NEW DELHI: It is very clear that why prostitution (exchange of sexual services for money) is believed to be the oldest occupation in the world. In the early times, courtesans enjoyed a royal status in the empires, something that has been dropped down to a terribly poor condition in India today.
Even though prostitution is illegal in India, did you know that there are places in the country where women even today are largely dependent on it for their livelihood? Scroll down to know the reality of these places…
This place in Mumbai no longer exists by its actual name and is quite famous for brothels and is now popular as ‘Red Street of Bombay’. The area boasts of being the second largest Red Light Areas (RLA) of Asia. Undoubtedly, the area is one of the most dangerous places in the financial capital where the crime rate is not likely to come down ever. Well, is that how we really tag Mumbai as the ‘City of Dreams’?
The women in this area, ever since the older times, have been popular for supporting their families through prostitution, while men here actually find customers for the ladies. In accurate words, the men in this town are pimps and the culture has been existing for centuries, because of which it is difficult to even put an end to it. Education drives and mass weddings have left a small effect but the practice at large is being followed illegally.
Varanasi since ancient times is famous for brothels and the elegant danseuses, what we call it as a ‘tawaif culture’. Some Bollywood movies too have shown the darker side of the culture but a similar situation still persists and at a more atrocious scale.
This area, situated 10 km from the Varanasi Railway Station is one of the biggest Red Light Areas of Uttar Pradesh.
Several NGOs too are established in and around the area that helps in saving kids from getting into prostitution.
GB Road, Delhi
If you are a Delhiite, it is not possible that you are not aware about this place, irrespective of your gender. Garstin Bastion Road, popularly known as GB Road is another commercial centre of the national capital where one can find old multi-storied buildings adjacent to each other where the ground floor act as regular shops while the rest of the floors as brothels. This is the area where girls and minors from the entire country are sold.
Nat Purwa, Uttar Pradesh
A small village in Uttar Pradesh, Nat Purwa has a tradition of prostitution for 400 years now. Approximately a two and half hour journey from the state’s capital, Lucknow, this village of about 5, 000 makes women dependent largely on prostitution for their income.
The kids in this village, usually living with their mothers hardly know who their fathers are. Even though some schools have been set up, the age-old tradition is still alive, majorly because of male lethargy.
Devadasis concept - Karnataka
In a small section in Karnataka, the concept of the ‘Devadasis’ is followed even today where a girl is ‘dedicated’ to worship and service of a god or a temple for her pending life. Children, in an indirect way are ‘married’ to the Goddess, after which they devote their lives to their religion. Their virginity is then auctioned off in the community. The girls spend their rest of the life as prostitutes who earn money for their families. In spite of being illegal, reports suggest that the practice still continues and is as awful as it sounds.
Lastly, Shonagachi is not only the most dangerous and dishonorable area, but it is also the largest Red Light Areas of Asia. Located along the banks of the Ganges in North Kolkata, the region witnesses the highest crime rate in Kolkata. Approximately 30 minutes from Shonagachi, the baiji culture (tawaif culture) is still prevalent at the Premchand Boral Lane or the Haarkata lane. Apart from prostitution, the oldest RLA in Asia is also known for several criminal activities.