In modern times, girls who dance in social gatherings are termed as bar girls. Do you know these have been mentioned in the history of our country ever since 15th century. Earlier the gatherings used to be musical, known as ‘Khadi Mehfil’, and these females were called dance girls. The guests here used to be the kings, nobles and British authorities.
KK Rastogi of Gwalior Sangeet Gharana has a rare collection of photographs of these dance girls. According to him, Indian Hindus, Mughals and the British rulers were fond of these dance girls.
These girls later came to be knows as escorts/prostitutes in the 19th century. Sitting or talking to them apart from the gathering, came to become a taboo. This culture continues even today.
This picture is of year 1590. The dance girls are presenting a dance for Emperor Akbar.
The dance girls were not allowed to sit near anybody but their own group. This fact is clearly visible in this picture of year 1785. This is the picture of king Mubarak-ud-Daula of Mushirdabad, where people are enjoying the performance of the dance girls, but no one is going near them.
These gatherings slowly started happening in the halls of British authorities. This is the time when the business of prostitution began. The British who used to feel attracted towards a dance girl, started buying them for a night and sometimes even for more days. This picture of 1825 reveals the same.
This picture of 1800 shows how British authorities used to make girls dance for them.
This picture of 1815 shows a dance girl in sheer clothing.