Here, I intend to write what comes to my mind about India. This could be about anything, politics, religion, movies or remote happenings. Feel free to check this blog for updates, who knows some could be of some interest to you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eunuchs/transgenders - is it time to think about them?

'They say they cannot reproduce then how is their population growing?'

This is a nasty joke I saw in a TV show. Though nasty, it made me think for a while. Aren't they being discussed more nowadays? Aren't they spotted more in many places?

Most of us know them as people looking like men dressed in women's clothes who go around crowded streets demanding money. In some places they are hired to visit weddings and naming ceremonies of babies believing that their blessings brings good luck.

Generally, they are people who due to harmonal imbalance find it very difficult to know their sexual identity. When their physical appearance starts showing up they are chased away from home to avoid emarassment or run aways.

Looking back, world history has many transgender characters playing important roles in different civilizations like chinese, european and Indian. They were generally regarded as loyal and honest people because they cannot have biological heirs. Due to this they will not be impartial and greedy to plan to have a dynastic rule. They occupied posts close to the throne as ministers, doctors and personal assistants of the king and queens.

Is it time for us to give a serious thought on how to help this group?

We must admit that they are looked down in the society and denied (unofficially) equal opportunity in education and employment. But for a few exceptions who struggle against odds to live a dignified life, many live on prostitution and beggary. There are a few groups that fights for reservation in parliament. Ridiculous, they need help to first support themselves without begging and educate themselves which is when they will have a chance to be compared with the rest or understand if someone is using them.

Education: As we know, they are groups of adults (which ever gender it may be). So it begs better education for grown-ups which is neither 'education for the aged' nor primary (kids) school and it is difficult to put them in regular schools for obvious reasons. The challenge is, even for such good reasons if they are isolated for their improvement we will see politicians and activists mushrooming, even some of us here will open discussion threads saying it is discrimination, its a legacy of untouchability, etc, etc,...

Employment: Police force is a good suggestion. Why not defence and police force?
I agree that something needs to be done but I have a feeling that they have become lazy. When they could earn well for 2 claps why would they think of working hard. I am against beggars (young healthy ones) and this is nothing different. I've seen them being given Rs.5 for 2 claps in the signals, anything less they throw it on you. I know many of these groups live in good apartments in pretty good localities.
When migrant labourers from Bihar and orissa walk kilometers on the ring roads to do construction work every day they(Eunuchs)dress-up and run shifts to stand in the traffic signals and pool the collection to have a comfortable life.

Attempting a little calculation:
Assume Rs.5 for a vehicle, on an average say 5 vehicles per stop => 5*5= Rs.25 every 10 mins. Assume 10 of them per signal=> 25*10=Rs.250 per 10 mins => Rs.1500 per hour per batch. Assume one batch does a 4 hr shift per day=> 4*1500 => Rs.6,000 per batch per day. Assume 5 days per week considering traffic variations => 30,000 per week => 1,20,000 per 10 people per month => 12,000 monthly per head tax-free.

Reservation:We misused it earlier. Reservation is not the only way to bring equality. You cannot slow down the leaders for the trailers to catch-up. You must train and strengthen the weak ones to catch-up and beat them. This is the mistake happening now in the country.
Reservation with an expiry date is another option. Our reservation system or be it any other policy is brought in without dead lines so no one bothers to set targets on what is to be achieved by when, it's taken for granted.

I agree transgenders need help for better living and earning respect but not by reservation as we know it today.