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Ganga Jamuna


Game behind the name: This area, located near Itwari, is infamous for being the city's red-light area. It gets its name from two dancers, Ganga and Jamuna, who were brought here, possibly from Pune.

Historically Speaking: Nagpur is just over 300 years old and Ganga Jamuna may be just as old. Some people say many dancers used to be summoned by the city's elite families to perform their traditional art forms. Some of the dancers stayed back in the city. But, because they weren't always looked at respectfully, they were settled in what came to be known as Ganga Jamuna since the area was considered to be on the outskirts of the city. By and by, it gained infamy as more and more commercial sex workers started settling here.

Ram Ingole, a social activist who has worked for several decades for the rights of commercial sex workers, says that one of the first buildings in the area was what was known as 'Ganewali Building,' literally, a place where songs are performed. There even may have been a tunnel from the building.

Ingole says that the term red-light area is derived from this place itself and narrates an interesting incident to back up his claim. In 1980, there was a 'Hatao Bachao Andolan' in the area, with residents and commercial sex workers fighting it out. The residents, led by the then Ramtek MP Tej Singh Rao Bhosle, said that they faced a lot of hardships due to presence of a large number of brothels in the area. Clients of the brothels would knock on the doors of ordinary residents and put them in grave embarrassment. Therefore, the residents demanded that the brothels be removed.

The other side, led by MLA Jambuwantrao Dhote, however was against the eviction of commercial sex workers. Ingole too was at the forefront of those wanting to save the CSWs. "We suggested to the then chief minister AR Antulay that red lights be installed on the doors of brothels so as to clearly distinguish them from other buildings. This suggestion was implemented and therefore the area came to known as red-light area," Ingole says. Today, he adds, there are over 1,500 CSWs in the area. The only other historic building in the area is the Chinteshwar temple.