Is marriage an excuse for rape?

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Rape is a topic that makes many people of all ages uncomfortable. Few people think of themselves as potential rape victims, and even fewer consider themselves capable of the rape of another. The natural reluctance to talk about the issue and the widespread existence of mistaken ideas about rape have resulted in a great deal of secrecy, silence, and shame surrounding the subject. Lack of understanding, awareness, and open communication about rape only adds to the suffering of victims.

Marital rape is illegal in 18 American states, 3 Australian states, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Rape in any form is an act of utter humiliation, degradation and violation rather than an old concept of penetration. The nation, pregnant with misconceptions of rape, deeply ingrained cultural and religious stereotypes, and changing social values, must quickly alter the letter of the law.

Awareness must be increased

Marriage does not thrive on sex and the fear of frivolous litigation should not stop protection from being offered to those caught in abusive traps, where they are reduced to the status of a chattel. Apart from judicial awakening, we primarily require generation of awareness. Men are the perpetrators of this crime. “Educating boys and men to view women as valuable partners in life, in the development of society and the attainment of peace are just as important as taking legal steps protect women’s human rights,” says the UN. Men have the social, economic, moral, political, religious and social responsibility to combat all forms of gender discrimination.

Organisations working for victims of sexual violence were quick to point out that the new law has serious omissions: Most prominently, it does not criminalise marital rape. A woman raped by her husband continues to have no recourse under Indian law. The UN Population Fund states that more than two thirds of married women in India, aged between 15 and 49, have been beaten, raped or forced to provide sex.

Archaic laws

Fifty-six per cent of Indian women believed occasional wife-beating to be justified. The marital rape exemption can be traced to statements by Sir Mathew Hale, Chief Justice in England, during the 1600s. He wrote, “The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife hath given herself in kind unto the husband, whom she cannot retract.”

Section 375, the provision of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), echoes very archaic sentiments, mentioned as its exception clause, “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” Is marital rape a myth? Can we come out of this misconception and confusion?

Marital rape is a form of sexual offence and a form of violence against women in any form. It constitutes a violation of women’s human rights such as the right to equal protection of the law, liberty and security of the person and freedom from discrimination. Sex becomes the weapon, the vehicle to accomplish the desired result, which is to overwhelm, overpower, embarrass, and humiliate another person.

Further, marriage doesn’t mean recovered permission to sexual advancements. Some wives withhold sex from their husbands and their sexual drive or libido is so low that they can seldom make love to their husbands. However, these reasons do not constitute a license for husbands to rape their wives. Men who rape wives generally have multiple sexual partners. When their wives say no, it hurts their ego and in order to show their authority and supremacy, they force their wives.

Let us not use the notions of privacy and sanctity of marriage to condone or ignore sexual violence. It is a deep topic and it needs debate.

It was first published on Bonobology.com.

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Forgiveness – The Only Way

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Forgiveness this very word is yet to be understood. How easy to say forgive but it took me a hell lot of struggle to decipher the exact meaning of the term. It was an exasperating task to me. I was attacked by gluttony, sloth, anger, resentment, self seeking and enviousness.

Thanks to the spiritual seed that was ingrained by my parents earlier in my childhood. But as I was growing up , during the initial day of my struggle in my career I was hooked on alcohol. That high gave me a sky to fly but took away my wings. Life is not a bed of roses. We all have our pains and agonies. Few years back I was assaulted by my own fraternity members ( Lawyers ) because of my honesty. I was felt with self pity and victim mentality. Life is a topsy-turvy.

I hit the rock bottom of my life and the rock was God. I came back to my folder. I started praying for those who have assaulted me. I asked in my prayers, “ God , please give them everything what you have given to me – Health, Prosperity and Happiness.” Because I wanted to to let go for myself. They change or don’t change is not my priority. My need is a peace of mind and that is all important.

I forgive them or anyone not because they/he/she deserve(s) forgiveness, but because I deserve peace. I am not forgiving for the good of the other person. I am forgiving for the good of myself so that I can be free & move on. If I am to heal fully, I will need to forgive fully.

Self-care is always selfish. A solitary brooding young man – poetic rumination !I have a right to self-define. I enjoy being me.There is no recipe, no formula, and no guidebook for self care. We each have a guide, and that guide is within us. We need to ask the question: What do I need to do to take loving, responsible care of myself? Then, we need to listen to the answer. Self-care is not that difficult. The most challenging part is trusting the answer, and having the courage to follow through once we hear it. Garal ke sumander mein bhi Ganga Jal niklega !

The endeavour, the venture, the quest before you is never greater than the power behind you.  You are only human and perfection doesn’t exist. Focus on your strengths I don’t precisely know what you need to do to take care of yourself.But I know you can figure it out. No matter what you do in life, what or who you are, the first thing you need to do is take care of yourself. Avoid people, places and things, where you get negative vibes. Earlier, I was feeling guilty whether by saying No the other person might feel bad. But now It has become a Habit, i mean in a positive manner. Start by making “no” the default.  By saying yes, you are saying no to one of your needs, wants, or goals. Self Improvement or self care is divine.

I m powerless , restore me to sanity , I surrender my life , my will to you , Thy Will , not mine , be done . Show me the way towards acceptance , tolerance , self restraint , patience , awareness , clarity of thought , vision , forgiveness . How do I best serve Thee? Thy Will !

WOW: How Can You Celebrate Forgiveness?

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

The Book I most Like

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“Siddhartha “– By Herman Hesse is the book which inspired me in my journey and in my quest. I always found the Character something similar to my existence. My Parents gave me the name, “Siddhartha,” What am I doing? I am just doing the opposite.

We all have our karmic calling. We go through different phases of our life and so was, “Siddhartha” – the protagonist. He was not content with his pursuits, paraphernalia and trappings. We don’t have to satisfy anyone except ourselves that this condition works. Siddhartha is not a novel – it is a Jeevan Darshan – Life Philosophy.

Each day is a new beginning and the inner spark will trigger we don’t know. We have to just aware and that one second brings awareness. Awareness never comes philosophy or reading books or intellectually – it is the pain that gives momentum to our growth. Spirituality is about Watching –witnessing my life as simple as it is, rather than intellectualising and giving logic and arguments. Father Leo tells, “My pain belongs in my life because it is mine! “

Spiritual experience never comes from thinking or philosophizing about it but  only by doing practically , applying in our own life. And it happened with me. I was never satisfied with anything and nothing. Life was cacophony to me. Narcissism and Ego was playing “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde “, with me. It was quite scary. I have learned from my rock bottom that whatever scary first accept it. Awareness, Acceptance and change of Attitude are the three essence of spiritual life. Spiritual life is not a theory but we have to live it. We all have our idiosyncrasies, abnormalities and character defects. Unless we accept , we can’t grow. Taking rigorous inventories and introspection help bring a change in our persona. We evolve in one day at a time basis.

Recovery is not a destination, it is journey- What I learned from this Book Siddhartha . There is a quote from the Book Journey to the Heart ,- “Go beyond what you hear with your ears. Learn to hear what you’re really saying, and what others are really saying to you. Souls do talk. Listen quietly. Listen to your own. Learn to hear the voice of others. A little soul talk goes a long way.”

THIS POST IS WRITTEN FOR NOVEMBERSCHILD IN ASSOCIATION WITH KALAMPEDIA – QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE”

 

Heart To Heart with God

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Life is a chain of reaction. What you throw at others, it comes around. Everything is karmic and the Universe conspires. Sometimes the god listens to you directly, may be for a second or for a minute or for an entire day. Yes, He listens.

It was at that point of time when I was completely broken and was on my rock bottom. I was ready to quit everything just get a sigh of relief and peace from all the mundane of life. I was an addict and I was boozing a lot. I lost everything because of that, i lost my happiness, my soul , my job and everything whatever you can guess. The poisonous impact of the addictive substance had ruptured by soul. And during that point of my darkness, the spark happened.

I was running from pillar to post to quit my addiction but everything was futile. Out of frustration and resentment I dialled a number of a closed friend,+915050567890. The phone rang and rang … on and on…. Heaven’s sake a reply came and voice was not buddy-buddy to me. I got astonished.

I asked Him, “Who are you ? I dialled a different number but perhaps there might be a cross-connection.” He replied, “Nothing is cross-connected. We are connected and I conspire everything because you have suffered a lot. I am your God.” I fumed at Him and said, “Are you making fun of me and mocking at my suffering? How sadist are you! Finally He had a big belly laugh and in His baritone countered me,” No, I am your God , trust me . I WON’T LEAVE YOU, YOUR SUFFERING IS COMING TO AN END.”

There were tears of ecstasy flowing from my eyes and I said, “I surrendered and do whatever You feel like doing. Let Thy will, not mine, be Done.” And that is the highest stage of Yoga. He said, “You have to leave everything for the sake of your recovery and rest My game is going to start.”

His cosmic game was to reform me and I started living One day at a time. I found I didn’t need magic to recover-I needed a miracle! Now I am walking miracles. Part of my miracle is that I see how important today is. I can’t change my future unless I change today. So I live One Day at a Time. By living today well, I make our future better. Crises will be there but it will diminish in number and in gravity in direct proportion to the partnership we develop with our Faith. The stronger our dependence on that Faith or Inner Voice, for all answers and all directions, the greater will our comfort be in all situations. Serenity is the gift promised when I let God handle my life. No crisis need worry us. The solution is only a prayer away.

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So, God is only a call away. Just dial HIM.Thank you God for everything.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

WOW: Conversation With God

My life song

 

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Raah pe rahate hai yado pe basar karte hai,Khush raho ahale vatan ho,Ham to safar karte hai .

It is very difficult to decipher the meaning of this song but whenever I listen to this particular song, it evokes a meaning to my life . Gulzar saab has this quality and I sync into it. People may start their life’s journey from equal staring point, but some achieve great heights in their careers where other fit into very ordinary lives. The parable of high speed highways and tiny side by lanes is so apt. We are all unique in our own way.

Most of us don’t think of ourselves as artists. Yet we are each given a profound, creative opportunity – to fashion a meaningful and worthwhile pattern in our lives. As we seek to do the will of God today, it is as if we are taking a lump of clay and creating an image from it.
In a book journey of the heart , it was written, “Young and old. Life and death. Tears and joy. All part of the same. Parts of the whole. I want to have it all… We may have heard those words many times. We may have said them ourselves many times. I want to have it all.”

Connect to the parts. You do have it all. You’ve had it all, all along.

Friendship is beyond

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Walking is not poverty , so driving a car is not wealth. A wise person builds his investment till it grows to service his luxurious. ” – Dad‘s Quote #FreedomEducation

He is my father’s childhood friend , ” Akura “. He is a Kumpatiya. Simpleton . He has never seen any cities. Not even Sambalpur. His immune power is much stronger than many of us. You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate.

” There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” ― Mother Teresa, A Simple Path: Mother Teresa

The Third sex – An overview

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The Third sex  – An overview

The words “hijra”, “khusra” or “khwajasara” make us have goosebumps, we ridicule them, crack disgusting jokes questioning there sexual identity. We never realizing what are those poor creatures facing, a crises that excommunicates them from there family, loved ones, education from all the major social spheres of life. we never ask this question “ARE WE DOING JUSTICE TO THE THIRD GENDER?”

The eunuchs or hijras have been an integral part of Indian society since time immemorial.  An estimated 5–6 million eunuchs live in India.In modern day India, eunuchs often live a ghetto-like existence, in their own communities. They make a living by dancing and celebrating in births and marriages but often have to resort to other means to make both ends meet. Yet, the community isbeginning to make a mark in the national mainstream as well. A member of the eunuch community, Shabnam Mausi, was elected as a member of the legislative assembly in 1999. Others have been elected as mayors and municipality presidents.

The term eunuch – hijra – that we commonly use to mean a ‘sexless’ person has been defined in the dictionary as a castrated man. A hermaphrodite is a creature possessing both the male and female organs. A transvestite is a person who chooses a sex other than the one he/she is born as. Facts tell us that neutralized neutral-sex persons are a rarity. The hijra population in India has a well-defined group structure and regional affiliations with a group head. Though Balucharaji is their Goddess and they revere Ambe Mata, there are religious demarcations. Most of them identify with the female sex. Within the eunuch community, incest is absent. Most of them have worked as prostitutes at one time or another.  Research shows that some persons labeled hijra in India are both prostitutes and celebrants of rites of passage.

Hijras trace their origins to myths in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Rama, while leaving for the forest upon being banished from the kingdom for 14 years, turns around to his followers and asks all the `men and women’ to return to the city. Among his followers the hijras alone do not feel bound by this direction and decide to stay with him. Impressed with their devotion, Rama sanctions them the power to confer blessings on people on auspicious occasions like childbirth and marriage, and also at inaugural functions. This set the stage for the custom of badhai in which hijras sing, dance and confer blessings.

The legend in the Mahabharata is that Aravan, the son of Arjuna and Nagakanya, offers to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali to ensure the victory of the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war. The only condition that he made was to spend the last night of his life in matrimony. Since no woman was willing to marry one who was doomed to be killed, Krishna assumes the form of a beautiful woman called Mohini and marries him. The hijras of Tamil Nadu consider Aravan their progenitor and call themselves aravanis.

Hindu epics, puranas and mythology are replete with the courageous feats of true hermaphrodites who, within these scriptures, have always been referred to as the ‘third sex.’ “But after the Arab attack in the eighth century, castration of males in order to put them on specific jobs began on a large scale” writes S. N. Ranade . Centuries ago, guards to king’s harems were castrated to ensure that no co-habitation between royal wives and guards took place. This led to the creation of the ‘third sex’ – the castrated eunuchs. But it was not the end of the story. These sexless wonders realized that perversions did exist in society. Many males found them distractingly attractive. And the potential ‘femme fatale’ was born.

Transgender communities have existed in most parts of the world with their own local identities, customs and rituals. They arecalled baklas in the Philippines, berdaches among American Indian tribes, serrers in Africa and hijras, jogappas, jogtas, shiv-shaktis and aravanis in South Asia. The hijra community in India, which has a recorded history of more than 4,000 years, was considered to have special powers because of its third-gender status. It was part of a well-established `eunuch culture’ in many societies, especially in West Asia, and its members held sanctioned positions in royal courts.

The Eunuchs are deprived of their fundamental rights guaranteed under the part III of the Constitution. Article 5 of the Constitution of India clearly states citizenship as the political status of a person and domicile to his civil rights. A person may be without a home but he cannot be without a domicile and the law must attribute to him the domicile of the country where he was born. This is called the domicile of origin and a person acquires it at his birth . The Supreme Court has also held that citizens include natural persons in the State Trading Corporation case . The Eunuchs in the instant case are citizens of India; still the Eunuchs are deprived of the civil rights guaranteed to the citizens of India. As there is no gender conformity their ability to access the basic civil rights available to all citizens guaranteed under the Constitution are adversely affected.

Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides that “the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”. In the given case the transgender are deprived of the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Article 7 of the UN. Declaration of Human Rights provides that “All areequal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of law”.

The Indian state policy has not recognized the transgender either as male or female and has failed to recognize hijaras [transgender] as women or man or a third sex. This act of omission on the part of the Government of India has totally deprived the transgender community of several rights which include, right to vote, right to own property, right to marry, right to claim a formal identity through a passport and a ration card, driving license and even employment.

The Constitution has not made any provisions in determining the sex of the transgender community. But the medical jurisprudence clearly explains the sex determination in doubtful cases can be done with accuracy .

Article 15 of the Constitution of India provides that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. The main purpose of Article 15 is to provide equal civil rights to all the citizens without discrimination on the grounds mentioned under the article. It also provides for the state to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens. Backwardness must be both social and educational, caste cannot be the criteria for the determination of the backward class of people . In the given case the transgender community can be considered as social backward class of people and special provisions can be made by the state for their upliftment, but, no such action is been taken by the Government. This shows the breach of duty that has been casted upon the government by the Constitution of India.

There are about 1.2 million eunuchs residing in India. They are deprived of various human rights like right to vote, right to contest in election, right to marry, right to hold ration card etc. They are deprived of such rights because India recognizes only 2 sexes, that is, male and female , and eunuchs being the third sex are being deprived of exercising their rights as all the fundamental rights are available only to male and female.

However, when it comes to criminal liability they are not excluded. The courts always include them either under male or female. But in case of civil rights the courts do not consider them as a legal entity. The Constitution of India provides various rights to ‘person’. Person means natural person and artificial person. Natural person includes all human beings and the eunuchs are no doubt from the human race and they must come under the category of natural person. Two Articles under the Constitution of India i.e., Article 15 and Article 16 have used the word ‘sex’ and the term sex include transgender also. The courts have often interpreted the term ‘ sex’ in a narrow sense that is male and female, and have not recognized the third sex, that is the eunuchs, which indeed has resulted in the eunuchs being deprived of the basic civil and human rights such as right to vote .

This view of law is contrary to the interpretation of the legislature. Before independence there was an act enacted to regulate the activities of the eunuch community. This clearly indicates that they are a legal entity. And also in the statute, wherever the term ‘person’ is defined it has never been specifically mentioned that eunuchs are excluded from the term person. Thus the interpretation of the term ‘sex’ by the courts in India have unfair and not satisfactory thereby violating the rights of the eunuchs.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. The right to life and personal liberty are inherent in human beings. Thus, Article 21 seeks to protect these inherent rights by prohibiting the state or any person from depriving a person of the right to life or personal liberty except in accordance with a procedure established by law.

The Supreme Court of India has interpreted the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of Constitution of India to include the right to privacy, right to dignity and right to health. The Supreme Court for the first time, recognized that domiciliary visits, which were unauthorized by law violated the personal liberty of individual . In the case in hand the right to privacy of Eunuchs of Sukasthan has been infringed by the state police by arbitrary intrusion into their privacy.

Further, the Constitution requires the rights of the marginalization and unpopular to be protected, even in the face of public disapproval. Mere public preference cannot be a sufficient justification for curtailing a right . Article 21 of the Constitution of India also guards the right to dignity, every citizen of India has a right to live with dignity and through the act of omission on the part of the Government, the Eunuchs have been deprived of their right to dignity, because of non conformity of their sex, they have no access to the rights available to every citizen and it also affects their right to dignity. It is submitted that the states justification on maintenance of public morality for the infringement is not sufficient cause.

Therefore the state is violating the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India in relation to the Eunuchs and the transgender community. It is submitted that the government has a duty cast upon it by the Constitution of India to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens of India, which has to be done by classification of the Eunuchs either under male or female and providing access to all the rights available to every citizen of India.

Hijras (Eunuchs) in India have virtually no safe spaces, not even in their families, where they are protected from prejudice and abuse. The PUCL(K) Report on Human Rights Violations against the Transgender Community has documented the kind of prejudice that hijras face in Bangalore. The report shows that this prejudice is translated into violence, often of a brutal nature, in public spaces, police stations, prisons and even in their homes. The main factor behind the violence is that society is not able to come to terms with the fact that hijras do not conform to the accepted gender divisions. In addition to this, most hijras have a lower middle-class background, which makes them susceptible to harassment by the police. The discrimination based on their class and gender makes the hijra community one of the most disempowered groups in Indian society. The systematic violence that hijras face is reinforced by the institutions such as the family, media and the medical establishments and is given legitimacy by the legal system. The hijras face many sorts of state and societal harassments such as:

Harassment by the police in public places
Harassment at home
Police entrapment
Abuse/harassment at police stations
Rape in jails

The law that is used most to threaten the hijra and kothi communities, as well as the homosexual community in India, is Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” even if it isvoluntary. In effect, it criminalizes certain kinds of sexual acts that are perceived to be `unnatural’. The law, which has its origin in colonial ideas of morality, in effect presumes that a hijra or a homosexual person is engaging in `carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, thus making this entire lot of marginalized communities vulnerable to police harassment and arrest. The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) of 1956 (amended in 1986), whose stated objective is to criminalize brothel-keeping, trafficking, pimping and soliciting, in reality targets the visible figure of the sex worker and enables the police to arrest and intimidate the transgender sex-worker population.

According to the two main diagnostic systems used in the Indian medical establishment, transsexualism is defined as a `gender identity disorder’. The doctors usually prescribe a sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), which currently resorts to hormone therapy and surgical reconstruction and may include electrolysis, speech therapy and counseling. Surgical construction could include the removal of male sex organs and the construction of female ones. Since government hospitals and qualified private practitioners do not usually perform SRS, many hijras go to quacks, thus placing themselves at serious risk. Neither the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) nor the Medical Council of India (MCI) has formulated any guidelines to be followed in SRS. The attitude of the medical establishment has only reinforced the low sense of self-worth that many hijras have at various moments in their lives.

With every single thing going against the Eunuchs; a notable amount of awareness has also been seen all over the world. Around the world, countries are beginning to recognize the rights of transgender people. In a landmark judgment (Christine Goodwin vs. the United Kingdom, 2002) the European Court of Human Rights declared that the U.K. government’s failure to alter the birth certificates of transsexual people or to allow them to marry in their new gender role was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. It said that a test of biological factors could no longer be used to deny recognition legally to the change of gender that a transsexual had undergone. In New Zealand, in New Zealand Attorney General vs. the Family Court at Otahuhu(1994), the court upheld the principle that for purposes of marriage, transsexual people should be legally recognized in their re-assigned sex.

Of  late the Indian hijra community has begun to mobilize themselves through the formation of a collective. Sangama, an organization working with hijras, kothis and sex workers in Bangalore, has played an important role by helping them organize and fight for their rights. Its services include organizing a drop-in centre for hijras and kothis, conducting a series of public rallies and marches, using legal assistance in case of police harassment, and establishing links with other social movements.

The organizations of the hijra community can be seen as constituting a larger movement of sexual minority groups in India. Theyare challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 and are organizing a campaign questioning the government’s stand that the law should remain. The discrimination and violence that hijras face show that it is high time that both the government and the human rights movement in the country begin to take this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

Yet, It is difficult to warm up to this strange creature we meet in the train or on the streets, with exaggerated gestures, a low-cut blouse sans breasts, a voice so raucous and manly and a manner so obscenely revolting that our immediate response is to shy away in disgust. We silently fume at this person’s gumption in demanding – not asking – not requesting – not begging, mind you – some money in exchange for a package deal in blessings – sukh, paisa and beta. But for this strange species of humanity, who happen to be eunuchs more by design than by birth or accident and rarely by choice, nothing is what seems to be. When a section of human beings becomes a cliché of our making, never mind the pressures of our social conditioning, it is time we questioned their claim to be treated only as normal human beings who can love and hate, construct and destroy, as strongly and as powerfully as ordinary mortals can.

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