One of the reasons I have been able to shoot hijras without confrontation or controversy is because I am not a journalist , I dont ask questions I am not all a nosy parker and I am not after stories I hoot pictures with minimal background , I dont hassle people if them tell me I listen otherwise I just shoot pictures.
I met Mahi the child eunuch first time this trip at Ajmer Moti Katla , he took an immediate liking to me and perhaps hermaphroditic children can smell people , and maybe he smelt my love for my grand children.
And I was missing my grand kids is an understatement, Mahi would chat with me endlessly spinning tales but within his childhood veneer he carried the frugality of his mortal pain.
All the hijras loved him , hugged him kissed him , he was a special a born eunuch unlike the who became hijras late in life.
I did not ask his birth details i did not ask anything..but I shot him and I met him again at the quartes of the Delhi hijras and I would have liked to shoot him with Mona the child eunuch I have been shooting Mona the child eunuch since she was 4 year old and I have shot Mona with his sibling a eunuch child too Nandini, this year Nandini and her parents , foster parents of Mona too Gopal Haji Babita hijra did not make the trip.
Mona the child eunuch is the Guru of Raveena hijra.
Mona loves me and because I have shot him for many years , we get along well.. and he searches for his pictures on the net, this year he wont see his pictures at all.. unless I post a thumbnail like this one.
Mona is lucky has rich foster parents and a good life, I remember Monas parents wanted me to get him educated but I politely refused they were going to pay me for his upkeep , but I have my own priorities I come from a different cultural background but this year I learnt that Monas real name is Ahmed .
I am a photographer documenting the story of the children of a lesser god and this ends my Ajmer trip ..
I have been shooting the Turner Road beggar hijras close to where I stay and their life is very painful, imagine begging at the traffic signal drenched in rains and earlier when I went to Chor Bazar I bought them sarees and umbrellas it is this goodwill without profit or gain that gets me hijra pictures ..
And to be able to enter the living quarters of hijras , is all about mutual trust and mutual respect.
The hijras are more perceptive than I am as a mystic photographer and a street poet and a Dam Madar Malang.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
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I have been shooting the hijras of India for over 8 years now and with 18300 pictures documenting the poetry of their lives , their hardships at every level of their hierarchy, be it the mujra dancing hijras of hijra gully no 1 now almost defunct or the sex worker hijras of peela house mumbai cages to famous hijra escorts , hijra children known as eunuch children born as eunuchs, to hijra bawas shamans , hijra novice and wannabe hijras I shot all of them a very tough assignment and the only lucky talisman was my hijra guru Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, my friend much before she became a hijra.
We were both connected to Bollywood , and though we hardly meet , maybe twice a year at Haji Malang or this tie at Ajmer we bond I shoot her pictures , and I have shot her at home and she has visited my home too met my wife daughter and shared some quality time with us.
One call from her I can shoot any hijra I want but I took the hard way out I shot hijras on my own , befriended them and today in all humility most of the hIjras of India know me.. or are aware that I showcase the lives of hijras.
Maybe there are photographers much closer to the hijras , but I have shot hijras differently in their surroundings and without commercializing on their reclusive nature , without selling my pictures , I got a lot of offers to sell my entire collection of hijra pictures I was going through bad times but I politely refused I sold my camera collection my rare books collection my silver jewelry but not my hijra collection.
I refused offers for coffee table books on Hijras because that would be mocking humiliating the poetry of their lives .
My journey to Ajmer at Bandra Terminus began with the hijras I traveled in the same compartment as the head of the hijras of Park Site Ma Madhurima who is also my Guru and Mother .
We shared some great moment I shot all her chelas including a very tall one who is a deaf mute .
Than I was at her lodgings and shot the Delhi hijra Niyaz , boycotted by the Mumbai hijra for personal reasons I hot this extensively with my friend Marc Malang and it was hosted by Kamini dressed impeccably in white .
I shared food the the hijras both Marc and me.
It was here where I am sitting and eating food given to me by Ma Madhurima I shot a new child eunuch Mahi.. he just would not leave me talking to me endlessly of his dreams but he was happy to be with the hijras who all loved him..
It was here I met the hijra novice perhaps only 16 year old waiting to be initiated as a full time hijra after the auspicious rituals ..he was dressed in boys clothings .
On the other end of this lodge was the lodgings of the Delhi hijras of Najafgarh, where Raveena Naina Soma Mona the child eunuch and other pretty hijras lived most of the time I was here as Naina and I get along pretty well.
Raveena was as conceited as ever but I shot her extensively and I shot Soma the dark dusky top heavy hijra.
I shot the hijra gypsy guru Basanti , she is an old frend and considers me to ne be one of her lovers from some ancient times and I tell her it could not be possible as I am a mystic and a Dam Madar Malang and my Peer told me I was a Naga Sadhu in my past life , this makes Basanti mad and she is a shaman and a tantric but she is scared of Dam Madar Malangs ..
She has invited me to Kalliar Sharif.
I met one of the most human god fearing transgender Kajal Khusra she is a humanitarian ,and a Murid of my Peersaab Fakhru Miya Hujra No 6 she is very rich does a lot of charity she distributed over Rs 100000 among the poor of Ajmer .. and she does it silently.
She is a Maulaiee like me cries for Hussain and I feel her pain as she feels mine.. I met her while going to Pushkar ans she hugged me .. gave me some money but I gave it back to the beggars at Diggy Bazar.
I shot the Delhi hijra sandal Kamini Raveena dancing with other pretty hijras Ritu and Laxmi Narayan Tripathi I had to scrounge and later abort this shoot as I was hort of memory cards.. and I was not just shooting hijras I was shooting my order of Dam Madar Malangs , my mountain climb to meet Baba Wahid .. Chatti celebrations at my hostFakhru Miyas hose and at his hujra.
The day I was leaving for Mumbai I had a invite for the Qawwali and dance programme at Shabo bhais house but I had to leave I could have shot a lot of stuff but I only shot what I was destined to shoot..
And this is the first time in many years that I am not showing my hijra pictures , I dont mind my hijra pictures being stolen but people robbing my hijra friends of their identity and this identity fraud with people becoming Raveena Khushi Kamini .. and taking people for a ride has hit me badly.
My hijra friends come from good solid backgrounds and they are not prostitutes , so people conning the public impersonating them here at Flicke was the last straw that broke this camels back.
And sadly neither Flickr Support nor Yahoo Copyright have been helpful so my hijra guru Laxmi Narayan Tripathi has taken my case to the cyber cops .. she is handling it at her end because by the nefarious deeds of some the entire hijra community gets a bad name.
And it is a serious matter conning members online through Flickr and Yahoo hijra groups as pseudonym..to entice young gullible kids t become hijras and run hjra prostitution dens
So I have been maligned by a few members here at Flickr and they wot change their ways so because of a few bad apples you dont get to see any of my hijra pictures at all.
I shot Raveena extensively in Ajmer this year , and she has gained weight become more fuller and those who robbed her identity here at Flickr and misused her pictures to con the public and to fraudulently make money solicit sex wont be seeing her new pictures at all..
I shot most of the pretty hijra damsels and all these pictures are closed to public view ,, people like Nirma Sapna CD can rob hijra pictures elsewhere .. I wont ever be showing what I shot including my old hijra sets collections poems and blogs.
I shot Naina Preeti hijra Soma hijra , Laxmi Narayan Tripathi my hijra guru, Ritu hijra and the new eunuch child Mahi including Mona the child eunuch.
All my hijra pictures are not for public view .. go fuck yourself hijra picture stealers.
Ajmer Urus 2012, a set on Flickr.
Shot from 26 May to 29 May 2012 ... the Hijra new pictures are not for public view ..Sorry ..only Flickr friends added by me can see them..
this set includes dam madar malangs beggars of ajmer and pictures of my host peersaab fakhru miya hujra no 6 .
pictures shot at pushkar 2012 are in a new set ..
Shah-e-Mardan Sher-e-Yazdan Quwat-e-Parwardigar Lafata Ila Ali La Saif Ila Zulfiqar , originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1 ....
Ek Shahenshah Ne Banake Yeh Haseen Tajmahal Ham Gareebon Ki Mohabbat Ka Udaya Hai Mazak.. , a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Fli...