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Transgender, किन्नर

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Transgender, किन्नर

Description

The hill people of the modern Kannur region in the Kinnar Himalayas, whose language belongs to the family of dialects like Kannauri, Galcha, Lahauli etc.

Kinnar is the name of a human race that lived in the Himalayan regions, whose main centers were Himavat and Hemkoot. Not only are their discussions found in the stories and narratives of the Puranas and Mahabharata, descriptions of their form, residence and activities are also found in some literary texts like Kadambari. As is clear from their name ‘Kin+Nar’, their gender and shape are not considered to be completely human. It is possible that what is meant by eunuchs is those pale skinned people with Mongol bloodline living in the said region, in whom male-female distinction cannot be made easily due to geographical and blood related characteristics. There are two theories about the origin of Kinnaras – one is that they were born from Brahma’s shadow or his toe and the other is that Arishta and Kashpaya were their progenitors. Kailash, the sacred peak of the Himalayas, was the main abode of eunuchs, where they used to serve Lord Shankar. They are considered to be singers and devotees of the gods and it is believed that like the Yakshas and Gandharvas, they were adept in dancing and singing. Virat Purush, Indra and Hari were his worshipers and it is said in the Puranas that he had gone to Dwarka to see Krishna. There are stories of knowing their religion from the Saptarishis. They had hundreds of followers and Chitraratha was their chief ruler.

A concept of human and animal or bird combined in Indian art. Its concept is very ancient. Shatapatha Brahmana (7.5.2.32) mentions a Kinnar with a horse-faced human body. In Buddhist literature, Kinnar has been imagined as a human-faced bird. In Mansar, there is description of Kinnar in Garudmukhi, human body and animal form. This idea has been depicted in many inscriptions of Bharhut.

Kinnar in mythological texts and literature
Edit
In mythological texts, Vedas, Puranas and even literature, Kinnar is a very prestigious and important primitive caste living in the Himalayan region, whose descendants are considered to be the residents of the present tribal district Kinnaur [1]. Even in the Constitution, they have been addressed as Kinnaura and Kinnar. When the tribe certificate is given to the people of Kinnaur, it is clearly written in it – ‘the people of Kinnaur District belongs to Kinnaura or Kinnar Tribe which is recognized as Scheduled Tribe under the Scheduled Tribes List(modification) order 1956 and the State of Himachal Pradesh Act, 1970’.

The definition of Kinnar given on page 8 of the third volume of the Hindi Encyclopedia (1963) published in 12 volumes by Nagaripracharini Sabha is as follows – 1: Kinnar are the hills of modern Kannur region in the Himalayas, whose language is Kannauri, Galcha, Lahauli etc. Belongs to the family of Botis.

2: Kinnar is the name of a human race inhabiting the region of Himachal, whose main centers were Himavat and Hemkoot. Not only are their discussions found in the stories and narratives of the Puranas and Mahabharata, descriptions of their appearance, residence and activities are also found in some literary texts like Kandbari. There are two theories in the origin of eunuchs. -One is that he was born from Brahma’s shadow or his toe and second is that Arishtha and Kashyap were his ancestors. Kailash, the sacred peak of Himachal, was the main residence of eunuchs, where they used to serve Lord Shankar. They were considered singers and devotees of the gods and were proficient in dancing and singing like the Yakshas and Gandharvas. They had hundreds of followers and Chitrarath was their chief ruler.

3: Human and animal or bird combined is an idea of Indian art. Its idea is very ancient. Shatapatha Brahmana (7.5.2.32) mentions a Kinnar having a horse-faced human body. In Buddhist literature, Kinnar has been imagined as a human-faced bird. In Mansar, there is a description of the eagle-headed, human-bodied and animal-like forms of Kinnar.

4: Kinnari Veena has been mentioned in Sanskrit texts.

Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan has made several trips to Kinnaur, which he considers to be the ancient ‘Kinnar country’ and has written several books. To understand the historical and cultural importance of Kinnar Desh and Kinnar caste, his well-known books are ‘Kinnar Desh’ and ‘Himachal’. According to him, ‘This is a eunuch country. The word Kimpurusha is also used in Sanskrit for eunuch, hence its name is also Kimpurusha or Kimpurushavarsha. Kinnar or Kimpurusha was considered a vagina of the gods. Nowadays Kinnar natives are called Kinnaura in Kinnaur. Earlier the Kinnaur or Kinnar area was very extensive. Almost the entire Western Himalayas from Kashmir to East Nepal was definitely inhabited by the Kinnar caste. Kinnauri language is still spoken on the banks of Chandrabhaga (Chanav) river. It is written in ‘Vimanavatthu (2nd-3rd century BC) of Suttapatika – “Chandrabhaganadi Tere Ahosin Kinnar Tada” – from which it is clear that even at that time, Kinnars used to live on the banks of Chanav in the mountainous part.’ Dr. Banshi Ram Sharma has written ‘Kinnar Lok’. Has written the book ‘Sahitya’ which is the first research book on eunuchs. In this book, it has been proved by giving many evidences that the people living in present day Kinnaur belong to Kinnar caste. The great poet Bharavi, in the Himalaya description section (fifth canto, verse 17) of his famous book Kiratarjuniya epic, has described the residence of gods and goddesses like Kinnars, Gandharvas, Yakshas and Apsaras in the country of Kinnars. In Vayupuran, the residence of eunuchs has been described on Mahaneel mountain. According to D.C. Sarkar (Cultural History from the Vayu Purana, 1946, Page 81), Kimpurush-Kinnar were also primitive castes who lived in Hemkoot. According to Matsya Purana, Kinnars are residents of Himavan mountain. According to Dr. Kanhaiya Lal Manik Lal Munshi, eunuchs live in an area of Himachal Pradesh. Women are called Kinnaris who are very beautiful. She has also been called Kinnar Kanthi. In Harivansh Purana, Kinnaris have been described as adorning themselves with flowers and leaves and being very skilled in singing and dancing. Bhima has described in Shanti Parva that eunuchs are very virtuous and can be appointed as servants in the harem. Kartikeya Nagar always resonates with the melodious songs of eunuchs.

In Digvijay Parva of Mahabharata, there is a description of Arjun going to the country of eunuchs. ‘The mighty brave Arjuna crossed Dhavalagiri and went to the country of Kimpurusha, protected by the son of Druma, where eunuchs resided. He conquered that country by destroying the Kshatriyas in a fierce battle. Chandra Chakravati has written in his famous book ‘Literary History of Ancient India’ that Kinnars live in Kullu Valley, Lahaul and Rampur on the western bank of Sutlej along the border with Tibet. There are also pictures of Guhriyaks, Kiratas and Kinnars in the wall paintings of Ajanta. These paintings have historical importance as they present a religious and social glimpse of the period between the third to eighth century AD. Descriptions of eunuchs also appear in Buddhist texts. In Chand Kinnar Jataka, it has been said that Bodhisattva was born in the form of Kinnar in the Himalayan region. In this context, many stories of eunuchs and eunuchs are described in this book. The great poet Kalidas has given a beautiful description of the eunuchs in his immortal book Kumar Sambhav (First Canto, Verse 11, 14), the Hindi translation of which is – ‘Where the eunuchs, suffering from the heavy weight of their buttocks and breasts, do not abandon their natural slowness, even though the path, On which the rock-like snow has accumulated, giving pain to their fingers and heels.’ In the Puranas, eunuchs have been called divine singers. They are the children of Kashyap and reside in the Himalayas. According to Vayupuran, Kinnars were the sons of Ashwamukhs. He had many members and was proficient in singing and dancing. There were about a hundred cities of eunuchs at many places in the Himalayas. The people there were very happy and prosperous. The rulers of these states were kings Drum, Sugriva, Saniya, Bhagdat etc. who were considered very powerful. Kinnars had control over large areas of the Himalayas. Kinnaur has also been mentioned in detail historically and culturally in the Gazetteer of Kinnaur.

Apart from this, many scholars and litterateurs have mentioned the Kinnar country and the Kinnar tribe living in Kinnaur in their research books, travel books, articles and poems. These include not only scholars and writers from Himachal but also writers from India and abroad. Recently, two books of Kinnaur resident researcher and writer Tessie Tshering Negi are noteworthy. The first book “Kinnari Civilization and Literature” has been published by Delhi Sahitya Academy. Recently his second book has also been published titled “History of Kinnar Desh”. It was released by Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh at the same time when Madhur Bhandarkar’s film was banned. Shri Sharabh Negi’s book “Himalaya Putra Kinnar Ki Lok Gatha” is the first authentic book on Kinnar folk tales. SR Harnot has also mentioned Kinnaur and Kinnar history and culture in detail in his books “Travel-Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul” and “Himachal’s Temples and Folk Tales”. The book “History of Himachal Pradesh” written by the famous writer of Himachal Mian Govardhan Singh is also an authentic book in this context. At present, many research students not only in Himachal Pradesh University but also in many other universities located outside the state, including JNU, are doing research on Kinnar folk songs, history and Kinnar folk literature.Other meaningsEditNowadays the word ‘kinnar’ is also used for eunuchs. The High Court of Madhya Pradesh has ruled that Hijras are men and cannot be considered women. The High Court has upheld a lower court’s decision that eunuchs are ‘technically’ men.

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