Friday, December 01, 2006
Work is worship but...
Pix courtesy Lijo
It was Old Boys Day and I was with my friends and family at my brother’s school. I took my aunt on a tour of the school and as we walked into a dark corridor, we saw a couple kissing. They saw us and drew apart in embarrassment. Since I knew the girl, I ignored the scene and made casual talk with my aunt so that she would not take the incident too seriously. Unfortunately my aunt had noticed and was righteously indignant. She blurted out when we were out of earshot that she expected nothing less from that girl, as she was an adopted child!
“Don’t know to which prostitute she was born. See she takes after her mothers promiscuous ways!!” fumed my aunt.
I was left speechless. I protested indignantly that my aunt’s statement was uncalled for, but she was too wrapped up in a moralistic blanket to notice. It was almost as if being a prostitute was a personality trait and it was genetic.
Though my aunt’s beliefs are despicable I must thank her for clearing the air for me. I am guilty of being bought up in a circle that thinks that prostitutes are bad. I guess we all are…or maybe not. So I will speak for myself. Most people consider prostitutes bad women. In Hindi they call her a giri hui aurath or “fallen woman”.
But when you think deep about the issue you realize that these women are not bad!!! They didn’t choose this profession because they were promiscuous!!! They chose this profession because they had nothing else left to sell to buy food or were forced into the profession. To believe that they do it for pleasure is stupid.
And when that realization strikes you, you feel only sympathy for these women. I am sure they are normal people like us who want to hold regular job like us. But fate wills otherwise. In a society where your educational qualification counts as your economic index, people who are not equipped with the right qualification lose out and have to eke a living out of what is available after the plum jobs are taken.
Today there is a heated debate going on about legalizing prostitution. I for one support it. We cannot ignore the fact that there are men who will go to prostitutes. It is not going to stop. So why not make it legal so the profession can be regulated and some rules put in place to protect the health of people visiting prostitutes? Besides making the streets a little safer for other women. A sociologist pal says that legalizing prostitution will definitely bring down, if not totally eliminate rape.
I am not advocating the profession. But I hope people will stop looking down on these unfortunate women. And I hope that people accept that it exists and help bring it on par with other professions so that the sex workers, like other employees get their rights as employees worldwide.