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Title: The Social Exclusion of Eunuchs (Hijras) in Punjab, Pakistan
Authors: Ahmed, Umair
Keywords: Social Sciences
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: University of Sargodha, Sargodha.
Abstract: Hijras are a heterogeneous group of persons in Pakistan with ambiguous identities that might be categorized as sex and genderqueer. Even though there is no moral and religious justification for the marginalization of Hijras in Pakistan, they are even seen as outcasts in society. There was no third gender category in the National Identity Card until 2009 because Hijras were not considered legal "citizens" by the government of Pakistan. They also did not have the right to vote till 2012. Apart from legal issues, Hijras suffers several civil society issues, including family violence, illiteracy, and a lack of access to health care and economic opportunities. Despite their social marginalization, no comprehensive research of their social and institutional experiences has been conducted thus far. More significantly, there is a lack of knowledge of Hijras' lives and how they interact with Pakistan's legal and administrative machinery. This makes it difficult to comprehend their issues and determine the success of any initiatives to ameliorate their socio-economic circumstances. This dissertation addresses these gaps by focusing on Hijras in Pakistan, a socially excluded and marginalized community traditionally classified as neither men nor women. This research looks at the multiple intersections between government and socially excluded groups of society. Through an interpretive research methodology, the present study also investigates some research questions related to the legal and self-identity of Hijras, as well as its impact on their changed legal status, their experiences with informal institutions, and their interactions with public and private frontline officials. The study was qualitative, and person-centered ethnography was conducted in Lahore, Multan, and Rawalpindi, the metropolitan and most populous cities of Punjab, Pakistan. During my ten months extended fieldwork, I conducted 50 person-centered interviews with Hijras. In addition, I conducted 19 semi-structured interviews with frontline public officials from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), the Department of Social Welfare, and a local NGO, as well as a group interview with 12 frontline police officers. During these interviews, I tried to understand the interactions of Hijras and frontline public officials and their impact on the personal identity and citizenship of the Hijras. Furthermore, I focused on the attitude of the frontline public officials towards policy changes related to the Hijras and their social circumstances. After the fieldwork, I coded the collected data by using qualitative thematic content analysis in MAXQDA. I also analyzed the main themes from the data by using multiple theoretical perspectives to develop my findings. The study reveals that the legal status of Hijras, as defined by the Pakistani Supreme Court, has minimal relevance and benefits (both materials and non-materials) for the majority of Hijras. They prefer to register as men instead. During the state-citizen interactions, mostly Hijras are subjected to hyper-surveillance, moral policing, and increased administrative barriers. As a result, they (Hijras) are still marginalized and socially excluded even after the Supreme Court's decision. Formal public policy, societal discourses about gender identity, and informal institutions all play a vital role in these interactions. I explore the consequences of my research and how they might help the Hijras live in a more inclusive society. My study contributes to the field of administrative constraints, daily citizenship, and social inclusion in public policy by doing so.
Gov't Doc #: 23688
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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