Growing up on Delhi’s Garstin Bastion or GB Road, home to the city’s biggest red-light area, was awkward for 21-year-old Kunal Maan (right). Till some years back, he would try not to reveal his residential address out of shame.
But in 2022, Maan shed his awkwardness and started the Maan Foundation, aimed at providing “love and respect” to the women who earn a living out of the 98 brothels which make up the red-light area. His four-storeyed house, which overlooks a busy market on the same road, is one of them.
“My upbringing has been very communal, unlike some of my friends,” Maan says. He lives on the first floor with his parents and siblings, but considers the other residents of the building, commercial sex workers and their children, as his family.
The Maan Foundation’s main aim is to provide proper medical treatment to commercial sex workers. “We are working tirelessly to open a medical community centre with a female doctor, where these women can go without fear and judgment and get checked,” he said.
“The biggest problem is also that of identification and documentation of these women. They don’t have their real names or location on their IDs and we are trying to change that,” he added.
There are days when he gets bogged down, thinking about his friends wearing nice clothes, buying iPhones, pursuing better jobs and wonders whether he should also be scouting for a ‘normal’ job. A job that would one day help him buy his own house, and take his mother on vacation or shopping.
“But these feelings are temporary… I am able to do something for my community, no matter how small,” he said.
(This appeared in the print edition as "A Samaritan On GB Road")
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