Sarki, who migrated from Sarlahi district to Chandranigahapur, was not
allowed to buy a plot of land near the village. Later he decided to construct
his house, far from the village and near a forest. He alleged that all
the affluent people of the village tried to evade him saying that an oppressed
class man should live near a forest.
society needs oppressed class people in many ways, such as a 'Damai, (one
of the classes considered untouchable) is required for any auspicious occasions
like marriage ceremony and bratbandha and a Biswokarma or a Kami is needed
to manufacture agricultural tools. However, it is ironical that they are
despised in our society. They are not allowed to touch water coming from
Rautahat District Committee member and woman leader Kalyani Khadka says
that although untouchability is a punishable crime, it is still entrenched
in the society. Chief District Officer Anand Raj Pokhrel says discrimination
on grounds of race and caste has sullied the society.
interview with a Badi sex-worker, living in Rajapur, a small village of
Bardiya, where the Badis have been following prostitution openly in their
homes. Only a few are practicing it, thanks to the awareness. The interviewee's
and her daughter's real names and have been changed and the pictures don't
represent the real persons.
our society, going to school in uniforms with books is a far cry. I never
saw a school. And you can't find schools here at every crossroad like in
the capital. This is how we live here - dry soil, cloudless sky, mud-huts
and men coming and going from our gloom filled huts - this is what we say
our life is like.
name is Nirma Nepali. I am 35 years old and I have been living in this
deserted small village Rajapur since I was born. I am not ashamed to say
that I have been involved in prostitution for the last decade and a half.
was born with an uncertain future. My mother cannot even disclose my father's
name (she says that he is a rich and respectable man). In our Badi community,
giving birth to a child where the father remains unknown is routine. Rajapur
has witnessed hundreds of such births.
| We never care why men come to our homes and do what they do. This is all
we know. Living in that environment, I found myself being involved in what
you people say is the sex-trade... It must have been before I was twenty
when I started accepting the clients in my room.
Please don't ask why we took "pesha" as a profession. Everybody knows it.
Our belly demands food and our class of people can never find a better
job than this. We work to fill our stomachs and it is better than stealing,
cheating and looting.
Being a toy for the neighbouring well-to-do people is our destiny now.
Our ancestors did not start this profession for pleasure. Our great grandparents
came into contact with the landlords, high-class society and politicians.
Exploiting women from the lower-class is considered their right. Later,
married and unwed women from our community gave birth to children whose
fathers' names were never said. They had to care for them and being involved
in prostitution was the only one way to let the children survive in this
I know what the world says about it. Some time it becomes impossible to
live in this world. Wherever we go, whatever we do, now and then, the same
verbal attack, the mockery, discrimination and even tyranny. This unabated
chain of insults will never see an end, it seems.
To tell you the truth, the number of clients are going down these days.
We earn only a bad name but not money. At times nobody comes to our huts
and we go without dinner that day. Even all the clients do not pay us as
they promise, physical violence is another part of our daily life about
which I don't want to talk much.
I just want you people to understand that being a Badi is not just being
a prostitute. All Badi women are not in this trade and it is not only the
Badis' job too. Prostitution has flourished in every city and village.
Are they all Badis? If they can go on with the same means of earning all
over the country, or perhaps all over the world, why can't we? Some are
businessmen, some are teachers, and we are doing 'this'.
I have seen Nepali actresses who never feel shy to show their thighs and
navels and dance among scores of male partners. They even drink alcohol
and beer and smoke. That we can't even imagine in our society. Even married
women hug other men. Now tell me what they are? We badis do 'pesha' but
I swear, no married woman waits for clients.
Next, we all know that this "pesha" is quite common in star hotels as well
as streets in the capital. And the police and administration don't criticize
them. Some travel as far as Mumbai and Kolkata for the same purpose. They
all make money. Can you call them the Badis? I bet, you can't.
There were different organisations, who came forward pretending to save
us. It was not long ago, when 35 women from Rajapur were taken to Gulariya,
another city of the district. But instead of giving them any incentives,
they were kept in custody and even the policemen manhandled.
Hundreds of people, from NGOs and some journalists have visited us. They
have made huge money out of our deserted fortune or sensational stories.
But, we have seen no changes. Why don't they build a factory for us instead
of visiting and writing reports?
| But now we have realized that we should not stick to this profession for
long. The awareness has made its mark. I am hopeful that you will not see
Badi women doing 'pesha' from the next generation. We are working hard
to bring in this change. It is slow but I am certain it will come about.
But I can't now go back to normalcy. But I will never let my 2 year old
daughter Sapani follow the hellish path out of which I am going to escape.
She is living in a hostel now, run by an NGO but I feel horrible whenever
I imagine what would happen when she grows up and comes back to our village
Even in Rajapur, many women from other communities follow prostitution.
But they are not as downplayed as we. What is wrong with us?