Sex workers arise

Sweet and sour

I have coined a slogan for our times: ‘Sex Workers of the world arise.’ You have nothing to lose but your shame.

Men have been unfair to you from times immemorial and exploited you to expend their lust. At the same time they use very derogatory expressions for you: Kanjree, Twaif, rundee, vaishya, kotheywali etc etc. They have treated prostitutes like dirt and think that by calling you sex workers they have made amends. It is not enough; they have to give these ladies an honoured place in society. If it was not for them, incidents of rape and violence towards women would rise manifold.

In India, we have red-light areas in all our big cities: Sonagachi in Kolkata, Kamatipura in Mumbai, Lahori Gate in Delhi. Red-light areas should be abolished and prostitutes be allowed to operate wherever the like. In the West, they are usually street walkers to be picked up by male clients.

An item in the latest issue of Private Eye quotes The New York Daily News of how they mean to regulate lives of street-walkers. It reads: “The installation of prostitute meters is part of our effort to increase tax revenues,” Isabelle Klotz of the city council told reporters in Bonn, “and we expect them to raise about 200,000 Euros each year.

New method

Women who work in brothels and sauna clubs have been paying tax for years, but it has always been difficult to get women on the street to pay. Now they have to buy a 6 Euro ticket from one of our meters, which allows them to work the streets for one night. There will be inspections, and prostitutes who do not have a ticket will be fined. Thanks to this new method, we will now be able to tax them in all fairness with the others.”

“The meters, which look like ordinary parking meters, have not proved popular with street walkers. “This is just another attempt by the authorities to control us,” said Rosina Herring of the Dona Carmen prostitute support group.

“We have already had our area of operation reduced to one road, and are expected to have sex inside wooden garages called ‘consumption areas,’ built by the council. Prostitutes already pay income tax, so these meters have nothing to do with fiscal equality. They are oppressive, and we demand their removal.”

The only way to combat prostitution is by persuading amateurs to drive out professionals. In Europe, it is only in the Scandinavian countries - Sweden, Norway, Denmark - that prostitution is on the way out because their women have a more enlightened approach to their desire for sex.

Sarab Khalsa

The Sikh version of man’s first landing on the moon goes somewhat as follows: “When the American astronaut Neil Armstrong landed on the moon to take the first big step for humanity, he was greeted by a Sardar and his family. “When on earth did you people get here?” asked the American. The Sardar replied in Punjabi: “Aseen taa desh dey batwarey tey 1947 itthey as gaye - we came here on the partition of our country in 1947”.

The anecdote is an apt introduction to a recent publication Sikh in Latin America: travels among the Sikh Diaspora by Swarn Singh Kablon (Manohar). The author travelled extensively across South America to gather information about Sikh families settled there.

The largest settlement is in Yuba city in Mexico where Didar Singh Bains and his family live. There are smaller settlements in other South American countries.

The process of migration was as follows. One family arrives here, buys farm land and starts making a good living. They invite others from their village to join them. Soon there is a Sikh settlement. They set up a multi-purpose gurdwaras. It is a house of prayer with the Granth Sahib installed in the main room.

Attached to it are a few rooms to accommodate new arrivals. And there is guru-ka-langer - Guru’s kitchen in the basement where they have their evening meal on Sundays - often washed down with mugs of chilled beer.

Kashlon has done path-breaking research on Sikh settlements in Latin America countries. It should find a place in libraries and homes of people interested in the subject.

Perfect translation

Buta Singh desired an excellent command over English language. So he attended special classes. After a few lectures, the teacher asked him to translate the following into English:

Dukh hamesha saath rehta hai,
Magar Khushi aati jati rehti hai
Buta Singh translated it:
My wife is always with me.
But her sister comes and goes.

(Contributed by R S Mathur, Delhi)

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