The existance of third gender: a challenge in modern india

Author: 
Aparna Sharma

As literature is said to be a mirror of society for it reflects the real picture of the contemporary world clearly. It provokes our thinking and compels us to think afresh about problems. Mahesh Dattani, a Sahitya Academy Award winning playwright from India left a burning question regarding the social status of eunuchs (or third gender) in the developing India. Here, in this article I have taken his play “Seven Steps around the Fire” which articulates the voice of the oppressed sections of the society whose identity is shrouded in the cover of myths and social prejudices. The play is a protest play against the social exclusion of the eunuchs and such exclusions cab be found everywhere in the Indian society like the caste, religion, or inclination based bias, but the hijras suffer this on the basis of their neuter gender.
Dattani’s play raises many questions regarding hijra identity, their constitution, connotations, their social acceptability and tolerability. They are the ‘invisibles’ in the society who face a double jeopardy as they are the victims of nature as well as of the society. There is an aura of disgust and dislike related to them.
In a developing country where everyone is talking about development, it is the high time to contemplate on such issues. Why do we read about them and forget? How long will we shy away from these taboo issues and let them prevail in our society. The awareness about the sufferings of the marginalized community is a realization of the perception of life that can ensure better understanding of human relationship. This paper is a humble attempt to highlight the condition of this neglected section of Indian society.

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