Despite being known for their singing and dancing, their musicianship has never been taken seriously
Hierarchical structures exist, flourish and are evident in many segments of Indian society. In the world of music too, hierarchies have existed, with some amount of restructuring and reorganizing in response to changes that are inevitable with the passage of time. Among some of the most marginalized of communities that have conventionally been professionally associated with singing and dancing is possibly the hijra community of transgender individuals. Although references to hijras in India date back several centuries, it is in the early part of the 19th century that they are mentioned as performers who sing and dance at auspicious occasions like weddings, the birth of a child, or trade-related events like the opening of a new store. Sadly, despite being associated with music and dance, hijras, khusras or pavaiyaas, different sociocultural communities of transgender individuals, have rarely been considered true “artistes" by practitioners of classical music and dance.