THREAD on once most respected profession COURTESAN, GANIKA, ended up in undignified NAUTCH GIRL, PROSTITUTES
The only entertainment in NON-TV age became NOT only OBSOLETE but an ABUSE in modern age.
A look back in TIME
Courtesans (Apsara & Gandharva) profession has been respectful since antiquity.
They were skillful in Dancing and helped India in defeating luring enemies
APSARA is 1st mention of courtesan from Ramayan 2:45:32
They emerged from water (Img indicative)
Dancing Girls figurines from #harappa excavation sites evidencing their existence ~4000 years back.
Greek evidence of #phyrne can’t deny existence of courtesan in their culture
#Kautilya shastra clearly defines the hierarchy & hegemony.
It also mandates tax structure and punishments for #courtesan.
Word courtesan occurred several times in various #Sanskrit Shlokas.
As it is clear from fragments of antiquity that the COURTESANS were not a caste it was a structure of Dancing girls in Courts, Bazaars, Temple Girls.
It was an ART.
There existed other Courtesans who solely worked as prostitutes.
These are the girls being talked about 👇
During #Mughal rule innumerable slave girls, captured woman were put in HAREMS.
Moghuls created Forts and apartments for their courtesans.
The commoner became #Tawaif for Nawabs and peasants.
The Tawaifs reached their zenith under the Mughal rule.
They lived in comfort and had properties so much so that they were fought First independence war 1857 with valore 👇
Association with a tawaif was symbol of status, wealth, & culture.
1857, #Britishers in vengeance confiscated Tawaif’s property
Contagious Diseases Act; 1864 was enacted to make certification 4 Tawaifs compulsory.
Their profession was conflated with #prostitution
1896. Crooke addressed dance girl and prostitutes as similar. He described Tawaif as Muslim, Patar, Randi of Hindu faith (didn’t mentioned Vaishya’)
There were 1680 Tawaif’ and 54773 Dasis in 1885
Thread on DevDasi’s History 👇
However, in Census report 1901 some changes are seen
Tawaifs count increased to 21947 from 1680 (Year 1885) it was removed from main cast
Dasi count decreased to 8365 from 54773 (Year 1885) and were classified as “Singer & Dancer”
According to western philosophy there can be a Family Woman or a Public Woman.
Britishers probably confused for ‘MISTRESS’ from Samuel’s dictionary, 1755 and conjectured all Public woman (courtesans, dancers, tawaifs ) as prostitutes.
14/n https://www.britannica.com/story/why-is-there-an-r-in-mrs …
India’s vast culture and scriptures didn’t fit in the colonisers way of looking
They narrowed down multiplicity of culture in the word ‘Prostitute’
This gave rise to stigmatized attitude to nauch girls (local entertainment source) and pushed them in obscurity
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