Posted on: 7 February 2014

Illustration from the book:
Modern India
By William Eleroy Curtis
Published by F. H. Revell Company, Chicago - 1905

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They called them "nautch girls"....meaning nachne wali...

These poor women were probably exploited by by the colonial Brits, French, Portuguese Dutch, I FEEL for them, while admiring their grace and ancestral family...

For the colonial eye only

A nautch girl - a professional dancing girl in India. Period.

The person hiding behind the moniker Rare Book Society of India...yes of course, You can post pics but who are YOU to tell us HOW to view these pictures? We see what we see, we perceive what we perceive, don;t issue a fatwa on it. These girls were surely exploited by the colonials and the native elites of the period. We can think based on our knowledge of the Colonial Period. Naach Girl, the Anglo corrupted form...nautch...

Chithra KarunaKaran: I am truly surprised at your rage. I do not doubt your scholarship and I presume you must have reasons for saying what you do. I do not support exploitation of any kind at any time. But I fail to understand as to how the dancing girls who have existed as part of our culture since ancient times...were exploited only by the Colonials who have lived here only in the past 300 years. If the dancing girls were exploited as the devadasis were...then such exploitation has existed from time immemorial. Would appreciate if you could elaborate as to how only the colonials were responsible. And of course... as the Admin of RBSI... all my comments are posted by FB as such. No one is hiding here.

"Rage" ? I love the pics, don;t approve of your fatwa!!! I can think what I like about the pics, no censorship please. Remember you live in a democracy where speech is free so long as it is not hateful or limits discussion...wake up...

Ha ha! There are no fatwas here... unless it is 'Fatwa Alamgiri' of Aurangzeb that has been posted here once earlier. Kindly elaborate on the colonial connection when you find the time. Much interested to know.

I agree with RBSI shouldn't become emotional. after all the 'item numbers' in today's films are nothing but 'nautch' ... are we exploiting them?

These instruments and costumes really belong to western Rajasthan...and I guess they are gypsies...they are into dancing and singing, its their traditional profession, given the harsh realities of life in desert.They are doing it since ages...nothing like exploitation :P one of the woman is wearing long kurti which is very near to Persian costumes...anyway they still do it in Rajasthan.