MUMBAI: A social organisation here marked Independence Day Monday a bit differently — by launching a unique project to provide dignified employment to eunuchs and wean them away from their life of beggary and sex trade.
Welfare group Anam Prem organised an Independence Day program in which 15 eunuchs were invited and given simple but dignified jobs of washing cars, autorickshaws and two-wheelers.
“We have been thinking of something like this for months and even visited the eunuchs in red-light districts of south Mumbai. One group of the eunuchs, a majority of whom are illiterates or semi-literates, happily accepted our proposal to start a life of dignity from today,” the organisation’s head, Mr Raj Nair said.
Entitled ‘Gaadi Chakachak’, the initiative has been given a wider name ‘Project Third I’, representing transgenders of all types who are shunned by society and deprived of respectable jobs, said the project co-ordinator, Mr Santosh Joglekar.
To begin with, residents of Abhishek Society in Borivli east have agreed to award their monthly vehicle washing contract to eunuchs willing to take up the job.
With around 50 vehicles, each eunuch will get around three-four vehicles to wash daily with a payment of Rs 400-500 per month per vehicle.
“Other complexes too have also come forward and given the eunuchs a chance to discard their old profession,” Mr Nair said.
Soumya, one of the eunuchs who took over the task of washing at least four vehicles, said she was desperately looking for “a decent job” both in Chennai from where she hails and in Mumbai since the past four years.
“Though I am an arts graduate, I was physically prevented from entering office complexes, let alone giving interviews for jobs,” Soumya said.
Citing similar instances, Soumya said that defeated by the social forces and lack of official support from the government, the estimated 25,000-strong eunuch community resorted to forcible begging, barging into marriage or other private functions to ask for money, and commercial sex.
At the function, held in the society’s premises, the eunuchs were welcomed with sweets and garlands and assured full support of the members if they were prepared to give up their traditional professions. Soumya and her group thanked the society members for the new beginning and said they would like all their ilk to start life afresh.