Nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree” And all the tree of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it. (Isaiah 56: 3, Ezekiel 17: 24)
There was a woman walking in front of me. She was dressed in a bright-colored sari. Her black hair was put in a bun and decorated with very fragrant snow-white flowers.
Suddenly the woman turned back. I immediately noticed that there was something strange about her. Something drew my attention: Was it her rugged features, or unusual expression of her eyes, or maybe a slightly odd walk and figure? And suddenly I realized that it was not women but a dressed up man! When I looked closely at the crowd, I noticed two more men like that! All of them were going in and out of a Hindu temple.
Questions flooded my mind. My first thought was that I had met homosexuals. I didn’t understand how it could happen in conservative Indian culture where everybody was doing what was dictated by religion and tradition. Where do these people live? How does Indian society and their families treat them? What do they do for a living? Why are they not ashamed of the women’s clothes?
And at the same time, there was a growing dislike towards these people. I remembered that sometimes we saw men dressed like women on Delhi streets who were begging. One could see them in trains. And even in movies and videos, there are sometimes dancing men dressed up like women.
Despite my dislike of these people, I had a burning desire to learn more about them and to understand why such a phenomenon exists in a traditional and conservative Indian society.
A local pastor privately told us about them in a low voice. Here is what we found out.
These people are eunuchs. They live absolutely separate from other people. One seldom sees eunuchs in public because they are a blemish. Nobody likes to talk about eunuchs.
During wedding ceremonies, eunuchs come to the parents of the young couple and beg. Nobody dares to refuse them. Sometimes they get quite a bit of money – up to several hundred dollars.
After the birth of a baby, eunuchs come to the young couple again. They hold the baby, unfold its swaddling clothes and check if its reproductive organs have any defect. If they find something, they take the baby away from the parents for good and bring it up together with other such people.
While I was listening to the pastor, very different questions rose in my mind. Why would parents give their child away without any resistance, dooming him to a miserable existence?
Everybody who is born in India has precise duties and rights. When children grow up their parents arrange marriages for them. Sons are more valuable then daughters because a girl’s family has to pay dowry (a sum of money) to a boy’s family. The more the dowry the richer family the girl will be given into. The girl’s family saves money all her life in order to give her a good dowry. The average family gives with their daughter about ten thousand dollars. And what if they have more than one daughter? And what if a baby born into the family is neither girl nor boy? What are they to do with it? This unfortunate child becomes a stain and blemish for an Indian family.
I listened to the pastor’s story and my animosity and dislike of these people disappeared. Instead, I felt pity. After that talk, I began to pray that the Gospel would bring new life to eunuchs. It’s amazing but after my attitude toward them changed, we began to constantly come across these people.
One sultry evening we were sitting on a bench not far from an Indian movie theatre. Suddenly two eunuchs approached us. One was about thirty years old, the other one was about fifty.
They started talking to us in Hindi asking for money. To give a eunuch less then 100 rupees (about 2.5 US dollars) is improper. That’s why they had a sizable bundle of cash. People give them a lot of money because Indians believe that eunuchs have the power to bless or curse families. That’s the reason why they come up only to couples and ask for money.
So, we had our first conversation with eunuchs. We found out their names and where they live. They blankly told us that they were neither men nor women. Because of this nobody wants to hire them and begging is their only way to get money.
We made an attempt to tell them that Jesus can completely change their life. That God has hope, future and plans even for people like them. Unfortunately, they didn’t speak English and it was quite difficult for us to communicate with them in Hindi. Despite it, one of the eunuchs was very interested in the conversation. They went into the darkness loudly discussing something.
Scum of society, but so precious to God. Despised by people, but greatly valued by God so much so that He gave His Son for them. Their mind is hazy, their self-esteem is wrong, they consider themselves to be a “third sex”, neither men nor women. “Dry tree”, ugly, useless, good-for-nothing, needless – that’s how people view them. But the Lord says in His Word: “I, the LORD… make the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.”
We believe that God will fulfill what He promised in His Word. We believe that He is powerful to completely change the life of these people. To give them back everything that the enemy stole from them. To give them back their dignity, to transform their mind, to destroy the paralyzing shroud of deceit and hopelessness, to give them hope. To change them completely and to give them salvation. Will you pray for these unfortunate people with us? Will you ask the Lord today what you can do to change their life?