One of the oldest occupations in the world is that of Prostitution. Read any eons-old piece of literature, like Chaucer’s great Canterbury Tales, you’ll get a reference to prostitution. Even in India’s age old classics, references to prostitution are often found. While not all are comfortable in bringing up the topic, except a few, like Charles Baudelaire and TS Eliot, that prostitution is still a harsh reality of any and every developed nations cannot be denied. Here in this list, we’ve make an attempt to chart out some of the infamous red light areas in our country.
Allahabad, the city of Sangam and the pious Kumbh Mela is where one of the most notorious red light areas of the country is. Meeraganj is a very dangerous place as it is not somewhat secluded and houses one of the biggest shopping centers of the city. In fact, it is a place where ruffians bring in minor rural girls and force them into prostitution or sell them off.
In the bygone eras, in India, many temples accompanied brothels. In fact, we have a whole area of research—Shivdasis—for that, and Chaturbhujsthan in Muzzarfarpur is just an exemplification of that. The fourth-most populated city of Bihar has an old temple at the said locale which has numerous small brothels in the adjoining area. And, we’re still hoping for a change, are we?
Varanasi, since times immemorial, has been famous for brothels and the elegant danseuses or what we know as the “tawaif culture”. However, similar situations can be noticed even now, in fact, at a more heinous scale. The place we’re talking about is about a 10 minutes journey from the Varanasi Railway Station and is one of the biggest red light areas in UP. Of the many NGOs working there, Gudia is one of the foremost which aids in saving children from getting into prostitution.
One of the most notorious red light areas of Maharashtra resides in Nagpur’s Ganga Jamuna area, though the name suggests peace and piety. The brothels in Ganga Jamuna not only run sex business, but also are major depots of criminal activities and smuggling.
Now this is one strange place that we are talking about. If you want to shop electronics, books and exquisite curios while in Pune, people will inevitably name Budhwar Peth to you, one of the busiest shopping destination in the city. If you want to visit the richest Ganesh Temple in India, you’ll have to go to Budhwar Pet’s Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple; and, if you want to buy cheap or expensive sex, still you’ll have to visit the same place. Is this what we call an epitome of a hi-tech city?
Kamathipura is no longer known by this name. The place is so much famous for its brothels that it’s now being called the Red Street of Bombay, and boasts of being the second largest red light areas of Asia. Needless to say, this place is one of the most dangerous zones in the city where the crime rate never comes down. Is this what we call a “sparkling city of dreams”?
G.B. Road or Garstin Bastion Road is again a commercial center of the city where you’ll get to see lots of old multi-storied buildings crumbling up side by side, the ground floor of which act as shops while the rest of the floors as brothels. These brothels are where girls and minors from the whole of India are sold.
Here we come to the most dangerous, notorious and, of course, the largest red light areas of Asia. Situated along the banks of the Ganges in North Kolkata, Shonagachi is one place in Kolkata with a very high crime rate. Well, within half an hour’s distance from here, you’ll get at Premchand Boral Lane or the Haarkata lane where still the baiji culture (or the tawaif) culture is prevalent. It is the oldest red light area in Asia and infamous for its offensive criminal activities.