Suruchi Gupta

Tag: Open Space

Selling Point

by on Oct.30, 2010, under City Life

Do the words like children of sex workers or prostitutes bring you images of kids living in poverty and dirt?

What societal images do the words children of sex workers or prostitutes – male or female or transgender and the like bring to you? Is it of those living in and looking through windows of poverty and dirt, oppressed and waiting to be rescued? Could the reality be otherwise – more inclusive and deep – giving these segments the chance to share their happiness and normalcy of lifestyle in whatever marginalised means they manage to live with?

“Bollywood movies and other such media have drawn such an oppressed image of this marginalised section of society that they are associated only with negativity, making their interaction with masses even more prohibitive,” believes Prof Oishik Sircar, consultant, Open Space (OS).

Oxford Bookstore and OS organised a dance performance by Komal Gandhara (KG), the cultural wing of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, at the bookstore.

“With programmes like these, we aim to bring different kinds of people into different places, create positive space. Ideas change when masses meet marginalised at close quarters like this stage,” said Debolina Dutta, fellow, OS.

The performance comprised four pieces, based both on songs like Tagore’s Tumi sondharo megho mala, Bhool Bhulaiya’s Mere dholna and Subha Das Gupta’s poem I am That Woman performed by team of male prostitutes, transsexuals, young girls and boys, all of who were trained dancers.

“Dance is our way of bringing out our cultural talent, and we are invited for performing in various states across India. Our performances aim at educating people about the rights of sex workers, getting them approval from society, moving ahead in life and the like,” said Shambhu, transsexual member, KG.

Shambhu says dance is perceived as more welcoming than lectures by the audience, and that their performances includes only entertaining shows too when people do not want message-oriented ones.

Dressed in black and red, making use of props like artificial sword and shields, peacock feathers, etc, the performance was full of enthusiasm and choreographed by Loknath Bhattacharya, president and dance director, KG.

“It was very good being here though the space for dancing was small and our hands kept banging in the ceiling frequently!” shared Bobby Bag, male sex worker.

Problems are a part of every human life, not just of sex workers. “It is a fact that these performers are school drop-outs as schools won’t take them, their financial condition is weak, they are marginalised, etc. But that does not mean they are not happy! They do celebrate their life and want society to allow them to choose their own life path, be it being a sex worker or a dancer, instead of forcing decisions on them,” said Sircar.

“This is a fight of human rights. Judge me by my talent, not my dress code or sexual orientation or effeminate behaviour,” said transgender Tina, a neuro-psychotherapist, present on occasion.

Though sad, the organisers yet again felt the difference in basic perception towards these dancers as the audience chairs remained empty until they went out inviting people on the spot. “It is a fact that invites like ‘children of sex workers’ are performing sell ultimately,” said Sircar.

Finally, those who came in did applaud with zest. “I liked it a lot and understood their meaning somewhat. It was beautiful,” said foreign national Eliza Fitzhuga, audience member.

Posted On Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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