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Not a happy time for them


By Rajan Walia, Friday, November 19, 2010
Times News Network


Chandgarh: As many as 21 % eunuchs from the tricity and the neighbouring areas of Kalka and Kharar have been found to be suffering from the HIV.


These startling facts have been discovered during an extensive survey, done jointly by a group of four NGOs on at least 100 eunuchs residing in the deras of their masters in these areas. The surveyors, during their close interaction with these eunuchs, were shocked to find out that lack of very little knowledge on HIV/AIDS and other social-legal issues related to them and their forced entry into the prostitution have been the main causes behind this. Sent to various hotels and guest-houses to indulge in the anal sex with their rich and influential clients, these unaware eunuchs rarely use condoms for the safe sex, finds out the survey.


While disclosing this vital information to The Times of India, an AIDS-activist, Avnish Jolly told that during their study on the lives of eunuchs, they were surprised to know that though about 50 % of them were graduates, they were not allowed to move out on their own out of the deras concerned." Many of them told us that the rich and influential dera-heads of their clan often locked them in a room after they returned from their usual "dancing-and--festival-related rituals."  Our earned amount is taken by these big heads and then we are forced into a closed room and not allowed to move out till the further assignment," revealed eunuchs to the surveyors.


It was highly surprising for the teams of surveyors to discover that as many as 25 % of the interviewed eunuchs had been forced to enter in the prostitution by their so-called dera-masters. " They were taken to some illusive hotels and guest-houses on the regular basis to get indulged in the prostition with their rich and influential clients. Many of them told us that they were found to be HIV-positive when pushed into doing the anal sex," told Jolly.


During the course of their study, the NGOs volunteers discovered that the poor eunuchs have been developing the suicidal tendencies very fast." More than 25 % of them conceded to us that due to their dera-heads' overpowering rule upon their lives and the lack of opportunities for them to grow further in the society, they have been thinking of committing suicides to end the continuing miseries of their existing lives," divulged another NGO volunteer.


It was found out by the surveying volunteers that there is approximately a floating population of 1500 eunuchs in the tricity and its neighbouring areas. " We tried to pick-up more than 100 young and educated eunuchs from the different set of deras to elicit more and more information about their life, present living status and their future. But, we are sorry to say that the authorities are doing little to ensure the better-living for these people and little is being done to give them the status of third gender," said Jolly.


The concerned Jolly told TOI that the basic aim of this extensive research was to ensure a future for the eunuchs, PLHIVs and specially Children, where every child can thrive and reach their potential as their fundamental right. " We believe eunuchs and PLHIV are the best advocates for improving their lives and we need to share knowledge, understanding and experience from our various resources to overcome silence, stigma, discrimination, denial, and fear regarding HIV/AIDS.
Hence we must promote preaching and teaching about HIV/AIDS through FBOs and eunuchs in our houses and place of Worship (Temple, Church, Gurdawara, Mosque etc.) to reduce stigma and discrimination attached to HIV infected and affected people in the society," told Jolly.


However, suggesting the ways to improve the lives of these fateful eunuchs, Jolly said," the authorities concerned must ensure the involvement of eunuchs in HIV/AIDS awareness. Care and Support is very important organ for the sustainable development of the community which helps to reach unreach and reduce stigma and discrimination against PLHIV and faith isn't some magical ingredient. It does, however, lead to a confident attitude toward God."


--Box---Openly living as eunuchs, siome of them even form relationships with men and even marry.  Although their marriage is not usually recognized by law or religion, becoming a eunuch is a process of socialization into an  “eunuch family” through a relationship characterised as chela “student” to guru “teacher”, leading to a gradual assumption of femininity.

---Box--2---Eunuchs in Bollywood
-------------------------------------------Eunuch have been on screen in Indian cinema since its inception, historically as comic relief. A notable turning point occurred in 1974 when real eunuch appeared in a song and dance sequence in Kunwaara Baap (”Virgin Father”). There are also eunuch in the Hindi movie “Amar Akbar Anthony” (1977). They accompany one of the heroes, Akbar (Rishi Kapoor), in a song entitled “Tayyab Ali Pyar Ka Dushman” (”Tayyab Ali, the Enemy of Love”). One of the first sympathetic portrayals was in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay (1995).
1997’s Tamanna starred male actor Paresh Rawal in a central role as Tiku, an eunuch who raises a young orphan.


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The ancient Kama Sutra mentions the performance of fellatio by masculine and feminine people of a third sex (tritiya prakriti). This passage has been variously interpreted as referring to men who desired other men, so-called eunuchs (”those disguised as males, and those that are disguised as females”, male and female transvestites (”the male takes on the appearance of a female and the female takes on the appearance of the male”), or two kinds of biological males, one dressed as a woman, the other as a man. In Islamic societies, they were associated with the ruling class and hired as court eunuchs. This practice became uncommon as late as the 1950s. During the era of the British raj, authorities attempted to eradicate hijras, which they saw as “a breach of public decency”, anti-hijra laws were repealed, but a law outlawing castration, a central part of the hijra community, was left intact, though rarely enforced. Also during British rule in India they were placed under Criminal Tribes Act 1871 and labeled a "criminal tribe", hence subjected to compulsory registration, strict monitoring and stigmatized for a long time, after independence however they were de-notified in 1952, though the century old stigma continues.
Jobless, they 'convert' to earn livelihood
Rajan Walia, TNN, Nov 23, 2010

CHANDIGARH: Of the eunuch population in Tricity and neighbouring areas of Kalka and Kharar, 30-35% educated youths are those who 'converted' and joined the community due to unemployment. This is part of the findings of a study conducted by a group of NGOs.

The findings also suggest that once the eunuchs get approval from 'dera-heads', they take regular and painful hormone-change injections to look feminine in order to join dance groups and earn a livelihood.

During the course of the study, NGO members put across 45 questions before at least 100 young educated eunuchs of the region to know about their present lives and ambitions ahead.

About the findings, a senior member of the group, Ashwani Kumar, said, ''We were surprised to find out that 30-35 of those interviewed were those who had joined eunuch families due to unemployment.'' He added though lack of job forced them enter the profession of male prostitution, with time, their families deserted them, thus leaving them with no option but to turn into a eunuch. ''These young and educated youths also took hormone-change injections so that they could look more feminine. The injections are very painful and have to be taken four times a month,'' he added. Kumar said the study had brought to fore three kinds of eunuchs. ''There are ones who're born transgender. Then, some are forced into it and there's another group that has no option but to convert due to lack of jobs,'' he added.

Read more: Jobless, they 'convert' to earn livelihood - The Times of India
Transgenders acting as the harbingers

Shimona Kanwar, TNN, Dec 1, 2010

CHANDIGARH: What would you understand when you are asked to stay away from 'shakkar di bimari' (sugar disease) Perhaps diabetes. But for a group of transgender in the Tricity this is decoded as HIV. They have been distributing condoms and red ribbons-symbolizing AIDS HIV awareness to both the newly-wed and couples with new born babies. A group of transgender in the Tricity have been recently involved in distributing condoms and red ribbons symbolizing AIDS HIV awareness to both the newly-wed and couples with new born babies. Tapping in the myth that transgenders blessings work as a miracle, a local NGO has roped in around 700 of them to spread the message far and wide. As soon as they are offered sweets they bless the couple, Shakkar to acchi hai, per shakkar ki bimari se door raho (the sweet is tasty, but stay away from Aids). And the message ends with distributing condoms," said Ashwani Kumar, who runs the NGO. After training with UNAIDS expert these messengers of hope have visited Ropar, Mohali, Sector 4, 2, 19 in Panchkula, Pinjore, Mauli Jagran and Ram Darbar in last one week. There are projects which commenced in 2006 where local communities had to act as counselors. Barbers were also drawn in a project where they used to ask the customers to disclose their HIV status, as an accidental razor cut could transmit the virus. Also, in the same year community heads of gurdwara, church, temple and mosque started counseling visitors, said Avnish Jolly, a social activist associated with this NGO. Having a well established network, transgenders are the first ones to know of a child birth and if they can be employed for community welfare nothing like it. In addition to it they also spread the message of family planning and safe sex, said Avnish.
Three suspected smugglers including eunuch held

Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Dec 28 (PTI) Three suspected smugglers, including an eunuch, were today arrested for allegedly possessing elephant bones and deer horns at Terai west area of Ramnagar in Nainital district, an official said here.

Acting on a tip-off, a forest department team stopped a vehicle and recovered 1.25 kg of elephant bones and 2.25 kg of deer horns and arrested its 3 occupants, said Terai West Divisional Forest Officer(DFO) Nishant Verma.

The arrested persons, who hail from Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh, told the interrogators that they were involved in the smuggling of animal parts for a long time, Verma said.

One of the arrested has been identified as Guddu Kinnar.

Eunuchs can now get voter cards, licences 


TNN, Jan 25, 2011

CHANDIGARH: Following the listing eunuchs as the third gender for the first time in this census, members of the 1,000-strong category in the city would now be able to open bank accounts, get driving licences and voter identification cards. They were denied these facilities earlier in the absence of any proof of identification.

According to a social activist, Dr Avnish Jolly, ''this is a good attempt on the part of the administration for inclusion of eunuchs. We have been fighting for long with the authorities for the third gender population to be considered in the mainstream of the society.''

The social activist said the people of this category had raised the issue of lack of facilities like bank account or ration card during a study on their lives and behaviours. These basic facilities were being denied to them by the authorities in the absence of any proof of their individual identity. ''In our study report, we suggested that they should be considered a part of the system. Due to their 'absence in the government records' the eunuchs were not included in HIV-AIDS awareness programmes being run by the administration and a large number of them were found to be HIV-affected,'' Dr Jolly said.


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