There is much in what we see and there is even more in what we don’t.
When we look around us and see the disaffection eating into the eunuch clan, we let the sadness pass off. The contempt with which they are being looked at is more aching than a million of malice put together. The gall in people’s looks reminds me of Maya Angelou’s most frequently cited lines:
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.
I am not sure about their Rise though.
The ‘third sex’, as erudite thinkers address them, does a regular cover-up of the indignity under the overdone faces of confusion. Masculine built, ill-fitting garb, rusty voice and lewd make-up fail to veil the decrepit feeling within as John Lennon believed, “One thing you can’t hide is when you are crippled inside”. The sense of being crippled is not born on a full moon night. It was conceived and nurtured for epochs.
If we take a short walk holding History’s hand, we would know that the Eunuchs, in the initial stages of their prominence were asked to guard women’s living areas. Since then, they survived every vilification and invented ways to sustain without pandering to wicked plans.
If we leave aside the gory facts on how most males were castrated and what physical indictment befell them, we are left with an emotional tug of war.
Their presence is considered auspicious during weddings and housewarmings. Their blessings are sought following childbirths but law considers them ‘incapable’ of acting as a guardian and adopting a son.
I think I know why we fear their retaliation and dread their curse and slurs. May be because we know we are at fault.
India has ill-treated the third gender to a barbaric extent and the latter is lost in a vortex of rights abuse, physical violence and psychological molestation. A country that flaunts its age-old badges of Equality and Liberty has been party to this muffled tyranny.
When it comes to taking care of well-being of sexual minority, our country stands as despondent cavalry awaiting dusk and defeat.
Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS), which includes hormone therapy, surgical reconstruction and sometimes counseling, is what doctors recommend. However, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and Medical Council of India (MCI) are yet to frame guidelines to be followed in SRS.
“Compartmentalising sex”, as someone judiciously said, has its first casualty in the form of eunuchs. Economically, they are back-benchers and socially they rarely find associates and aides. When a eunuch says, “Men look at us with fear mingled with desire” you know how dilemma has paid obeisance to this community.
Photo Courtesy: The Independent Contributor
They may continue to embody embarrassment and breathe in the vile air but the sound of their palms beating against each other will echo as their caustic protest against civil indifference.