As teacher, eunuch chooses a life of dignity

What is unusual is the profession she has strived to be in, instead of being limited to singing and dancing on social occasions like most other eunuchs in India. Lata teaches at the Central Public School in Mugalsarai town of Chandauli district, 300 km from state capital Lucknow.

"A eunuch donning the role of a teacher is highly unlikely, as in Indian society the community is subjected to mockery and ridicule," Lata told IANS over telephone from Chandauli.

"Eunuchs are also human beings, why don't people realise that? We also have brains and can do much more than dance and sing at weddings and other social functions.
Given an opportunity eunuchs too can do various jobs, but they need to take an initiative in this regard," said Lata.

Fondly referred to as "didi" or elder sister, Lata primarily teaches English and mathematics to students from Classes 1 to 4.

Appearing more like a woman than a man, Lata, who has shoulder-length hair, dresses in a woman's attire, mostly a grey coloured sari with a matching blouse.

"Lata appears more like a woman. It's not because of the physical appearance that we call her didi. The main reason is her caring and considerate nature.

Lata come across as an elder sister to students and all of us," school principal Vinay Kumar told IANS over telephone from Chandauli.

Kumar is the person who had inducted Lata as a teacher in the school a year ago.
"Around a year back, there were some vacancies for teachers in our school. Lata approached me in my office and asked me whether eunuchs could apply," said Kumar.

"I replied in the affirmative, thinking she was not being serious. Taking a dig at Lata, I also went on to add that there's no educational qualification for eunuchs and they only need to qualify in a test," said Kumar.

"To my surprise, Lata not only appeared for the test but also got a good score. Then I decided to keep my word and offered Lata the job of a teacher," he added.

Lata, originally a native of Bihar, lived for several years in slums there with other eunuchs. Chandauli shares a border with Bihar.

"My parents were, of course, aware of my natural deformities. But they still chose to keep me with them for several years. Gradually, feminine traits continued. I could not control myself and neighbours and other relatives came to know, forcing my parents to drive me out," said Lata.

Fortunately, Lata had completed Class 12 by that time. My parents were influenced by relatives and neighbours who told them that my presence would adversely affect the matrimonial prospects of my older siblings. Later, some eunuchs took me away and would force me to dance and ing at weddings," said Lata.

"I had to spend several years in slums. I was completely fed up with my life and one day decided to leave the eunuch locality. I had to face many hardships; people used me in many ways.

"But with god's grace I managed to get a respectable job in the school," said Lata, who is being encouraged by the school to take up a graduation programme through distance education.

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