hijra community when she was 12.
She was born in a poor Muslim family from the state of Bihar.
As she was still very young she understood that being an hermaphrodite wouldn’t allow her to live a life like ordinary people, she wasn’t a boy neither a girl.
So she happily decided to become an hijra, it was her will then and she has been learning from a guru (teacher) how to perform for weddings and new born babies.
Today she became a guru herself and she introduced me to Shushila, an Hindu hijra who stays at her side and who will become the guru when she dies.
It is nice to see that in this community Muslims and Hindus are living together and respecting their beliefs, their religion.
They are also called to any Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Jain family’s functions in the city, and even Christians call them for Christmas.
A few months back Sunita went to Mecca, on the pictures she showed me she shaved her hair and dressed like any male pilgrim.
She saved money all her life in order to stay there for two months, she says that she is not the same anymore, she feels that she is closer to God.
It was the only moment in her life when she had to act like a man.

While I was leaving her house she walked with me for a while along the railways, she told me that she is respected there and that she is happy with her life.
She insisted, “Tell everyone I am happy” and she gave me her blessings.
Few people are like Sunita, she had the bravery to live her life…

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