Dance bar ban and a community’s struggle to escape the sex trade
The Lalbaugcha Raja idol was unveiled on Thursday, four days before Ganesh Chaturthi.
As the battle over reopening dance bars in Maharashtra continues in the Supreme Court, far away from Mumbai’s bars is a community feeling the greatest impact of the eight-year ban.
The Nats, a Scheduled Caste community from Rajasthan, have led a marginalised existence for decades. They were performers before prostitution became the norm, with girls joining the trade as soon as they hit puberty. The women were stuck in a cycle — until dance bars became popular. Pinky Madhiwal, one of the first Nat women to leave the sex trade to join a dance bar. Many came to Mumbai and began earning well. But the ban has slowly started pushing women back into the sex trade.