BookBrowse Reviews The Dancing Girls of Lahore by Louise Brown

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The Dancing Girls of Lahore

Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan's Ancient Pleasure District

by Louise Brown

The Dancing Girls of Lahore
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 311 pages
    Jul 2006, 336 pages

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'Riveting and important. Even readers who don't think they're interested in Pakistani prostitution will find themselves engrossed.'

From the book jacket: 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 ...

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