The right to dignity and respect is guaranteed by the constitution but what if someone is portrayed as a symbol of disgrace and disgust for their entire life? This means having a life where sympathy and love is extinct and the worth of such person is no more than a mere object.

Servicing others and living a discontented existence is undoubtedly not a life worth living but that is exactly the manner which defines the life of a prostitute. One does not need to be an intellectual to realise that prostitution is, indeed, one of the most heinous crimes committed against humanity.

Recently, I watched Gangoo Bai Kathiwadi and the plot of film was convincing enough for me to draw such analogy. The film revolves around the story of an innocent soul, Ganga, who aims to become a heroine but unfortunately lands in a brothel where her boyfriend sells her and runs away. It then focuses on the struggle of Ganga and how she later strives hard for the rights and honour of an ‘honourless’ and ‘shameless’ class of society.

This whole notion of endeavouring for rights is thought-provoking and opens new avenues to ponder upon. The fundamental concern is why are these women treated with the utmost disgrace. Every conscious-driven human must enquire themselves as to whether these women are given an opportunity in life where they choose to become a prostitute or whether the society throws them in a brothel? Either they land there deceivingly or they are simply born there without knowing the identity of their father. If fate or destiny is to blame, then how can God decide that a lady has to sell herself to the ‘respectable’ and ‘honoured’ men of society. Furthermore, if he has determined such a fate without the consent of the person, then which authority mandates humans to stigmatise the very existence of such women?

Instead of having pity upon them and instead of aiding them in breaking the shackles of disgrace and abasement, human society has pushed them towards the wall. This is yet another hindrance in their social mobility as society has simply snatched away their fundamental right of dignity and respect. A considerable chunk of such women accept a contemptuous life because society never grants them a second chance. An unannounced social boycott just adds insult to the injury because even if they try to get out of the quicksand of prostitution, they are countered with financial constraints as they are not welcomed in any sector of the economy. This is also because the state has given up the responsibility of educating and training such segments of the population. The ruling elite merely views them as a piece of flesh which can potentially satiate their sexual desires and lighten up their depressed routine for a couple of hours.

The irony is that men, for whom this entire industry works, have never faced such marginalisation. This corrupt, immoral and unjust society pardons men for all their disgusting acts without hesitation, even for those which he never seeks forgiveness. In spite of being the sole beneficiary of this crime against humanity, men have never been held accountable, mainly because of the inherent power and authority they possess in a male dominated society. It would be apt to quote Saadat Hassan Manto who once penned down that no one knows the elite better than the prostitutes of that city.

With such persistent darkness and hopelessness, education and adopting an inclusive attitude towards such marginalised sections of society can be the only way through. To encourage social acceptance, the state will need to target those areas which are known to be red light districts. The local headmaster will have to ensure that a certain number of children from such areas are enrolled and study at schools and this must be reckoned as a gauge to determine the performance of the school staff. By such way, they will be able to gain skills and education which can guarantee them a path which can lead them not only to a successful life, but a respectable and honour-worthy one.