BANGALORE: Men will be men. It is better if that was the case. In every city of the country, there are pretentious reasons to survive, especially for men... many work, some beg, some pray, some dress. Yes, dress to earn.
Although, an unorganised group, the Hijras of Bangalore seem to be actually men, deliberately hiding behind a feminine fabric to escape from the daily grind of hard work. Now, whether they are Transvestites (a term used to refer to the sexual interest in cross-dressing) or otherwise, will always haunt the people of this city.
Fully grown men wearing feminine clothing to earn a living. They are the Hijras that we see, dolefully giving their signature clap. In the city, inviting of a hijra for a wedding does not seem to be a norm unlike the North, these men give us definite reason to ponder as to why they refrain from working on any calibre or potential that they possess.
In all societal norms that we follow in India, men should have a physical, psychological and professional approach to life. They are supposed to wear clothes that are accepted widely, have emotional balance and psychological formation that has a certain bend toward the masculine and security to their own cultivated family.
But here is a clan which does not believe in a societal nutating. They are not bisexual, hermaphrodites, or homosexuals...they are men who have used a socially conservative way of life into earning a living.
The Hijras of Bangalore are unlike the organised cult that one can see in Tamil Nadu; they are in fact an unorganised populace with little respect for the socially structured clan that is prevalent in the country.
When City Express spoke to few Hijras in the city, it was clear that they do not have an organised cult though they seemed to be familiar with the annual ritual of their clan in Koovangam, Tamil Nadu, famous for its annual festival for transgenders and transvestite individuals, which takes fifteen days in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April or May).
They have never cast a vote, they do not have a PAN Card or a ration card. Most of the Hijras, the Radhas, Bhavanas, Poojas that City Express met up with, were from Tamil Nadu and Kerala earning their daily Rs 200 to 300 from begging. Strongly denying that they were involved in any sexual practices to earn a living.
While these men, definitely have an inclination towards the opposite sex, they tend to hide it due to ‘survival’ reasons.
This tendency probably has made them incapable of embarrassment which in turn has led to a certain amount of moral consciousness.
The main reason for them to resort to this trade is a culture trail, where one hijra gets another from his hometown and the process goes on. The population of hijras increasing in Bangalore is mainly because of this and the lure of easy money within a cult.
Several NGOs are trying to bring in a change among these people but the essential intention to change and lead a better life is taking a test of patience.
‘Honour grows from qualms,’ as John Leonard, a critic had once said. But for these ‘woe’men who have been the frequent cause of irritation for many commuters and shopkeepers in the city, honour seems to come later, and the qualms seem to be more prominent.