Friday, August 1, 2008

The HIJRA

SAIMA



The latest trend in Karachi is to dress up as a Transvestite. This adds colour and variety to the begging routine, it seems even the normal (normal as in not being born to the calling of being a eunuch/hijra) guys dress up as transvestites as its more lucrative than the missing limb, hanging baby on hip and holding on to two more, blind man with cup singing beggar.

Our language is comprised of multiple languages, and once being part of the rich texture of the sub continent, our food, culture, ethnicity all originate from thence.

The role of the Transvestite in our culture is thus. They are born that way because they were cursed by nature. The eunuch was used,in the old days "to serve and protect"(lol) the women of the harem.They couldn't get up to any shenanigans with the ladies themselves, being sexless by birth.
In ancient China, young boys were selected and then to de-gender them, they would have green bamboo pierced into their genitalia. The bamboo would prevent any infection and deprive them of their manhood.
Their sole purposewas to look after the concubines, and report all the comings and goings in the Harem.

In our culture at weddings, and the birth of a child, by tradition the "hijra" or transvestite was invited to dance at such gatherings. People would shower money on them and this would be their income. The belief was that their presence would ward off any evil eye, or bad events,incidents that could befall the newly weds or new born.

I have seen Saima, on previous occasions, over the years. As much as I would have loved to sit and ask her so many things. I was unable to do more than take a few pictures.She blessed me, my husband, children, and said the mandatory things in her husky raspy voice and I more out of concern than belief handed her some money.

8 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever come across one, or at least I don't remember coming across one...you find them a lot in Bombay but the last time I was there the gulf was still recovering from the first gulf war!!!
    So don't know how I would react though I have heard my mom say that she usually does give them some money...again more out of concern than belief...so I guess I'll be the same...maybe!!!

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  2. I haven't seen/met a Transvestite, until I moved to NYC. I've seen a few Afican American Transvestites in this city. Some of 'em you can't tell apart from a woman.

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  3. My mom owned a restaurant, and when I was about 12 or so, I saw my first transvestites. They came in very late, at night for fried chicken. It was a black neighborhood, and they would walk in 3 inch heels and carry parasols. I think I just stared at them the whole time, while my mom slapped me upside the head, and told me to "quit staring" in Greek. I got over it as I got older, but friends from Greece (male) who would visit the States thought they were quite voluptuous. (Hahahaha) One found out otherwise, the hard way, so-to-speak.

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  4. The least you could've done was offer it a decent coloured lipstick & advice on how much kohl to use.....

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  5. OOh stained.
    The beauties I have across in the far east. Wxquisite exotic creatures.
    Half the time its impossible to even tell that they are male.
    Ofcourse there they are called "ladyboys".
    Our desi ones are more caricatures, and a entity unto themselves.
    Quite entertaining really, esp their gestures and mannerisms.

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  6. @ vagabond
    LMFAO @ the image of you gawking and your mamma doing the whole greek lady thing.
    But tell tell the story of the Greek who found out the hard way that his lady was not all that he quite thought she would be.
    I "LOIKE", that word. Voloptous. Its quite nice on the mouth and the images it conjures up.

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  7. LOL @ Jayne.
    You nutter. She could probably teach me a thing or two on how to walk the walk.

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  8. yea, cos its far worse to encounter a hijra's curse than a normal beggar's curse for not handing over the dough...

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