CFSWs and their Babus (Male Partners)

Babu’ is a male client with whom CFSWs develop an emotional tie up for emotional and material supports from him. When they use to live with their husband, they ignore their marital relation because of their husband parasitic role in their lives. Gradually, they deny their husband after establishment of relationship with their ‘babus’. ‘Babus’ are primarily local persons (50%) who have regular contact with this community or sons/husband (30%) of their colleagues (other CFSWs) and rest of them is outsiders of their community. CFSWs extend their support of living with entertainment and many times, they use to provide financial support to their ‘babu’ and their families. But why are they in this relation? According to them, ‘babus’ are their emotional and social security. The association with ‘babu’ saves them from torture of clients and local thugs/mastans and police, etc. Secondly, ‘babus’ are the secondary care-givers of their children and their identity is attached to their children. Thirdly, it raises their social status in their community that particular CFSWs are in a relation with ‘babu’.

It was found that this relationship with a babu is not permanent in nature. CFSWs usually alter their male partners frequently upto 5 times throughout their life span of sex workers. There were several reasons associated with this alternation. Firstly, after few months of their relationship ‘babus’ harassed physically and sexually. Sometimes, CFSWs fail to provide financial support as per growing need and demand of ‘babu’. ‘Babus’ change their interest from particular CFSWs and they start to develop the emotional tie up with other CFSWs or vis-a vis’

In this study, it was also gravitated that within 10 years, 24% of them altered their ‘babus’ for more than 5 times, 36% of them altered for 3-4 times, 22% of them altered twice and only 10% of them altered once. But 4% of them was either they had permanent tie up with particular ‘babus’ or they did not go for further experience. Only 4% of them were in permanent relation with their marital partner. Either they were married before coming to this profession or they settled in a permanent relation with a male in their community. It was also informed that they had the specific goal to leave or withdraw from this trade after a certain period. The role of ‘babus’ as protector and provider was insignificant.

Therefore, the emotional state might be considered as a feeling as state of limerence (being in love), a condition of cognitive obsession as well as mental activity. This bonding state between two individuals is a desire for more than sex, but it may be end with sexual relation. This limerence might shift suddenly in relation to limerent object (partner). Limerence describes that two individuals might bond themselves emotionally due to physical attraction, style of conversation, style of making friendship and other such type of individual personal qualities. On the other hand, it might be broken due to misunderstanding and other some sensitive issues which one does not tolerate. It causes psychological harm to one partner only or both partners. Further, one partner when associates or comes to an attachment of another, his/her state of limerence might shift to. It has been also seen that this break up might lead also violence as revenge. But this state of limerence (being in love) does not stop after any bad incident/experience faced by limerent object. This emotional state continues again and again. It is like the theory of vomiting. The vomiting is the result of sickness of motion. It indicates that the particular particle (foods) is creating intoxication in any organ of human body which causes vomiting. So, one should not take this particular food further. But one individual does not remember it and he/she again takes it which repeats the same act of vomiting. So, emotional state reciprocates like the theory of vomiting. This emotional situation or act might be described through the following cases.

Case 1: Sampa (29 years), a CFSW was about 10 years in the trade. She was love victim. She had love relation with a boy of her nearby natal locality when she was in class-IX student. She was from a lower-middle class family background. She was the oldest child of her parent with a younger brother. Her parents were socially and economically in good condition. After her secondary education, she continued her higher secondary(10+2) and her love affairs were opened to her parents. They objected it. Then she left her parental home and got married to her lover/paramour. She shifted to Kolkata at a rental house. But one day her husband was missing and she was looked after by older lady who pushed her to this trade. Late, she was fallen in love with a local boy and married him. This boy was errand boy, and he had no income. He lived as parasite. After that she gave birth of a girl child. This spousal relation was lusted for only two years. She further tied up her emotional relation with a customer (regular visitor) as babu. This babu was a jewelry worker who had another family with a wife and children in his natal place in rural area and he treated Sampa as his second wife. When she was asked about her relationship with several men, she shared, “ It is a feeling of emotional security and I deserve it in my life. I can share my everything in my daily life with this particular man and it reminds me that I am not alone in this world. I know, I am here due to a male to whom I loved most. But relationship with a male/babu is an emotional state of living with joy.” She was also asked if this man leaves her what she would do. She replied with smile that she did not bother it and she hoped to make relation with another male.

Case 2 : Rajia (37) had problem with her male  partners/babu/husband who used to harass and torture her physically. She had altered male partner four times because she would not live without a male partner. She shared that she entered into this trade at her age of 19 years with her two kids (one male and one female) because she was a victim of domestic violence by her marital partner(husband) and in-laws. After leaving her in-laws family, she did not get any support from her parents because they were poor and at the same time, it was anti ritual to keep a married girl in parental family. Her neighbors were also commenting on her marital relationship. She searched for a job at Kolkata with the assistance of her relative who ultimately brought her into this brothel. After two months joining in the trade, she tied up her emotional relation with a local boy (son of CFSW) and they used to live as conjugal partners. Another girl baby was born. This mutual spousal relation did not sustain because this male was unemployed and fully depended on the earnings of Rajia. But he did not take any responsibility of their household. Beside this, he used to torture her when she did not provide money according to his demand. So, this relation was dismissed. She, then, involved with a customer and their emotional binding turned as a spouse. Although this ‘babu’ had his family (with a wife and children) in suburban area of Kolkata, he was supportive and used to assist. He was a government employee, and he visited her to drink alcohol with her. She did not take any care of her children. Gradually, he used to demand money from her. Initially, Rajia provided this. But later on she denied it and relationship with this male broke. Thus, she altered four males. According to Rajia, ‘emotional attachment with a male is a feeling of happiness, security and it saves one from unwanted happenings in their community. It saved her from adverse criticism and taunting of her colleagues if I have no man. So, there is a good feel factor with it. A woman without man is incomplete. We are regularly entertaining customers. But this is only a physical involvement for money. There is no emotional involvement. But the relationship with ‘babu’ is an emotional state.’

From this study, we find that CFSWs were victims of their emotional state and relational network for which they were engulfed into this stigmatized profession. In their profession, they used to serve different males regularly for money. But they tied up emotional relationship with a particular male as ‘babu’/husband. They shared their earnings to their ‘babus’ because of a social security in life and gaining of prestige as wife and male is a protector and provider. Eventually, it did not sustain with one. The males’ behavior was the cause of broken relation frequently and it pushed them for a new one. According to them, it involved with some good feel factors.


More by :  Dr. Harasankar Adhikari

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