The word “hijra” is an Urdu-Hindustan admixture and comes from the Arabic Semitic root hjr in its meaning of “leaving one’s tribe,” and was borrowed from the Hindi language.
In general, hijras are born with typically male physiology, and only rarely with variations related to intersexuality. Some hijras undergo a community initiation rite called nirwaan, which refers to the removal of the penis, testicles, and scrotum.
Many of the hijras live in well-defined and organized communities, led by a guru; these have sustained themselves from generation to generation by “adopting” young boys, rejected or fled from their family of origin as homosexuals.
Many devote themselves to male prostitution in order to survive. Historically bearers of good luck dispense special blessings on the occasion of weddings and the birth of male children, in exchange for a cash offer.
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People at work – volume published by White Star – National Geographic
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