Have you ever thought about the existence of people whom society considers most impure but pays money to touch them? More ironic is that profession that some people are made to feel ashamed of pursuing is incomplete without the indulgence of mainstream society itself. More saddening is that they have been absent from mainstream discussions, media coverage, and election promises, etc. unlike other underprivileged sections. Most of you must have guessed who I am going to write about in this piece.
After finishing some of my readings, I was just scrolling on the internet for my next read and came across a title- “Daughters of the Brothel” authored by Deepak Yadav. The thing which motivated me the most to put this book into my Amazon cart is its topic which is rarely talked and very few know about.
The book contains the conversations between author and sex workers of Delhi’s red-light area, GB road which will be as much eye-opener as emotional for the reader. The book is set in the backdrop of narration by some sex workers about how they ended up in this profession. I was gutted about treachery committed by a 12-year-old girl’s boyfriend by selling her body to some men to get raped.
Imagining the severe pain she must have endured at that time is enough for any reader to get tears rolling down the cheeks. However, this first time suffering gradually becomes routine profession as one is so helpless to find any other way to survive. Similar tales were poured out of the heart by those women as if they have been craving for years to tell someone about the injustices meted out to them.
One was assaulted by her cruel husband who also killed her infant daughter and ended up in a brothel after getting raped by a construction contractor. Another sex worker is from the “bedia” community of Rajasthan where the birth of a girl is valued as she could be placed in prostitution by family men working as pimps. This is the only known profession in this community that could be performed only by girls to feed the family.
Everyone must have a visual experience of red light areas in Bollywood movies that portray sex workers as shining and happy faces luring everyone to have sex with them for money as if they practice it voluntarily. As the author visited these brothels multiple times to interview sex workers, he described the despair and agony behind those faces.
What they feel when anyone from so-called “civilized society” sees them with disgust. What they undergo when round the clock every man stares at them like a vulture keeping an eye on its feast. How they are forced to embrace alcohol, drugs to forget every barbaric experience as they have no one to hear them out. How their body is exploited sexually and it has been normalized. I can’t imagine how these brave souls can hide their hell life behind the garb of a fake smile.
The book has done well in portraying the life of these women so poignantly that would make the reader thank god for giving birth at a much better place. It was written with an intent to get people to know about these women who fight the world every day while carrying a load of betrayal, violence, disrespect and helplessness.
But besides that, I also come to feel the real meaning of hope from a single line in the book said by one of the sex workers- “ Bhagwaan se mujhe koi shikayat nahi, unhone zaroor kuch na kuch acha socha hoga mere liye”.( I have no qualms with God, He must have definitely planned something better for me.)