- Title: The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan's Pleasure District
- Author: LouiseBrown
- ISBN: 9780060740436
- Page: 400
- Format: Paperback
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With beautiful understatement, Louise Brown turns a novelist s eye on a true story that beggars the imagination the lives of the dancing girls of Lahore, Parkistan.The dancing girls of Lahore inhabit the Diamond Market in the shadow of a great mosque The twenty first century goes on outside the walls of this ancient quarter but scarcely registers within Though theirWith beautiful understatement, Louise Brown turns a novelist s eye on a true story that beggars the imagination the lives of the dancing girls of Lahore, Parkistan.The dancing girls of Lahore inhabit the Diamond Market in the shadow of a great mosque The twenty first century goes on outside the walls of this ancient quarter but scarcely registers within Though their trade can be described with accuracy as prostitution, the dancing girls have an illustrious history Beloved by emperors and nawabs, their sophisticated art encompassed the best of Mughal culture The modern day Bollywood aesthetic, with its love of gaudy spectacle, music, and dance, is their distant legacy But the life of the pampered courtesan is not the one now being lived by Maha and her three girls What they do is forbidden by Islam, though tolerated but they are gandi, unclean, and Maha s daughters, like her, are born into the business and will not leave it Sociologist Louise Brown spent four years in the most intimate study of the family life of a Lahori dancing girl With beautiful understatement, she turns a novelist s eye on a true story that beggars the imagination Maha, a classically trained dancer of exquisite grace, had her virginity sold to a powerful Arab sheikh at the age of twelve when her own daughter Nena comes of age and Maha cannot bring in the money she once did, she faces a terrible decision as the agents of the sheikh come calling once .
Recent Comments "The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan's Pleasure District"
A dancing girl performing in a seedy establishmentLouise Brown suffers from the same outsider's malaise: generalisation after generalisaiton about people, culture, religion, social attitudes etc, all based on her few extended visits to the county, that dull the educative value of this memoir-cum-travelogue of Lahore's Heera Mandi, the red light district. (Stereotypes in this book are somewhat subdued; the other one about sex slaves in Southeast Asia is worse). This might be a useful read as long [...]
Read in January 2011. Edited August 2011 about three times) and totally rewritten 24 Sept 2014.This book wasn't what I thought it was going to be - an academic's study on the sex trade in Lahore. All the time I keep hoping the book will get to the nitty-gritty, it never does and it is explained in the afterword that the author does intend to write the sociological book the title implies 'at some point'. In the afterword! The book is about the time the author spent living with a particular 'danci [...]
Onvan : The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan's Pleasure District - Nevisande : Louise Brown - ISBN : 60740434 - ISBN13 : 9780060740436 - Dar 336 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2005
A beautifully scripted heart wrenching saga on the turbulent life of Maha( a veteran in sex trade) in the illustrious red light area of Heera Mandi /Diamond Market in Lahore, Pakistan.Heera Mandi once famous for its artistic aura of courtesans known purely for their dancing and singing skills has now been reduced to a commercial sex factory. A similar fate experienced by the courtesans of Lucknow (India) and the Geishas of Japan.Brown’s protagonist Maha who is at the dusk of her career (prosti [...]
This book attracted me because I am very interested in various forms of ethnic dance and the social positions of professional dancers in different societies. I spent many years of my life studying Egyptian style “Raqs Sharqi”, or what is here referred to as “belly” dance. I lived and even worked for a while as a dancer in Egypt and know first hand that dance has a very ambivalent position in the Middle East. On the one hand, almost everyone there dances. In the “old days” before the [...]
I can't imagine that these girls will make successful prostitutes. Their fate, though, has been sealed from birth. They are barely literate. They don't go to school. In fact, they don't go anywhere. They spend their lives in these two dark rooms in the corner of the courtyard, tripping down the spiral staircase, hovering around the entrance to the alleyway, and occasionally going in a rickshaw to buy food and clothes. That is the extent of their world. (18)Brown went to Pakistan as a researcher, [...]
A flat, almost passive tone and yet makes such an impact. I am a fan of non-judgemental report-like manner in which most of the western authors write. Reminds me of how we were taught to lose our opinion and write facts in our English Language class in school when writing a 'report'. It's not easy to write reports. Such a dedicated and professional take on the subject and yet she can't stop herself from getting emotionally involved which becomes slightly obvious in the 2nd half of the book.I cou [...]
Louise Brown is a British academic who has spent many years researching prostitution and trafficking of women and girls as sex slaves throughout Asia. Over a period of four years, she made periodic visits to Lahore, Pakistan. During each visit, she spent a month or two living in Heera Mandi, the official brothel quarter within the old walled city. Her main focus was on one family, consisting of Maha and her three adolescent daughters, but she got to know many other people as well. The profession [...]
This is an anthropological "study" of the red light district of Lahore, Pakistan. The author, Louise Brown, returned to Pakistan repeatedly for several months a year for seven years, living in the district and sharing the lives of the residents -- particularly the family of one. I found myself alternatively repulsed and saddened by their stories…and I often wondered how Brown could stand by and watch, without stepping in with the small amount of money that would have improved their lives so mu [...]
I loved this book. I have a very strong streak of wanderlust and this book seemed to put me right in the middle of the red light district of Lahore Pakistan. A place I'll probably never get to see nor particularly want to. But its so much more than a sensationalist or purient tract. Its the story of one main family and other relations and friends. It horrific and beautiful at the same time. Its life as it exists for many in the 3rd world. Its a chronical of child slavery and prostitution but it [...]
This is a very interesting book about the lives of the nearly destitute dwellers in the slums and brothels of Lahore, Pakistan in the late 1990s to about 2005. The author is almost too descriptive at times, making my skin crawl at the filth and lack of future which most of these people endure. Ms. Brown herself is not a very sympathetic character: She leaves her home and family in England for a month or two every three or four months and lives mainly with a particular family whose income has bee [...]
In a country where women are equated with honor, there is a well-known “secret” mohalla where love and sex are openly sold. Louise Brown’s “The dancing girls of Lahore” is an insight of the life in the Shahi Mohalla and Tibbi Gali of Lahore, also famously known as the Heera Mandi of Lahore – famous for being home to Lahore’s courtesans. A while back I read a similar book about Lahore’s Red Light District by Fouzia Saeed titled “Taboo”. Although “Taboo” was more involved i [...]
Fascinating but grim look into Lahore's Red Light District, a mixture of artisans, transsexuals, pimps, drug addicts, children and prostitutes. Louise Brown touched on so many of the social issues surrounding this environment that affects the lives of the people living in this district, and how it causes so many problems that are almost impossible to break free of. I completely understand why the daughters of prostitutes frequently turn to the trade themselves, because in a society where they ar [...]
Not about dancing - much - mostly about being born in a predetermined doom. One of the few traditional Asian groups that celebrate the birth of a girl as she'll eventually pay for herself, from her fated position as a disposable, degradable plaything for men.Lahore is a beautiful city - dirty and chaotic like most Asian huge population centers - and totally charming. Although i didn't stay long, i did visit the neighborhood she describes (as it was in Fall 2012) and spent two evenings at Iqbal's [...]
This is an interesting look at a part of Pakistan that is not often visible, discussed, or considered. The story is well written, covering the lives of many of the different elements of the seedy nightlife in the old city of Lahore. The author primarily follows the life of one family, along with the supporting cast around it. It is intriguing, disturbing, but entertaining all at the same time.
A telling of the selling of sex in Lahore, Pakistan by an English researcher- told in the form of a novel. This was at times, difficult to read as I think about the day-t0-day reality of teens in other parts of the world. I think what made this read even more interesting is the culture layered on top of this reality. In South Asian culture, people's perceptions of you are incredibly important- to the point where most people end up living in an alternate reality where they start to believe this p [...]
I was instantly attracted to this book the minute it was mentioned. Not just because it talks about hush hush zone of Lahore but also I wanted to see the views of non pakistani Britsh writer.I was expecting a judgemental comments from british writer about Pakistan Muslim society.But I was disappointed. I became a fan of Louise Brown dedication and passion, she spent years living in heera mandi doing her research where women like me are scared to go in bright day light or even mention the name of [...]
The first time i read it I liked it. But I just tried reading it again and couldn't get into it. This is a great immersion into a culture, especially if you don't know much about Pakistan. But the author spends a lot of time going forth in her cultural discussion between India and Pakistan which made it hard to remember the book is set in Pakistan. And she throws a lot of unfamiliar words at her readers without defining them. The first time I glossed over these, assuming she'd define them, but t [...]
An interesting look at the red light district in Lahore. The story is real. The author recounts her experiences with the people she met over years of living amonst them. It has a slight western perspective on many things (Engligh author) but recounts the chaos, emotions, and reality of life in the district very well. What I like most is that through the author's closeness to one family, the reader becomes aware of how difficult it really is for daughters not to inherit their mom's profession. A [...]
The author is an academic from Birmingham, England. But this book, although written in a matter-of-fact format for the most part, is informative without being dry. Brown writes about her trips to Pakistan from 2000 through 2004, after 9/11. If the author had focused on just Maka and her family the book might have been a bit more concise. All-in-all, I found this book very interesting.
This is an excellent book. Louise Brown has the inner eye of a novelist and the analytical insight of an academic and she has combined the two to produce a profound and moving insight of the underbelly of Pakistani society.
Too much conjecture, not enough story. I wish Louise Brown had a better, more personal way or writing, her research on brothels in Pakistan. The stories are gripping, but it was hard to follow them.
How did GoodReads delete my review of this?! UGH. It was the best review EVAR. :( Suffice it to say, go read this book.
A beautifully written account which transgresses the academic and makes the characters so real. There is no happy ever after ending here, as there never is with real-life, but there is always hope.
I have been reading a lot of books from the Middle East recently and so this fits into that theme and holds it's place at one of the better written ones that I've read. The world the author takes us into is very diverse and colourful and I wanted to keep running because I didn't think I'd get tired of reading it. I feel for the author in the sense that you go into a place with such poverty and corruption and want to fix everything. You want to save everyone and give them everything they need but [...]
I wish I had read this book before or during my trips to Lahore, particularly the old city, so I could envision what Heera Mandi looked like when Louise Brown chronicled her experience. I was one of those kids who grew up watching Pakeezah and Umrao Jaan, romanticized portrayals of the courtesan culture in the Indian subcontinent. Brown's portrayal is real, raw, uncomfortable, and in many ways tragic.
I loved reading it. It was sad and sweet and funny and painful and enlightening.
Interesting book, it was like am watching each scene with my eyes.
It's more 3.5. The writing is a bit choppy, obviously written from a journal.
Wow! What an insight into another culture. A constant struggle to live day by day. Such a different way of life, I thank my lucky stars I live here up north God's country!
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