The Hijras In Serena Nanda's Neither Man Nor Woman

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Serena Nanda 's Neither Man Nor Woman is an ethnographic study about the lives of Indian men known as the hijras. Through interaction with the hijras and her study of Indian culture, Nanda provides a glimps into a unique society and lifestyle. Nanada goes into specific detail about the lives of hijras beginning with the process to become a hijra, their lives and their treatment and placement within Indian culture. Nanda's defines the hijras as “...the name given to a full-time female impersonator who is a member of a traditional social organization, part cult and part caste, of hijras, who worship the goddess Bahuchara Mata. Hijras may be eunuchs with partial surgical sex reassignment; their sexuoerotic role is as women with men.” (Nanda) Hijras are (typically) castrated Indian men who self identify as women or of neither gender “As ritual performers, they are…show more content…
Throughout Neither Man Nor Woman, Nanda interviews hijras and intoduces the reader to a life changed by infertility. The life of a hijra begins when a man is unable to produce childern. In chapter 2 Nanda introduces Lakshimi, “...a beautiful young hijra dancer, who had undergone the emasculation operation a year before I met her, said, "I was born a man, but not a perfect man." Nanda the introduces Neelam “... a transvestite homosexual who had not yet had the emasculation operation, told me, " I was born a man, but my male organ did not work properly so I became a hijra.” (Nanda 15-16) The reader also encounters Salima, an hijra who as was born “intersexed” (a person whose genitalia is neith male or female.) Because of her condition, emasculation was not required for Salima. She like others, began the life of a hijra at a young age beteween 10-13 years old. (Nanda
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