Submitted to:Maliha Zeb Khan
Submitted by:Maryam Shakeel, wahib
Abbas, Ahsen Nadeem
BS(Social Science) semester 1
Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of
Science and Technology
The terms third
gender and third
individuals who are
their will or by social
neither man nor wo
man, as well as the
present in those
recognize three or
who are born with
sexual deformity are
known as hijras
Hijras of Pakistan have their history rooted back in Mughal reign as
Khawjasaras. Khawjasaras were servants that were employed by Mughal
rulers as care takers of their harems. They were potent in courts, state
affairs and as confidantes of rulers. Their status deteriorated with the
devastation of princely rulers and finally fettered to begging. By then the
hijras are considered social outcasts, existing in a strange, no man’s land.
In Pakistan the hijras live in groups (generally 4-12 members) headed by a
Guru, normally the oldest.
Most Pakistani cities have sizable hijras communities, divided into clan groups
living mostly in ghettos and officiated over by a leader or guru. These
communities are generally known as Chellas.
How they earn their livelihood in pakistan?
The group earns livelihood by performing/dancing/singing in family
functions e.g. birthdays, marriages or child births. It is obligatory for
hosts to pay Hijra in money, grain or other things. In central Punjab
(Pakistan), hijra groups divide areas among themselves and one
group may not interfere with another's territory as it is considered
Most of people do not considered
them hijras by birth. They believe that
they are either men behaving like
women (cross-dressers) or they are
homosexual. No doubt, it is true. Zafar
(2004)corroborated that the number
of those born with sexual deformity in
Hijra community is as low as 1%. Both
homosexuals and cross-dressers are
cursed down upon in Islam. As it is
difficult to isolate a genuine hijra from
converted one, people use to curse
and look down upon whole hijra
community. Moreover sex work and
certain behavioral patterns such as
sundering jokes, using disgusting
language and throwing vulgar
gesticulations, persuade aggravation
resulting in people harboring negative
attitude towards them.
Rights of hijras in Pakistan are confined to vote/contest in elections.
Otherwise they are victims of extreme social ostracism. They are
denied in families. They are neither acceptable at work places nor
they are allotted any quota in employment. They are also deprived
of opportunities to take education because of people’s attitude
towards them. More so they are also denied health and
psychological/ psychotherapeutic assistance.
Beside this, educated English speaking class of eunuch is enlarging
in Pakistan. They do not face this treatment because of their social
and economic status in the society. They become fashion
designers, interior decorators, hair stylists’ etc.
In June 2009, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered a census of
hijras, who number between 80,000 and 300,000 in Pakistan.In
December 2009, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Chief Justice
of Pakistan, ordered that the National Database and Registration
Authority issue national identity cards to members of the
community showing their "distinct" gender. "It's the first time in the
62-year history of Pakistan that such steps are being taken for our
welfare", Almas Bobby, a hijra association's president, said to
Reuters. "It's a major step towards giving us respect and identity in
society. We are slowly getting respect in society. Now people
recognize that we are also human beings."
Reasons for becoming hijra or joining hijra community are varied.
It is heeded that hijras earn livelihood relatively easily. Desperate
and unemployed youth is attracted to hijra community to earn
this easy money. Secondly, ignorance toward psychological
healing of problems in most of the low class families led their
children to take shelter in the so-called safe haven of hijra
community. Selling of children to hijra community due to poverty
is yet another important reason for becoming hijra.
Reasons are obvious; solutions are obvious too. First of all, parents
should be very careful about the children showing deviant
behavior. If a boy behaves in girlish manner, he should not be
encouraged. Rather, should be taken to psychiatrist immediately
for necessary treatment. Secondly, parents should have an active
eye on the activities of their children reaching the age of
adolescence. They should check the company their children keep.
Government should more actively approach to homosexuals and
develop public awareness program to handle the issue. At the
end, there should be complete record of born hijras on district
level. So that these hijras can either be provided financial help
publicly to restrain them from falling in socially unacceptable
activities or assigned them quota in employment.
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