India’s transgender minority and have been a part of South Asia’s culture for thousands of years. Transgender is generally described as an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to their biological sex. They are celebrated in the sacred Hindu texts like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and held powerful position in courts of the Mughal Empire.
But with the world taking a turn towards modernity, their social fortunes had changed towards obscurity. With the colonial government passing the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 classing all eunuchs as criminal, they were ostracized from all forms of social life and mostly survived in close knit communities of their own.
But over the course of time, the people of India still regarded them as auspicious and since times immemorial have asked them to bless celebrations such as marriages and births. The attitude of acceptance towards them was institutionalized when the Supreme Court of India, in the case of
National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India,
WP (Civil) No 604 of 2013, declared transgendered people to be officially called the ‘third gender’, giving them a right to self-identification of their gender. This move was seen as a big step towards gender equality in India, the effects of which can be felt on social media, as today we have a transgender police inspector, a transgender mayor, a transgender college principle and even a transgender music band; something that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago.
At S.S. Rana & Co., keeping in line with our traditions, and all-inclusive policy shared the festivities of Holi with a few members of the third gender.