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Prostitution in India is considered to be one of the oldest professions. It has been generally defined as promiscuous intercourse paid in either money or kind. The history of prostitution isn't new nor unique to India. It has been practised in almost all countries and every type of society since the establishment of the organization. Prostitution and the accompanying evil like human trafficking for prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human and endanger the welfare of the individuals, the family and the community.
The roots of human trafficking are deeply embedded in an age-old traditional prostitution system prevalent in several parts of the country, like the devadasi and the tawaifs. A Prostitute aka Tawaif is a woman who has turned to sell her own body as aware of others' pleasure for her daily sustenance whereas prostitution is the practice of sexual service in return for money.
According to Indian history, the earlier versions of prostitutes were known as "Devadasi" and were unlike anything we know of today, Devadasis used to dedicate their whole life to the devotion of Lord Krishna. It was believed that Devadasis consider the Gods as their husbands and therefore cannot marry any mortal men. They were later being called "Nagarvadhu's" meaning the "Brides of the town" and were often called upon by the royals and the rich to dance and sing. Singing and dancing was the turf and art form for these Nagarvadhus. To name a few, Amrapali-the state courtesan and a Buddhist disciple came to be known as "Vaishali ki Nagarvadhu".
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The historians have deciphered from historical texts and evidence that the Devadasi or Nagarvadhu's were treated with respect and honour by everyone and the Royal families. No man including the Kings and Mughals even dared to touch them. In fact, during the Mughal era, the prostitutes were treated akin to entrepreneurs and they enjoyed royal patronage. They came to be known as tawaifs. They excelled in and contributed to music, dance (mujra), theatre, and the Urdu literary tradition. They were considered authoritative and masters of etiquette. They had considerable influence in state affairs, religious and political developments for over centuries.
This was until the Britishers came to India, and Devadasi's presented their art form in front of them. Attracted to them the Britishers began the tradition of one nightstand. The British started calling these dancers for sexual pleasures and this paved the way for Prostitution in the country. Under British rule, Devadasis moved from dancing and singing to prostitution which led to the decline of temple dances.
During the late 16th and 17th centuries, when certain parts of India were colonized by the Portuguese; they captured and brought Japanese women to India as sex slaves. The military laid the foundation for brothels in the country which are now known as red-light areas for its troops across many parts of India. Women and girls from rural areas were employed by these brothels and were paid by the military directly. Trying to fulfill the sexual needs of their military the British Raj enacted the Cantonment Act of 1864 to regulate prostitution in colonial India as a matter of accepting a necessary evil.
A lane in Kamathipura, a red light district in Mumbai. Wikimedia Commons
Prostitution has seen a severe decline as a profession and their social status. By the end of the nineteenth century, the concept of biological race emerged which regarded inbreeding to conserve racial purity as superior. The British regime heavily focused on decreasing interracial breeding of the whites with other racial groups including Indians, to preserve their racial purity. Due to such structural changes in society, sex work came to be viewed as oppressive and exploitative for females.
Estimates are that child prostitution is a multi-million dollar industry in India. More than half a billion children are in Brothels and they are either sold by their parents who are struck with or victims of abuse. Close to 7000 girls are brought from Nepal to India as human trafficking. These children are then exported to the Middle Eastern countries as sex slaves. According to the Human Rights Watch Report, there are over 20 million prostitutes in India out of which 35% are below the age of 18 years.
According to Indian law, prostitution itself is not illegal but activities such as running a brothel, soliciting or luring a person into prostitution, traffic of children and women for prostitution are punishable under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA). However, the lives of prostitutes today are saddening and it is in the hands of society to evolve which could be catalyzed by Governmental Institutions. The male prostitution industry is still unrecognized by law and it calls for due attention.
Keywords: Prostitute, sex worker, tawaif, devadasi, human trafficking, laws
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television
One of India's leading private museums, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru, has released new primary research conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, on audience behaviour in India's cultural sector. While more than half of the respondents thought the arts and culture are essential, they rarely manage to make time for it. The majority (60.6 per cent), mostly young people under 30, felt Indian museums could present more engaging content, and most perceived culture as anthropological/ sociological. Of the diverse categories included, music emerged as the most popular cultural activity.
The report is based on a survey of 500 people, which included school and college students, professionals across sectors, homemakers and senior citizens. The first initiative of its kind in the cultural space, the report shares valuable insights into the behaviour and expectations of Indian audiences engaging with a broad range of cultural activities. As part of MAP's mission to foster meaningful connections between communities and the cultural sector globally, which includes its innovative digital programme Museums Without Borders, the report shares a wealth of insights that can help museums across the country understand their audiences better. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.
As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Speaking on the recent report, Kamini Sawhney, Director, Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), said, "MAP is focused on changing the notion of a museum in India, by enabling more relevant and inclusive programming, both online and in our space in Bengaluru. The audience research commissioned by MAP, and conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, provides valuable, and actionable insights which we hope will help museums across the country better understand their consumer base, improve decision making and deepen social impact." As much as 62.3 per cent college students and 47.6 per cent professionals/homemakers perceive culture as anthropological and sociological. Music was the most popular cultural event likely to be attended, followed by heritage tours and plays/comedy shows for Indian audiences.
Over 70 per cent of college students visit museums with family and friends; working professionals, homemakers and senior citizens also predominantly visit with groups/ spouses (indicating a need to focus on increased group programming/facilitation). As much as 68 per cent of people were optimistic about going outdoors for activities and events in 2021. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.(IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Art, Culture, India, Museum, Music
What is the best way to save Goa from deforestation?
Drinking feni, may well be the answer, says the secretary of the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association Hansel Vaz, who on Thursday said, that sipping the state's unique alcoholic drink and making it popular would directly aid the greening of Goa's hills and other barren landscapes.
"To get more cashews, we need to plant more trees. I always say, by drinking feni you will save Goa, because we will be planting more cashew trees and we will have greener hills. The beauty of cashew is you do not need fertile land. You can grow it on a hill which can provide no nutrition. We will be able to grow more trees, if we can sell feni properly," Vaz said. Vaz's comments come at a time when the hillsides of the coastal state have witnessed significant deforestation for real estate development and for infrastructure projects. Feni is manufactured by fermenting and double distilling juice from the cashew apple.
Best way to keep Goa green is to grab yourself a glass of feni. | IANS
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Vaz also said that the promotion of feni was also in sync with the Prime Minister's vision for India to go "vocal for local". "There is no conglomerate, multinational company owning the drink. So every time we sell feni, it is a direct cash injection into Goa. If you sell a feni cocktail in Calangute (a popular beach village), it makes a direct impact in Valpoi and Bicholim, because this money is going down there," the Association official said at a press conference in Panaji.
The Association held the media briefing to announce a road map ahead for the feni industry, especially vis a vis streamlining aspects related to production, standardisation and marketing of the brew to make it popular in other Indian states and abroad.
The efforts to streamline the state "heritage drink" comes a month after the Goa government notified a formal policy, 'Goa Feni Policy 2021', which covers 26 different varieties of feni distilled in the state. "There were many barriers related to feni, which the policy has now addressed," treasurer of the Association Tukaram Haldankar said. One such hurdle was the previous government classification, which described feni as "country liquor", which would deter tourists from purchasing the drink. The reclassification of feni as a state "heritage drink" has lent dignity to the brew which has been manufactured locally in Goa since the 16th century.
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. | Photo by Ishvani Hans on Unsplash
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. "We request the government to allow the sale of feni in duty free stores in airports and cruise liner terminals. The government should also support us through the department of Tourism, so that feni can be promoted in its programmes. iIf you go to Scotland, they promote Scotch. Goa should promote its feni to Goa," Haldankar said, adding that traditional distillers should also be given subsidies and other measures should be taken to standardise feni, which he said, "would require further subsidies and financial assistance from the government".
"It should be a standard product like scotch, champagne," Haldankar said. "Like Mexico's tequila, Russian vodka and Japan's sake, we need to export our feni across the country and the world and the local distillers should also benefit economically," president of the Association Gurudutt Bhakta also said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: deforestation,cashew,distillers,association,government, goa, feni, India