In West Bengal, no idol of Durga can be made without soil from a brothel. It is a key component of the Earthly form of the Devi Shakti.
This poem appeared in Namdeo Dhasal’s 1981 Marathi collection, 'Tuhi Iyatta Kanchi' (What Grade Are You In), later translated to English by Dilip Chitre, and published by Navayana in 2007.
Multiple factors including the law have made it impossible to collectivise the women in the locality
Kunal Maan, who grew up in a red-light district, started Maan Foundation to provide 'love and respect' to the women who earn a living out of the 98 brothels in Delhi’s Garstin Bastion or GB Road, home to the city’s...
Never known for originality or verisimilitude, Bollywood scriptwriters trawl the absolute depths when creating on-screen prostitutes, in search of lucre
Plans to revive Mumbai’s infamous locality of Kamathipura have remained, at best, a dream for its residents
The parallel world of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, with its aesthetically-lit windows and luxurious sentimentality that glows in the yellow fairy lights, doesn’t tell the story of the countless other Gangubais.
A short film that chronicles Calcutta’s rapid transformation into a megalopolis after colonisation, through the unique lens of sex work
'There’s more hardship in sex work. The tawaif wants just a little bit of izzat, which the sex worker is denied to even dream about.'
A 2019 raid rescuing 141 girls held behind trap doors and steel cages raised a poignant question—how long will art continue imitating life?
An ambitious redevelopment plan is being readied for Kamathipura, whose lanes had seen a thriving sex trade. Forced out of the area, the sex workers will lose...
Very few Indian directors have handled the subject of sex workers sensitively. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai is an exception.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film 'Gangubai Kathiawadi' is in the eye of a storm, as the real-life daughter and grandson of the brothel owner are fighting to...
Residents in Kamathipura feel stigmatised with sex workers standing on the road and soliciting clients.
The American photojournalist’s iconic shots of sex workers in Kamathipura are testimony not just to her photographic prowess but also to her humanity and...
Sex work is like any other work
I met Zeenath in 2012 for a story on adoptions by eunuch sex workers. For years, I have seen Kamathipura’s red light area fade away as builders move into...
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