Connecting local responses around the world
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.