Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Aravani (Transgender)

  • Susan Deborah SelvarajEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_830-1

Synonyms

Introduction

Aravani is a Tamil term for male-to-female transgendered person also known as transwoman and transsexual in many other parts of the world. An aravani is a male by birth but chooses to become a woman as the individual feels that he is a woman dwelling in a man’s body. Susan Stryker in Transgender History defines “transgender” as a broad category, referring to people “who move away from the gender they were assigned at birth, people who cross over (trans-) the boundaries constructed by their culture to define and contain the gender” [1]. They are popularly known as hijra in the northern parts of India. The male after he undergoes the emasculation is known as aravani. The term “aravani” could have originated from the myth of Aravan from the Mahabharat, which is often quoted by the male-to-female transgenders in Tamil Nadu, who also consider him as a deity and worship him. Aravan or Iravan is the son of Arjuna...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. 1.
    Stryker S (2008) Transgender history. Seal Press, BerkleyGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bahadur KP, Chib SS (1977) The castes, tribes & culture of India: north-eastern India: volume 8 of caste, tribes & culture of India: Assam. Ess Ess Publications, University of MichiganGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hiltebeitel A (1988) The cult of Draupadi: mythologies: from Gingee to Kuruksetra. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bharadvaja S (2008) Vyasa’s Mahabharatam. Academic, West BengalGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hiltebeitel A (1995) Dying before the Mahabharata war: martial and transsexual body-building for Aravan. J Asian Stud 54(2):447–473.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2058746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mitra MN (2010) The brides of Aravan. http://www.cmagazine.in/reportage/brides-aravan
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
    Nanda S (1999) Neither man nor woman. Wadsworth Publishing Company, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Thomas TM (2013) The clan culture of Hijras: an exploration into the gender identity and status of Hijras inside and outside Gharanas. https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/first-transgender-police-officer-of-india-969654-2017-04-05
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    Menon J (2007) First insurance scheme for transgenders, sex workers. http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/first-insurance-scheme-for-transgenders-sex-workers/207304/
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    India’s first transgender police officer appointed in Tamil Nadu. https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/first
  14. 14.
    Ramkumar P, Karthick S (2012) Meet India’s first transgender pastor. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Meet-Indias-first-transgender-pastor/articleshow/11772802.cms

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishM. E. S. College of Arts & CommerceZuarinagar, GoaIndia