After ages since I left my creation abandoned for seemingly lucrative works, I am back to my beloved blog. People say a lot about the circle of life. I have now seen it. Society seems to evolve at a rate unimagined by the normal man. Trends setting in, traditions getting blemished, and transgressions beyond the horizon of thought: all of it have become salient attributes of the “day that’s called today”. Its the compulsion of the normal man to either evolve with everyone or just accept himself as the elderly and hold up the title of a “Once upon a time” personality. However, let me not address all of society’s vices. Something has caught my attention in recent times and the time is ripe to bring it forth.
The Indian society is ideally proud of its cultural ethic. From the Vedas to our Constitution, each literal piece preaches equality among all irrespective of colour, caste, sex and creed. However, like they say, “ideal” in other words means “practically unachievable”. The ‘practical’ society of today has criminalised homosexuality, despised transgenders, belittled eunuchs to a begging community, and short of stoning to death those who commit adultery, have done our best to make them objects of despise and scorn. However, in this ladder of injustice, the lowest is that of the prostitutes.
That’s why the most humiliating abuse for a woman is a whore. The same for a man is to hear his mother being called a whore. Both ways it is the same thing. Yet in almost all religions, women of inexact virtue (i.e whores) have played crucial roles in the scriptures. Nagarvadhus and Devdasis were a respected part of the ancient Indian society. So why do we treat the humble prostitute as low life, a criminal? What exactly is her crime?
A few days ago, a small time Tamil heroine was arrested for prostitution in a Pune five star hotel. She was openly cited by the local newspapers who also published the list of films in which she had played a lead. I have no idea if the charge is true or false but one thing I know, is that this terminates her acting career. Even if the charge is never proved, as often happens in such cases, it’s unlikely she will ever regain her dignity. Because dignity is not about proof, its rather about the sprouting opinion in the society’s head which appeals more to emotion that reason.
Why are we so contemptuous to prostitutes? In one stroke, some years back, the Home Minister not only closed all dance bars and rendered around 70,000 young women in Mumbai jobless but tagged them whores’. Unemployment and social materialization in one go. Bravo! While some bar girls may solicit at times, not all of them are whores. It was an unfair generalization. One of the most interesting people I have met once told me how she went to these bars and danced with the girls there just for the heck of the experience. They were amazing. Some were part-time actresses; others were in between jobs. One was an upcoming poet. One even had a call-centre experience. One of them was a mother of five. One was learning thumri and her earnings from the bar paid for her classes. I just couldn’t figure out where exactly were they deviating from normalcy.
What angers men about prostitutes is, I guess, the fact that man just can’t own them, in body and spirit. These girls monetize for themselves. Its simply put, a barter of money with sex. We can have no other authority over them. If we really think that money and sex make a hideous cocktail, how is that throughout history we have tried to marry both of them? Men have traded in women. History is ample proof that they have bought and sold them as slaves. They have gambled them away as wives. They have married off their daughters to strangers in distant lands, just to expand their assets and businesses. (And, some times, simply to get rid off them.) But when a young woman transacts her sexual caliber, it instantly becomes a despicable act of crime. She is paraded and shamed in front of an entity of sheer hypocrisy called society.
As for money, dowry may be banned but financial deals struck prior to two people going to bed as lovers, companions or wedded partners is not something that is unheard of. The Pre-nup is the new fab. This means you can strike a deal before you enter someone’s bedroom and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you pretend it’s not ‘sex without obligations’. We are truly at the dawn of an apocalypse if we are ready to buy such a porous social structure, where even the knowledge of hypocrisy doesn’t command an action from the conscience.
Women openly strut their stuff today, in real life as well as on the screen. ‘The Dirty Picture’ was a welcoming wake-up call to point at such hypocrisy of the society. We love this so much that almost every successful ad has a sexy under-clad woman pitching the product. Even on the social media environment, a Facebook ad with a scantily clad lady, absolutely unrelated to the product, ensures a much high CTR(Clickthroughrate) than a normal product-related ad. Yet when a woman transacts for herself, we see her as an ethical piranha, oblivious to the virtues of our culture. Our wildest dreams are about a Shiela who flaunts her jawaani in our face, a pomposity for heaving breasts and a writhing pelvis, or a Munni who shakes her derriere right in the midst of a bunch of grabbing, riconic, thrusting, lecherous males, ready to destroy their stature for it. The women we lust for in our fantasies are actually the women we want to lynch in real life.