Kinnars, often visit people’s homes at momentous occasions such as marriage or birth of a new child. They shower blessings, sing and dance in a sense of exuberance.
But a fact remains that this section of society faces discrimination. A lot of things about a Kinnar’s life remains obscure. Among them is – death.
Some Kinnar gurus are considered to be clairvoyants who are able to foretell events. They can see through their sins and the activities of their disciples. One belief is that they can even foresee their own death. But this ability to foresee death is said to be present only in born Kinnars.
What happens after foreseeing death
When a Kinnar comes to know about her death, she rests at her own place. She’ll sit in a corner of the house and abstain from food; survive only on water. She immerses herself in prayer. Other Kinnars start praying, ask for the blessings of the dying Kinnar; beg for her forgiveness, so that she is not born as a Kinnar in the next birth.
Occasionally, their fellow beings inform other acquaintances about the impending death. Many Kinnars from different parts of the country come to take blessings, as dying Kinnars are considered godly; imbued with divine powers. Those who want to visit but cannot due to some reason, think of the dying Kinnar; seek her blessings, others pray for the soul.
It is of surprise that no one comes to know about the death of a Kinnar. It is largely kept a secret, just like their last rituals. The rituals are held at night. The members of the community inform the crematorium authorities, who are requested not to disclose the death of the Kinnar.
Unlike others where a dead body is carried parallel to the ground, the dead body of Kinnars is taken through the streets in a standing position, or one can say the body is ‘walked’ by the community members.
It is then that the dead body is beaten with slippers. These actions are meant to signal to the departed soul that even if it was born as a Kinnar in this life, it shouldn’t be born the same in the next life.
The last rites are performed in a simple manner. The dead body is ceremonially bathed; wrapped in clean, mostly white cloth. Jewellery is removed before cremation.
Kinnars too are cremated in open grounds upon wooden pyres. Water from either the Ganga or from any other holy river is poured into the mouth of the deceased.
Why aren’t other allowed to see the last rites?
The Kinnar community doesn’t allow anyone else to witness the last rites of their dead individual. They believe that if a non-Kinnar sees the rites, then the dead individual is born as a Kinnar in the next life as well! To prevent the dead Kinnar from going through the same fate again in the next life, Kinnars prevent anybody other than their own members from seeing the last rites.
Although, it is widely believed that if a person sees the last rites of a Kinnar, he is blessed with great luck.