Music Constructs Community: A Study of Transgender Community Living in Dehradun City of Uttarakhand (India)
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato
Music does not primarily crave public success, it invites human participation. Transgender communities historically exist in many cultural contexts, known as Bakla in the Philippines, Xaniths in Oman, Serrers among the Pokot people of Kenya and Hijra, Jogappas, Kothis, Jogtas, Tirunangais or Shiv-Shaktis in South Asia. The ‘Hijra’, also called ‘Third Gender’ or Eunuch-Transvestites have existed for centuries in the Indian subcontinent. This paper is based on a qualitative research with both primary and secondary datas and a combination of snowball and purposive sampling is used which focuses on the music culture of transgenders living in the Dehradun city of Uttarakhand state in India. The objective is to study their relationship with music as a leisure activity and how their musical performances is thus concretely determined by leisure and by the capacity to conceive and work with leisured state of mind, body and spirit. Their musical performances have a great emphasis on our Indian culture. They only sing and dance on special occasions as they too become a part of somebody else’s happiness and transgender is the only community in India which has a survival solely on music. Their musical attachments are so vibrant that wherever they perform, the crowd nearby feel the connect with their music too. This is the community which has music in their veins, music as their leisure, music as their livelihood, music as their only source and reason for their survival. For them music is not “what they do, it is what who they are”.