And the recent trending topic is how the Snapchat CEO could call India a poor country! How Sonu Nigam shaved his head amid his own statements calling controversies! Do we, the sensible Indians, the educated literates have to talk about all these. The snapchat, didn’t make a mistake by calling us poor. We indeed are poor. Poor in giving respect to women, poor in giving the farmers their rights, they have been fighting for long now! Poor in uplifting our deprived population! Poor in giving children their deserved rights! Poor in doing justice to our people.! And that is sad, really sad.
Yes, I am talking about prostitution in India. It is an age old practice, still carried forward in our rich nation. Instead of putting a full stop to it, we are still going ahead with it. Without any period.
Prostitution means, exchange services for money. We have this practice carried forward from our ancient times itself, where the rich often asked for “ Nagarvadhu” to sing and dance. We have a character, ‘ VASANTASENA’ from the classic Sanskrit story of MICCHAKATIKA, written in 2nd century BC portraying the same. During the British rule in 18th and 19th century, they had assigned comfort zones for troops wishing to make young girls into sex tools to satisfy their needs.
Right now, we have more than 2 million female sex workers in our country with 35 percent of them entering the trade before the age of 18 years, illiterate! 1.2 million CHILDREN are involved in Prostitution. Isn’t it our responsibility to free our society of this?
India’s largest and best known red light districts are Sonagachi in Kolakata and Kamathipura in Mumbai, both in India’s oldest metropolis.
And if you ask me about the reasons, then let me tell you, majority of the sex workers become prostitute due to lack of resource to support themselves or their children. Moreover, the some of them are introduced into sex trade by agents by giving false hope of marriage or job. Also prevalent in some parts of our country is whereby a female is coerced into prostitution to pay off debts as in form of bonded labours. There are some communities like Bachara, who go forward in this tradition with the eldest daughters moving into the world of prostitute.
Most of the brothel based women in Sonagachi, Kolkata are from Nepal, Burma and Bangladesh and of course, India. Apogee is women coming in hope of false promises made to them. There are “Mashis” i.e older sex workers who use friendship, sympathy, pity and veiled threats to force the young ladies into this trade.
Irony is, Sonagachi the largest red light area, probably in the entire east has got its name after a Sufi Saint Sona Ghazi.! See, how his glory is kept!
We still have a large population of women, selling their bodies out on street, just to feed their kids and their old parents. Most of the sex workers are the either the deserted wives or wives of drunkards. Initially working as daily wage workers and domestic helpers, the vicious circle of prostitution finally grabs them, calls them as it offers more aids! More money! Easy to earn! All the big metropolises, have at least one red alert area, popularly known for fulfilling all the needs and we the culturally sound citizens of this country, do nothing but to further help in flourishing this business!
Zarina, a 27-year-old sex-worker from Guwahati, opens her heart out in a frank tête-à-tête, where she reveals her lugubrious tale: “I was repeatedly raped as a teenager by my middle-aged stepfather, who then got me married off to a habitual drunkard in his fifties, while I was still in my early teens. My husband used to violently thrash me every night in an inebriated state and then force himself upon me. Shockingly, there were nights when his drunkard friends along with him, used to take turns in raping me, which left me completely shattered. I got pregnant due to this repeated gang-rape by my husband and his scoundrel friends. One fine day, he suddenly deserted me along with my two-year-old child. I was literally forced to beg on the streets, but that was not enough to feed both of us. I had no other option, but to resort to this dhanda (colloquial for trade of prostitution). Since the last ten years, I have been sleeping with men of all ages, right from 60 to even a 15-year-old school boy, a few years older than my own son. I would want to lead a normal life with dignity if the government comes forward to help me.”
Prostitution, in its innate connotation, is a sort of a customized vocation to sell one’s body, (for sex), often by compulsion and rarely by choice. Choice made by the teenagers of the poor families! Here, we are enjoying our morning tea with the tweets of Sonu Nigam and far out there lives a group of people, selling their body because they are left with no other choice!
What needed is a multi pronged strategy which will help in curbing trafficking and will empower the women of the deprived section, scope for rescue and rehabilitation.
And what matters to us is The SnapChat CEO calling us ‘Poor’ ! Yes, we are poor! Poor till the day, we are able to uplift all the sections of our society. Poor till the day we are able to offer the respect which the women of this deprived section needs. Poor till we learn, that sex cannot be ‘bought’ but is ‘sacred’. Poor till we learn, that sex is not a transaction! Till then, Yes we are poor!!
My friends, call me feminist! Yes, I am! And I will remain a strong headed feminist till India learns to eradicate these filthy things out from our society!
Yes, we need to grow up now!