Although ordinarily India?s caste system does not allow members of different castes to join together and form other sanctioned social groups, two exceptions do exist. The devadasi priestesses who used to serve in India?s temples and the hijras, hermaphroditic, intersexed, impotent, and/or homosexual male transvestites who were often castrated, both drew/draw members from a variety of castes into cohesive units. This thesis explores the similarities between the devadasis? and the hijras? history and religious roles that led to their unique societal statuses, in order to find patterns that elucidate those aspects of Indian society beyond the scope of caste.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/erica_allen/1/