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The lives of the ‘others’

in INDIA, 20/07/2012

The staging of the play Being Eunuch by Nishumbita on Friday began with one of the characters addressing the audience, disguised as the narrator. As he disappeared into the wings, the auditorium was stormed by half a dozen eunuchs asking everyone for money! As it turned out, the surprise visitors were actually young men dressed as eunuchs enacting characters from the play.

There was a detailed depiction on the life of eunuchs, their community practices and their customs. It showed how relationships develop even when there is no possibility of sexual activity.

The play also demonstrated the role of the hunger for power within a closed community.

As portrayed in the play, the Hijras, who live together as sisters, mothers and daughters, are mostly castrated males who choose to live like this on their own terms.

They spend their days dancing and asking for alms. Instead of assimilating into society, they live this way because they are not accepted as ‘respectable’ human beings. The performance emphasized the need for this acceptance and their rights to be able to work and mingle with regular society.

While all the actors performed well, special mention must be made about Keshav Deepak, Feroze, Preetham, Sanjeev, Prakash and Krushna who did an exceptional job. The use of light was perfect in this well-directed play. The applause from the audience was proof of the impact that a subject like this can have.

Director Ram Mohan Holagundi mentioned how hard his team worked on emulating feminine gestures, the signature Hijra clap and walking draped in sarees. The actors also composed and sang the songs in play. A commendable effort indeed.

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