Daughters of sex workers produce magazine in Bihar

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Muzaffarpur (Bihar), June 9 (ANI): In an attempt to be accepted by society and have a respectable life, the daughters of sex workers in Bihar's Muzaffarpur District are producing a monthly magazine called 'Jugnu' with the aid of Parcham, a non-government organization (NGO) that focuses on the lives of the people of the red light area.

The magazine that was started in 2002 is a collection of stories about people's lives, their dreams and aspirations, and questions, and is becoming quite popular in the area.

The magazine is special in the sense that everyone associated with it is the daughter of a sex worker. Nikhat, one of the founding members and editor of 'Jugnu' said though they are being accepted in society now, they had to face tough resistance initially.

"Since it was a unique attempt in itself we faced a lot of problems in the beginning. When we spoke to people about our magazine and asked them to talk about themselves, they thought, 'What will these small girls say and bring out?' When we went to lawyers for knowledge on matters of law, they used to underestimate us," said Nikhat.

"When we asked them to write on women's issues, or about the Dayan Act (Prevention of Witch Practices Act of 1999), they used to say that, 'these small girls talk on such big issues'. Then we started getting support from our journalist brothers and from members of our magazine as to how we could go about with the process of taking out the magazine," she added.

The girls, who are engaged in production of the magazine, now feel that such an association has enabled them to overcome fears of society.

"After coming here, I could realise the dreams that I had seen. Earlier, I was afraid to step out of my house. I used to think what the society would think about me because of the environment from which we came," said Soni Praveen, the librarian of Parcham, who also contributes articles to the magazine.

"I joined Parcham thinking that by associating myself with the organization I could get respect," he added.

The employees of 'Jugnu' further said that they are no longer afraid of their identities.

"It feels very nice as we want our work to speak for us. We wanted that society should not look down upon us. Earlier, we were afraid to speak openly about our identities, we are not afraid anymore," said Rinky, a volunteer at the NGO.

"Everywhere we go, we openly say that we are the daughters of the red light area and I come from there,' she added.

Initially a four-page magazine, 'Jugnu' now publishes a 32-page issue every month, in a black and white format. (ANI)

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