Posted: 03 May 2012 at 10:56pm | IP Logged
Read this article, there are many more on google if u search for Bedia tribe in India, they are a nomadic tribe spread over Rajasthan, UP, MP etc. Some Bedni women do perform Rai dance and sell themselves to Thakurs or other rich people to support the lazy men of their families.
While researching about tribes in India, we got to know about a tribe called Bedia that exists in an around Agra. This tribe has a tradition of engaging their women folk into prostitution with familial consent. This tradition is widespread among a few other nomadic groups in the country like the Nat, Sansi, Kanjar, and Bachada found in different parts of north, northwestern, and central India.
We were keen to know more about the Bedia tribe and how the community was surviving in modern India. Women born into a Bedia family remain unmarried. They engage in prostitution in order to provide for the economic needs of their natal family. Bedia men, although not economically productive, do marry. The wives of the Bedia men do not engage in prostitution. But they are largely responsible for all the domestic work including cooking, washing, cleaning, and childcare.
As Agra is hardly 200km from Delhi, we started our journey towards this popular tourist destination by around 11am. A few hours of journey by road led us to Agra and as we reached the place we were told that we should go towards Nagar in Bharatpur where we could find the tribals from the Bedia tribe living in a cluster of around 15-20 huts. We headed toward Bharatpur. Although the distance from Agra to Bharatpur is merely75km, we had to slow down our vehicle because a part of the road was under construction. When we reached Nagar it was already evening and we were tired, more so because of the slow drive. We rested for the night in a local hotel.
In morning we reached the village where the Bedia tribals dwelled. Their village was situated on the highway itself. Members of the Bedia community had different versions to tell us about the origin of prostitution among their womenfolk. A middle-aged woman told us that, "This (prostitution) is going on for many generations. We don't even know since when this is being carried out. It has been going on from the times of our ancestors." On another occasion, she explained to me, "Earlier we used to like this. Sometimes we would camp in one village sometimes in another. We used to beg and survive. Then one ancestor of ours started this tradition. He put his daughter into this flesh trade. He even set out all the rules of the trade. And ever since then, this has been going on in the community."
In sharp contrast, the Bedia men do not engage in any kind of wage or even non-wage work for a major part of their lives. While the community members do own some land, the young Bedia men do not participate in its cultivation although some of the older men do so intermittently. We also noticed Bedia men sometimes participate in domestic chores. Under some conditions, the men may engage in some gainful activities such as agriculture, rickshaw pulling, or some other work involving manual labour. But they barely ever do so consistently and in no case are they primarily responsible for the sustenance of their family.
Considering the fact that the men are not fully occupied in professional work, the Bedia community depends primarily on the earning of the womenfolk from prostitution. The women also take care of all domestic chores. So that leaves the Bedia men almost parasitic in nature, living off the money earned through the flesh trade. It is hardly surprising that the community members draw a clear correlation between men's inactivity and their increasing dependence upon prostitution. Despite our several questions put forth to the members of the Bedia community, we were not able to gauge or assess the precise earning of the tribal women from prostitution.
Despite India progressing on the economic front, the Bedia men have developed a strong resistance to any change in their style of living. Fortunately, lots of NGOs are working very hard to re-establish this tribe and provide them with respectable jobs so as to wean them away from this shameful activity.
We later visited another village, 10 km away from where we were, inhabited by the Bedia tribe but transformed and rehabilitated by NGOs and the efforts of the local government officials. It is a new beginning for them and a new way of living which they seem to have got used to it. It is the poor economic condition of the Beida tribe that had once compelled them to indulge in prostitution. But now there is ray of hope for these tribals and we surely hoped that the next time we visited them, it would be a different story. Anyway we hope to find another interesting place and another interesting tribe in our journey.
Edited by pallavi25 - 03 May 2012 at 10:59pm