“Zoo, Zoo, Zoo… we are off to the zoo”. My older one went ranting around the house from the wee hours of the morning. He was excited to the core since the time he caught me telling my husband that “Let’s take the children out to the zoo.” His little sister who is nine months old and is still alien to the concept of zoo’s and movies and all that, could feel her brother’s excitement and jumped around with him.
So we were finally packed with water bottles and biscuits and sandwiches and loaded ourselves in the car. My older one grabbed the window seat and pulled the pane down. We were barely out of our building gates when we were stopped by the pandemonium caused by the arrival of three eunuchs. As soon as we drove by, they cowered around our car and one was quick to stand next to the window where my son was sitting. The other two crowded around my husband’s window asking for money. My older one started telling me “Aunty is calling you, Mama”. I tried my best to feign ignorance and shield my younger one from the eunuch. My husband taken by surprise was fiddling with his wallet to give out some money. He gave a tenner to each of them and we moved on.
My son was asking me “Mummy, why was Aunty asking us for money”. I managed to give some vague answer. Honestly speaking, I didn’t have an answer for him. Neither did my husband. Normally, the logic that is used by the society when someone begs is that the person does not want to work hard and get a dignified living. Hence he/she resorts to easier ways like asking alms, thievery, etc.
In this case, they resort to begging because the society makes them beg. We do not recognize them as equal and respectable members of our society. No one is ready to employ them or take the efforts to change the mindset that thrives in this land of “Akbar, the great, Rani LakshmiBai and Gandhiji”
I recollect a news clipping which talked about a couple who gave birth to a baby eunuch. The husband and in-laws spurned the baby and wanted to give it up. The mother fought back and decided to keep the baby, only to invite a divorce sheet from her husband.
India might be fast moving from a developing nation to a developed nation. We would have succeeded in sending people to the moon, and launching our own personal satellite system. But it will be truly developed when there is respect for humanity here. I am not sure how the society will reform to accept the eunuchs as an integral part of our culture. I am not sure whether I will take the step towards this reformation? Will you?