Give Them A Place, They Give You Pleasure!

Prostitution is a solution, not the problem. It is a solution to earning a living over stealing, or worst killing someone for the same. It is the balm for those devoid of sex and pleasure in their lives. It is a profession for those who want to practice it in a dignified manner.

The narrow lanes are dark and dingy. At the far end of an alley, a lone bulb hangs from a loose wire. Inside the alley, are rooms with broken doors. Moth-eaten, shabby curtains cover the cube holes. Men buttoning their shirts, zipping their pants, and brushing their hair in an attempt to look sober, walk out of the alley.

A child whimpers, a man groans, and a woman curses, but a loud music system drowns all the commotion.

No one hears.

No one wants to hear.

Sadly, it was an everyday affair at Kamathipura, the dark underbelly, the red-light area of Mumbai. In fact, it is bread minus the butter and dhanda minus the business, as the elite would call this transaction.

In 90’s 45000 sex workers were active in Kamathipura!

Once, a place that harboured close to 45,000 sex workers in the 90s, now has been reduced to around a few thousand owing to the BMCs redevelopment projects. The buildings were close to a century old and women from states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh as well as Nepal, and Bangladesh found employment here.

Force or fate, reason over the mission of feeding a hungry stomach brought these young girls to fend for themselves until they grew old.

It was a closed ecosystem that worked in tandem with that of a food chain. The pleasure-producing women to the greed-infested beasts and the pimps acting as scavengers to clean up the hunt, all played their roles to the hilt.

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Businessmen, political leaders, gangsters, and even Bollywood didn’t shy to pick their favourite catch from this market. Better called mandi. Kamathipura was, thus, Asia’s biggest red-light area.

In 2018, government tried to step in

In 2018, the government gave a green signal to revamp the red-light area. NGOs complained that this pocket of Mumbai housed the maximum number of HIV-positive cases. The brothel owners discouraged their employees from asking the customers to wear condoms.

The roots of a grave disease spread far and wide from here. Thus, under social, moral, and disease epidemiology, the livelihood of a tribe of women was snatched away.

The women then migrated to lesser-known areas of Kalyan, Bhiwandi, and Borivali, while some fled to their hometowns to begin fresh. The latter was a grave mistake. Unidentified female bodies were found in wells, deserted fields, and dumped on marshy lands.

Now, after that reinforcement of law and so-called order, did it stop the flesh trade? Have we successfully eradicated AIDs from our country? Are our men not seeking pleasure under unknown bosoms?

Prostitution is a solution, not the problem

Prostitution is a solution, not the problem. Yes, many of you will pierce me with your gaze. Cock an eyebrow and watch me suspiciously. But I am serious. It is a solution to earning a living over begging, stealing, or worst killing someone for the same. It is the balm for those devoid of sex and pleasure in their lives. It is a profession for those who want to practice it in a dignified manner.

Yes, let’s give them dignity. A place in our society as they give us pleasure. Their bodies, too, toil. It aches like ours after a full day at work. Their children, too, wait for the mother to bring home food. Their parents, too, need medical attention.

Why are these women then ousted from a regular life? Why are their choices sneered at? No one is born a prostitute. It is what circumstances make out of them, or rather how society moulds them.

Despite many attempts, the waters are murky

Women welfare groups have time and again struggled to rope them out of this murk. Their children have been sent to schools and sponsored education. They found a place in the vote bank. But what about our hearts? Do we even consider them birds of the same feather?

Sacred prostitution or temple prostitution finds an explicit explanation in our Vedas and scholarly articles. Hebrew Bible mentions prostitutes as zonah and kedeshah.

These women have been called devadasis and were used for the treatment of infertility and venereal diseases. They were considered disciples of various sex gods.

Prostitutes have existed since time immemorial but have never found recognition and their rightful place. When one talks of women’s empowerment, why do we fail to consider them women who need empowerment?

Empowerment begins with acceptance

Empowerment begins with acceptance of an entity’s existence and then it’s needs. We turn a blind eye to this section of women and blame them for spoiling our men.

Why are our men lured to them? Maybe, they are doing a better job than us. Mirchilagi? I still emphasise the ‘maybe’. To help one woman, I am in no way trying to demean another. I’m just exploring the possibility of how this section still thrives despite the odd circumstances they are bestowed upon.

Men who curse, abuse, and dishonour them in broad daylight seek solace in their arms in secret, darkness of night. Our men have double standards, not these women. They are what they are.

Day or night, they have no fixed business hours. Sick or slouched, they are not granted paid sick leaves. No compensation if injured. There could be incentives at the cost of their health and harmony.

Denial of their presence will worsen the matter. Acceptance will lead to a solution. If our men are seeking them, let’s strive for the health and hygiene of our fellow sisters, so that our men don’t come home diseased. Let’s talk it out with our men rather than badmouthing the women.

And whenever, this marginalized section wants to be part of our elite society, let’s welcome them with open arms.

Till then, I again repeat, give them a place because they give you pleasure.

Image source: Gangubai Kathiawadi, edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Dr. Aparna Salvi Nagda

Aparna, residing in Mumbai, is a consulting homoeopath and edupreneur by day and loves to find comfort in books by twilight. Writing has allowed her to express without wagging her tongue. She has contributed to read more...

7 Posts | 2,740 Views

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