alexa Caste and Prostitution in India: Politics of Shame and
ISSN 2332-0915

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Research Article

Caste and Prostitution in India: Politics of Shame and of Exclusion

Divyendu Jha* and Tanya Sharma

Delhi University, New Delhi, India

*Corresponding Author:
Divyendu Jha
Delhi University, New Delhi, India
Tel: 8826905704
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: December 12, 2015 Accepted date: February 26, 2016 Published date: February 29, 2016

Citation: Jha D, Sharma T (2016) Caste and Prostitution in India: Politics of Shame and of Exclusion. Anthropol 4:160. doi: 10.4172/2332-0915.1000160

Copyright: © 2016 Jha D, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



The act of prostitution has existed in India since centuries have undergone change within its nature, intensity and issues concerning it. Once, socio – culturally sanctified prostitution is now have been reconstructed and represented through language as a matter of undignified profession eventually marginalizes ‘women in sex work’ from all Public Spaces. The power of culture and language of social morality instrumentalizes the body of women which eventually denies them their most basic human rights on the pretext of being indulged in Shameful activity. Shame constructed through social morality has instrumentality to make women in sex work subservient to the desires of Men. Caste is one of the determining factor when it comes to Ritualized prostitution. Even though ritualized prostitution is illegal it is still prevalent. Caste-system as essentially being exclusionary tends to impose prostitution which is socially considered as ‘Shameful’ on lower caste groups (as in the case of Jogins of Andhra Pradesh) in such a manner that it eventually reinforces the dominance of cultural traditions of which caste system is a part. Many lower caste communities are forced to be in this profession in the name of traditional culture (Like Nats in Rajasthan). The forms of Ritualized prostitution in India in case of Devadasi/jogins and caste based prostitution reinforces societal moralities on these women in such a manner that it alters their perception about their own SELF as someone indulged in immoral/shameful practice. Therefore, need is to deconstruct the language of ‘shame’ and exclusion and how it institutionalizes the caste hierarchies and gendered power relations in a manner that helps in sustenance of caste based cultural practices.


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