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The purpose of this paper is to examine the anomic bonds between hijras of Gujarat, whorenounced their social positions to live as devotees of the Hindu Goddess Bahucharā, and those wholive in the ordinary, mundane world and have a new-born baby. The hijras have been represented bygender studies as an exemplar of the ‘third gender’ in non-Western society, though no such consistentrepresentation or social niche exists in India. Most hijras are born and raised as male, but they subsequentlyrenounce their traditional familial and societal relations, and present themselves as femalethrough various methods, including transvestism and castration. However, their altered appearancedoes not grant them the same status as women; instead, they straddle between gender boundaries, existing at the gateway to a sacred sphere where their ambiguity is understood and accepted. Hijrasare traditionally invited to assist in important transitional life events such as childbirth. Childbirth is aliminal phase that is believed to endanger babies, mothers and their families, and hijras are required todispel evils and bestow blessings in order to overcome the vulnerability. In this paper, I will explore themeaning of vulnerability attributed to childbirth and anomy of childbirth where hijras and laypeoplecome to interact.
ZINBUN 45 149-160, 2015-03
Institute for Research in Humanities Kyoto University