This paper seeks to explore who Bahuchara Mata is, and what she means for the hijras of Gujarat. In this context, I will be exploring the manner in which her worship and significance legitimize the social roles of her worshippers, primarily the hijras. I will be discussing the prominent myths surrounding Bahuchara Mata, and what these imply for the intersecting identities of gender and class. I will then be exploring what the processes of Brahmanization and Sanskritization mean for the worship of Bahuchara Mata, and more importantly, how do her devotees react to this. I will be discussing the distinct differences in the iconographies of the Goddess between calendar art depictions, and hijra depictions. I will then go on to talk about other myths of Bahuchara Mata, and what this implies for her intervention in the lives of her devotees. I will be also discussing the context of the Becharaji, which is the main pilgrimage spot for hijra devotees of Bahuchara Mata. This will lead into a discussion of the legal rights of the hijra community, and how the worship of Bahuchara Mata plays a role in the fight for LGBTQ rights. The paper is interspaced with interview accounts from members of the hijra community, whose invaluable inputs were essential for the research. I have attached two appendices – Appendix I contains two images that might be useful for reference, while Appendix II contains the Hindi transcriptions of interviews with community members.
Removed from view at the request of the author.
More About This Work
- Academic Units
- Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures (Barnard College)
- Published Here
- May 25, 2016