Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Mysterious Transgenders...

It has been a mystery about the transgender, though through the recent published works of great authors and furnished details by excavators and scientists who have been exploring the roots of transgender origin; it has been evident that it started from India.

It started in India, because ancient Indians had much exposure and acceptance of people of all kinds and the others like Greeks, Egyptians and many others had a very wide exposure during their civilization due to which gained fame and thus were listed as one among the most famous ancient civilizations.

These are called Hijras, Kojas, Ali, Thirunangai and are known in many other names, in ancient India they were known as the klibas (men, who turn transgender) and svairinis (girls , same) [These subjective terms were not only used for guys and girls who were transgendered but, to also those who belonged to the category of “LGBT”] these are considered lucky as they are believed to be a form of lord Krishna in the great epic Mahabarath. Their blessings or curse is believed, will become true. The things which people receive from them is considered very lucky and is believed that it would be a multiplying factor for whatever they receive from them and hence we find people taking money from them and keep it in a place where the cash or the profit made and would multiply. There were few women in ancient India who got blessed by them or took sindhoor in alms (a symbol of women being married and a mistress of someone) this was done for their husband’s longevity. Hence, they had great respect in ancient times.

These transgender have a set of rules which are unexplainable and none knows the reason for the same.

1. They do not give anything to anyone at that very instant when asked.

2. They do not come begging house to house, rather would beg in public places.

3. None can see their corpse, it seems the pupils of the same community take it to a place for the cremation when the whole residence is asleep and none have been the proof of their cremation other than the (vettiyaan) the person who guards the graveyard (only a few hijras), but there are much more who strictly follow the rules being hijras who still have remained a mystery as to what do they do with the corpse?, where do they take it? And many other questions unanswered. They keep clapping for which nobody has the exact answer.

Scientifically these hijras once proper male or female born kids but once after attaining their puberty, due to a deficient hormone out of many, turn out to be the reason of decline in their lives. It’s believed that breasts are found developed for men during their puberty and it don’t for women, similarly the women have body hair grown like men and their periodic menstrual cycles stop. But, there are many found nowadays claiming themselves to be hijras who do not possess any of these above mentioned qualities and are cross dressers but they are also called hijras in a few ancient reports.

The saga of a hijra’s life is very filled with agony, humiliation and grief though the origin of theirs is divine, as per the great epic Mahabharata:

During, the latter part of Kurukshethra the pandavas performed a yagna which would be accomplished by a human sacrifice to Kali, but that wasn’t easy because the individual to be sacrificed was expected to possess qualities of a special kind (regarding his/her physique, time of birth and kundali, samudrika lakshan etc) later it was ARAVAN, son of Arjun and Uloochi who was being chosen (some call him IRAVAN). When all the pandavas and others conveyed the same to Aravan he at first did object (as per few scripts) later he did accept but on a condition which he laid, which was that he wanted to get married before he could be sacrificed(but he never did mention, a girl). Krishna promised him that his desire will be quenched.

Later they proclaimed, for a teenager (girl) who would be rewarded, if she did agree to marry Aravan who would be sacrificed in a yagna performed by the pandavas for their victory in Kurukshethra. But, they found none of the girls in and around the kingdom approaching them regarding the proposal, as none wanted to be ill-fated to live a life of a widow at a very young age.

Hence Krishna made use of the loop hole, of him not mentioning the gender he wanted to marry and thus, he himself dressed as a damsel from a far away land and he approached the pandavas and agreed for the proposal of getting married to Aravan.

Aravan was outwitted, and was being married to Krishna (hence was called Aravani as he married Aravan). No sooner, his desire of getting married was being accomplished; he was being sacrificed in the yagna.

After which Krishna had to perform the ritual of an Indian married woman who lost her husband (when a married woman has lost her husband should break her bangles, erase the sindhoor and the removal of mangal soothra etc).

Hence in India, the transgender are seen in the form of Krishna, who even today, till date, From different parts of the country and even abroad visit the temple of Aravan to perform the same rituals as Krishna did, every year (Deity worshiped: Sri Iravan (Aravan in Tamil) and Sri Krishna as Mohini-murti.), where they will be tied a thali or mangalsoothra by the priest of the temple that night and later the next day morning they cry in grief for losing the husband by performing the rituals. Tens of thousands of cross dressers, transgender and homosexual men assemble together for what is perhaps the largest of all third-gender festivals in India. At the climax, an effigy of the local Koothandavara deity (Iravan) is burned and thousands of cross dressers express their great distress by wailing, beating their chests, breaking their bangles, etc. When: The main festival falls on the Tuesday before the full moon of Vaishaka (April-May; called Chaitra in Tamil Nadu). The entire festival begins four days before that.

The main deity of koothandavar temple :

The transgender performing the rituals:

The burning of Aravan’s effigy:

Scientifically speaking, this was done to bring down the level of grief that a transgender would posses for living a life of humiliation, baseless, uncorroborated, for which a few thought, should be provided an outlet for their distress and agony. Thus an event was arranged where people who belonged to the stigma of third-sex would assemble and dissipate their spasm, life has provided to them.

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