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To give birth to a hermaphrodite is still considered by simple Indians to be one of the most terrible curses than can befall a woman.
At the same time the blessing of a hijra is considered to be unusually potent.
It can make a barren woman fertile.
It can scare off malevolent djinns.
It can nullify the evil eye.
In the streets hijras are jeered at, sometimes even pelted with rubbish.
Yet at a poor family’s most crucial and most public celebrations, at a marriage or at the birth of a male child, the absence of a hijra would almost invalidate the whole ceremony.
(From City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple – 1993)
This house is in a village nearby Varanasi (Benaras) where leaves a Hijra community.
Sunita, the guru, is Muslim and Shushila who wears a yellow sari was born in a Hindu family.
Spirituality has been overpowering religion, they can’t have children but they take care of most of the children of the village.
Hijras are physiological males who have feminine gender identity, women’s clothing and other feminine gender roles.
They have a long recorded history in the Indian subcontinent, from the antiquity, as suggested by the Kama Sutra period onwards.
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