Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

More than a quincidence?

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 28, 2015

Hijri/Hijra

The Hijri year (AH anno hegirae) is the year-numbering system (or Calendar era) used in the Islamic calendar. It commences from the first day of the year of the Hijra, or emigration of Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 622 CE. In Arabic, AH is symbolized by the letter. The year CE 2015 corresponds to the Islamic years 1436 – 1437 AH.

The Hajj (Arabic: Ḥaǧǧ “pilgrimage”) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm.

The date of Hajj is determined by Islamic calendar, which is a lunar year. Every year, the events of Hajj take place in a five-day period, starting on 8 and ending on 12 Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth and last month of the Islamic calendar.

Hijra is a term used in South Asia – in particular, in India – to refer to an individual who is transsexual or transgender. In other areas of India, transgender people are also known as Aravani, Aruvani or Jagappa.

In Pakistan, the hijras identify themselves as either female, male or third gender. The term more commonly advocated by social workers and transgender community members themselves is khwaaja sira and can identify the individual as a transsexual person, transgender person (khusras), cross-dresser (zenanas) or eunuch (narnbans).

Hijras have a recorded history in the Indian subcontinent from antiquity onwards as suggested by the Kama Sutra. This history features a number of well-known roles within subcontinental cultures, part gender-liminal, part spiritual and part survival.

Historians attribute Kamasutra to be composed between 400 BCE and 200 CE. John Keay says that the Kama Sutra is a compendium that was collected into its present form in the 2nd century CE.

“Kāma” which is one of the four goals of Hindu life, means desire including sexual desire the latter being the subject of the textbook, and “sūtra” literally means a thread or line that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual.

Contrary to popular perception, especially in the western world, Kama sutra is not exclusively a sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life.

Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by Vātsyāyana, the name of a Hindu philosopher in the Vedic tradition who is believed to have lived around 2nd century CE in India.

In South Asia, many hijras live in well-defined and organised all-hijra communities, led by a guru. These communities have sustained themselves over generations by “adopting” young boys who are rejected by, or flee, their family of origin. Many work as sex workers for survival.

The word “hijra” is an Urdu-Hindustani word derived from the Semitic Arabic root hjr in its sense of “leaving one’s tribe,” and has been borrowed into Hindi. The Indian usage has traditionally been translated into English as “eunuch” or “hermaphrodite,” where “the irregularity of the male genitalia is central to the definition.”

However, in general hijras are born with typically male physiology, only a few having been born with male intersex variations. Some Hijras undergo an initiation rite into the hijra community called nirwaan, which refers to the removal of the penis, scrotum and testicles.

Since the late 20th century, some hijra activists and Western non-government organizations (NGOs) have lobbied for official recognition of the hijra as a kind of “third sex” or “third gender,” as neither man nor woman.

Hijras have successfully gained this recognition in Bangladesh and are eligible for priority in education. In India, the Supreme Court in April 2014 recognised hijra and transgender people as a ‘third gender’ in law.

Nepal, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have all legally recognized the existence of a third gender, including on passports and other official documents.

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