Shagufta Rafique, who went from being a bar girl to Bollywood scriptwriter, explains why it’s important that bar dancers be allowed to earn their livelihood
In the first place, imposing the ban was the wrong thing to do; 10 years ago they decided that dance bars were responsible for all criminal activity and children going haywire, etc. They failed to understand that not everyone is involved in negative activities and you can not categorise everybody.
For someone like me, who has actually worked with bar girls, it is clear that the ban was cruel. I know where these girls come from, what conditions compel them to enter this profession. I want to say that this is a good thing for women who need urgent money; dance bars can keep women out of prostitution.
This is why the ban was a scary prospect. Now that the Supreme Court has lifted it, there will be rules and regulations to be followed, but at least the women will be able to earn quick money without having to turn to prostitution. I’m not saying that women should make this a profession, but they should use it as a stepping stone.
Bar dancers and owners celebrated the Supreme Court’s stay on the operation of the 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act that had banned dance performances at bars across the state, on Thursday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Since when has dancing or performing live become a taboo or a bad thing? There were mujras in the old days, and today, there are item numbers in movies so why are we getting regressive about dancing? If dancing and singing is bad, then ban all the reality TV shows.
I am saying this from the point of view of the bar girls. I was fortunate enough to be able to quit that profession as I had some skills and a few contacts, but not all women are that lucky. Many are not educated and can afford barely two meals. What has been done to help them? I am happy that this verdict has given back their right to earn a living.
- As told to Gaurav Dubey