The Third Gender in India … Hijras

Together with the other South Asian Countries India is a host or home country of ‘’hijras’’. This is a term used for a group of transgender people, or they are also known as the third gender. They are neither man nor a woman. Actually the process of becoming Hijras is an uncomfortable feeling with the biological sex or gender identity does not conform to their biological sex.
The group of people, they usually live in group or community, and in year 2014 the evidence says about the population of transgender community is half a million to 2 million individuals in India.
For last many centuries as I had read and in my observation also, they have regularly performed at wedding ceremony, in childbirths, buying a new house, new factory inauguration and similar, in the exchange of money. Along with this as much as I know they bless you or can assign curses. They have this ‘’power’’ (Indian history says that). But as we all know there is a group of upper class people in India and for them the blessings will cost much higher, often it is also a possibility that they will lift up their skirt or saree, if you are not agreed to the price. They are not only the singers but dancers and musicians also. Because of this ‘’power’’ they have their respect as an important group of people. For Hijras, often functioning as third gender, access to education, jobs and good facilities are scarce. Because they are judged as different part of society, they have often been in a life of begging, prostitution or extortion.
The contrast is, on one hand they are very important group of people and have power to bless or curse, and on the other hand sometimes they are treated as the unnatural part of the society and as object of fear through superstition. There must be equal rights for all human beings without any Discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
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The discrimination based on their gender identity makes them the weaker part of the society. It is bringing somehow disempowerment and lack of education and freedom in them. Because of this they are facing a lot of problems like, unemployment, going in depression, weak medical facilities, and sometimes shelter problem.
There are lots of tragic stories about the transgender group of people (hijras). Their families often rejected to their decision of being a hijra. In this condition They have to leave their families and find their own existence without any emotional support from the family and society. Anyway the hijra community is helping them a lot to find their own identity. They also likes to be called with a female name and wearing the women clothes.
As I already mentioned above that they have lack of employment opportunities as most of the jobs are confined as male or female sexes. Being a third sex they cannot even apply for jobs. Transgender people in India have always had to define themselves on government forms as either a “male” or “female.” But that is about to change.
In a landmark ruling, India’s Supreme Court has recognized a third gender option to be created for transgender people, or “Hijras,” as they are often referred to in South Asia. “The Indian Constitution’’ is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and prove their potential irrespective of caste, religion or gender. The court said in its order, which is expected to alleviate the conditions of transgender people in India, through access to welfare programs, employment opportunities and education.
India is not the first country to recognize a third gender, as Nepal and Bangladesh have also passed similar law. This is not just the end, many things needs to come still.
Being a youngster of a country like India, where I see lot of changes every day in rules and regulations, which are positive also sometimes, I can see the next step in this law for transgender people or further many positive steps. I still want to believe on ‘’Change is the need of environment’’.
here is a video from ‘The Logical Indian’ hope you will like it: http://thelogicalindian.com/story-feed/exclusive/the-hijras-indias-third-gender/
stay tuned to xplore more
akki bhai

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Weekend in Jena… desi feeling :)

Jena ”The Light City”, is a beautiful city in Thüringen (Germany), surrounded by beautiful Hills and Castles. Very popular for its acedemics also, but not to forget ”ZEISS”. No need to give any explanation for this. world famous optics are from Zeiss. For all the acheivements today in all fields for eg. Sceince, Space, fotography, Medical etc. the foundation was given in eighteenhundreds in Jena.

It has a very big history behind it, how it was formed and got success in between lot of obstacles. Neverthless, I got all these experiences, when I had a closer look at them last weekend. So far the most successfull weekend for me. I would say it was a eye opening experience.
I spend a lot of beautiful moments there. Either it was going through the streets, sitting at marketplace, listening to the concerts or meeting with some strange people.

My whole trip of Jena was full of surprises and experiences. Some of them I would like to share here. For the first time I saw the transport system in Germany was pünktlich spät i.e. punctually late 😛 . I got an sms in my phone that the abc transport is 43 minutes late and when I reached at the station it was exact 43 minutes late 😉 That is why I everytime put my hats off for the German punctuality. Secondly when I arrived in Jena the news that was coming from there that it was the the day of curfew in Jena, so the all old city the main city i.e. part of attraction was in curfew and closed, after that I experienced for the first time monsoon in Germany, than meeting with Khaki uniform persons very late night and feeling the nerves inside, full day was with surprises, neverthless we say all iz well, if end is well i.e. even I didn’t remember when I went to my bed ;). The day passed with lot of fun and experiences, International food, museums visit, International photo galleries and regular tips from a wise man for a happy life. ”never argue with women”
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Anyway when I was in Jena, I was able to feel the DESIness there. I stayed there for two days and I experienced the evergreenness of Indians there also. A lot of Indian students in the technical university of Jena. apart of that I saw for the first time in my life the Recorder in a working condition with Indian 70’s music full of Shri Ravi Shankarness 🙂 The famous western culture of Mumbai and a lot of things that remind me on my nation. Whenever someone ask me about my country here first thing they mention is Elephant. Yes I am from the Elephants country, and feel so proud.

As I had mentioned that its a city surrounded by Mountains and Hills, I had visited two parts of these hills in really opposite direction. One is called Jenzig Mountain and the other one is Fuchsturm ‘The Fox Tower’. It was the best part in Jena to experience this wonderful scenery. These were the places to remember whole life. The Russian cuisine was the best part I would say in my Hill trip in a German Restaurant.Jenzig%20_Fr.%20Hofmann_Teaser.jpg.181573
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Anyway these are the memories which need to be keep safe for lifetime, and its a truth that Good time never ends, and I want to believe in that.
I would like to say once more that stay tuned to x_plore more 🙂

Akki Bhai

Memories from Krokoseum (Krokodile + Museum)

I approached to work with the kids, if possible, only for few time. I got this opportunity to work with the kids in Krokoseum known as Krokodile + Museum. It is a place for children to use their spare time effectively and active fully. It is a place situated in Franckesche Stiftungen in the city Halle (Saale) near Francke Platz.

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Two days in a week I used to go there to play with children, and learn some creative things with children like with Origami, Piano, Puppet show, Museum visit, Free kitchen table for children and many more other things. I participated there with KinderKulture FreiTisch, where I cook some Indian food with the children, which I enjoyed a lot. Every Tuesday I go there to learn something new with origami and to visit museum.

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The house is famous either by Krokoseum or its Waisenhaus also. There is a Museum also called Wunderkamar. Whenever I am there, for me this all Francke Foundations is a living Museum for me. I heard the story of August Hermann Francke who build this whole Foundation and this is one of the part of it. The Museum, Orphanage house and many more things. The Historical things, I think from 17th century are kept here very nicely. In the Museum there they have Indian shelf (Indische schrank) which describes the Indian relations with August Hermann Francke and with Germany.

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May be you can recognize it, what is this art about India. Yes not only this but a lot of things from India are kept there in the Museum, which describes the real art of India. This Museum is called Wunderkammer Museum/Exhibition.

Not only this Museum but a lot of things are there in the Krokoseum by which children can learn a lot of things from their childhood. There are lot of creative things which children used to do it in their spare time. The location and the design of the krokoseum is like that, one can not imagine what exactly is it. From playing space to puppet space, from artistic place to kitchen, everything is so amazing there. Here are some pictures of it, so that you can imagine.

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During the visit to Museum (Wunderkammer)  The children used to learn a lot of things about that and for their creativity work they make some art with crocodile which is partially moving :P. With the help of the trainers there and volunteers children learn a lot of things.

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So after two months I had completed my time there, and I still want to go there in my spare time and learn something new. Another interesting thing about Krokoseum is there is an opportunity for the youngsters to do their internship there with pedagogic. From my personal experience I can say that, this kind of concept for the children, which is really in fashion also now a days will help a lot children to explore more about the world not only with the studies. I personally looking forward to give some contribution towards this field, it would be my pleasure.

So like always stay tuned to xplore more…. 😉

Love

Akki Bhai

Carnival Time in Germany (Halle) Rosenmontag

With a very huge crowd on the streets, very loud Music, very colourful costumes, unusual makeups, drinking and then lying on the benches and a lot of things similar like this” and we know that Germany is not a country like this, but yes this is the time in Germany i.e. Carnival (deutsch Fasching) time, when you can see all these things here, I am on my 6th month here and everyday is a surprise for me, its like a new place for me everyday, a country with full of multiculture, never ever had expected of that. I live in Halle which is not a very big city but yes I can see all these mentioned things above here also. This week on Monday (deutsch montag) some carnival rallies were there in Halle which was quiet interesting and amazing for me.

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This carnival includes very huge crowd on their different and designed vehicles, some were like tyres on the boat and dress up like Jack Sparrow (pirates of the cariebben) but with the white skin 😉 some beautiful girls in colurful clotes were dancing in groups some huge men were in women costume, and some were with the bottle of bear in their hands and dancing together. The crowd were all over them and they were throwing candies and drinks towards the crowd and small kids were so excited to see this all. Then what I see a group of old ladies with the Pram in their hand with toy babies inside were walking and giving candies, in which one old lady came to me, greet me with a smile, shaking with dance and then she give me some candies. It was so wonderful and kind gesture from her. Then you know what I see a small beautiful Blue colour car passed in front of me and a King and Queen were sitting over that and kissing each other, they were looking so cute and wonderful. They started their carnival from Peißnitz and ends at Hallmarkt (marktplatz) via Leipziger Straße. One group of girls give me some Ballons and candies which I still have with me :p.

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Even after this huge crowd and lot of chaos (for some people), the Transportation system and the traffic system was so great, only if we negotiate some trams, the traffic was in continuation. The Traffic Police staff were so great (deutsch toll) at thier work and it was so eyecharming view for me.

The very next day on Tuesday I supposed to go to a children play school called krokoseum (krokodile + musuem) to be a part of children carnival and play with them and celebrate carnival in their style. Then I must have to look like them, and then I went to market to see some stuffs which I can try on me to look funny, but God has given me very cute and innocent face so its difficult for me to look funny but still I tried and you know one thing that I realised today is that ”it is so expensive to look funny in this world”. Then I asked one of my friend here. She is a student here and I just got to know her 2 weeks before. I asked her for a favor to arrange something for me to look funny, and then she provided me a dress of Monkey (deutsch Affe), to look funny with the kids. I was so happy to see that costume, but its difficult to be funny with my face. I tried my best.

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The kids were so happy to meet a monkey which was not funny at all, and they were also dressed very nicely with their costumes and were resembling the characters, of which they had dressed.

Anyway It was a nice experience for me to explore a little bit with the kids and I am looking forward for such nice events in future. until then stay tuned to xplore more 😉

Akki bhai

Traces of India in Germany (Halle)

This is really difficult to find traces of India in Germany or especially in Halle, because both the countries
are entirely different, but on the other side it has something very special that reminds me something
that I had been gone through. This is very uncountable but still I am mentioning this here, is that I had seen the similar behavior of Germans on a certain kind of situation, such as while inviting the guests for a party and until he/she arrives to their invitation to the end, the guest will not feel bored. As it is said in India that Guests are treated as God अतिथि देवो भव:”, describing the host-guest relationship. I mentioned this behavior here because it reminds me some memories of India. Still the food and drinks are different in both the countries but the gesture is quiet common.
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As I am doing my service here with Friedenskreis Halle e.V. I can say that they are treating me like a guest, helping me all the times in language barrier and trying hard from their level also to make me learn Deutsch.
The food items like vegetables (can’t forget to mention POTATO) some alcoholic drinks way of planting
the plants, this i knows because i had been to the nurseries here also, are the reflections of India. Just
because of the climatic conditions compare to my place in India (Uttarakhand) are similar here in Germany
i can say that the attitude means a lot. On the basis of this observation I can say that ‘’ The persons are same, Only the faces are different’’.
WHAT IS TYPICALLY GERMAN
As per my observation I can say that there is a lot of difference. Germans have certain kinds of rules that
they are following and very happily. It is quite difficult to say excatly what is typically German, even
the academics are not sure, so this is just my opinion but sometimes I think what can be typical here in
Germany which is a country of multi-culture, i.e. from all around the world peoples of different cultures are living here. The another thing that stuck in my mind is that Germans are very party kind of people, they have something like October fest which is something different in itself. Germans are world famous for their food also. If you ask me what is your typically German dish? I would definitely say Sausage with Potatoes, and the most common thing with this dish is beer. Most of them here drinks beer. So the next thing that I like the most is seperation of Garbage: Yello box, Blue box, Brown and Black box. This is something that takes time to understand as much in my perception. One thing that is difficult for me to get used to with is ‘’Time Punctuality’’. I had done this in inverted commas just because it means a lot. It was shocking for me to look at the Railway system i.e. The Deutschen Bahn here, really amazing ‘’xyz… in 2 min, and it means’’. On the streets you will not found a traffic jam and you can reach anywhere in time.
SURPRISING FOR ME
As I am from a country where the culture, peoples, living style and everything is different from here, it was really difficult for me to get used to of it. Now as I had passed my 6 months here, now I am somehow able to do it. As I had already mentioned about time punctuality, food, garbage separation, so this is all surprising for me. But the most surprising, not even surprising as well as inspiring for me is the education system. How the kids are brought up from their childhood. Since the time from their birth then to kindergarten and everything after that. I had visited few kindergarten and few elementary and primary schools and I really surprised by looking at them, especially at the kindergarten the kids are so well mannered and are using the entities that has been given to them in a right order. The love for the pets is outstanding here; from their food to accommodation everything is so perfect. Finally I want to say that if one wants to learn something about the life, must visit Germany once in a life. It is life changing experience for me.
yes one more thing stay tuned to explore more…. 🙂 see ya…
Akki Bhai

Exploring Nürnberg and Bad Staffelstein in BFD Seminar November 2014

So, I have my first BFD seminar after 4 months in south Germany near Nürnberg. It was the seminar in Bildungszentrum Bad Staffelstein for 5 days, from 10-14 Nov. 2014. On the fourth day of seminar everybody had choosed their own activity and me along with my two other friends Vinay and Soni we decided to explore the nearst area around the place. We searched before coming here that here a very nice spot in over the mountains and we planned to do a cycle expedition to that part. We took cycles and started our journey. The name of the place was ”Fränkische Schweiz-veldensteiner” near Bad Staffelstein in the state Bavaria. It was really cold outside and raining also but we were determined to do it. It was really difficult task to ride the bykes over the mountains and we were without any equipments.

IMG_0309IMG_0317 In three of us Soni Shah https://www.facebook.com/soni.shah.18?fref=ts , she is a Mountaineer by profession, so she was guiding us regularly. On the way we found some other guys also who were also crazy like us, but they were coming down from the mountain region, so we got much more encouragement to climb that mountain. We were taking pictures on the way because our aim was not only climb that mountain but to look at our Project also, so we were doing it step by step.

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Then at one point of time we were able to see the destination after crossing the big part of Jungle, It was the feeling of having lot of water in the middle of a Desert. Then after 45 minutes more walk or may be 1 hour we reached at the destination.

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It was a really superb place without people all over mountains and a very nice Church but it was closed. Even there were no Water to drink or some sitting space, but somehow we were happy to reached at the destination. We just lie down on the grass for 10 minutes.

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Then we start clicking the photographs, because it was the only part without which we can never imagine to complete our Project. Then after few minutes the weather starts becoming bad and dark also and the rain was also started, so we decided to go down from the hill, It was a lot of moisture on the ground and was getting difficult to go down by the byke, but still somehow we managed to go down, and it takes more than 1 hour to go down from the hill and it was already dark and still we were around 10 kilometers back from our place. We were in the bykes on highway and it was getting difficult to find the way but finally at around 8 in the evening we reached our place and then we start eating our meal because whole day we were outside without food. It was a nice experience for all three of us to ride the bykes over a hill.

Here are some pictures of our expedition.

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5 Days in Prague (Czech Republic)

It was already the 5th month for us in Germany, and we decided to explore more from here, then we decided i.e. me and vinay to visit some other place and I suggested to visit Prague, I was quiet selfish at that time but yes, it was the city in my bucketlist of visiting, and moreover it was not so far from here, so we decided to go for our Christmas and New year vacations there in Prague with one of our another friend Allen, who is serving in the same project but in Wustrow (Germany), in some part of Germany :p .

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We started our journey from Halle to Dresden by Deutschen Bahn and from Dresden we took the bus to Prague. It was a journey of around 6 hours. After reaching in Prague, we found a  quiet healthy environment there, because truely speaking by looking at the English speakers there. Without taking any guide we took the map and went to our Hostel directly via metro and bus, like other EU countries Czechich also have some particular attitude towards their living stlye which we enjoyed a lot. The hostel in which we stayed was really cool and in a new country it was challenging too for us to take care about food travelling finding the way by own without having internet in phones. The interesting thing that happened with us during the travelling was after reaching to our final metro destination i.e. near to our Hostel, we had to take a bus No. 112 towards Holzovice, but every time when we were there the bus didn’t came and then we had to walk towards our Hostel which was again quiet interesting like looking back again and making fun like look here is our bus… :p. But overall being there in Prague as a Tourist feels good, visiting Muzeums, Looking at the Historical Buildings, constructions of the Churches, and yes one thing that surprise us there was the passion towards Indian culture. It was really surprising on the Christmas eve when we supposed to came back towards to our place we saw near Charles Bridge there were some peoples singing ”HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA”. They were in traditional Indian dresses like men were in Dhoti with Rudraksh in their hand and tilak in the forehead and the women wearing Saari, not very perfectly 😉  but it was quiet good with overcoat haha looking superb and doing dance like GARBA etc. Actually they were from the community of Indian temple there in Prague. We found a man there called Bilal bhai who starts talking us in Hindi and like in a very jugadu way, which was funny for us. Then in one day we were there in a Kebab shop for eating Döner and the man there was also a big fan of Indian songs and Bollywood and start singing some Indian evergreen songs in his Arabic accent. Another guy in the street having a small shop was also a big fan of Bollywood and specially he likes Shah Rukh Khan and he talked me about the Movie Veer-Zaara about India Pakistan and said to us that if you are new here you can also found your Zaara here. We had been to almost all those places where the Movie Rockstar were being shooted hehe :p. Overall it was a quiet good experience for us to visit there.

On the way back to Germany was quiet interesting becoz we took shared car to came back i.e. mitfahrgelegenheit 🙂 (Bla-Bla Car) :p