A tawaif was a courtesan who catered to the nobility of South Asia, particularly during the era of the Mughal Empire. These courtesans would dance, sing, recite poetry and entertain their suitors at mehfils. Like the geisha tradition in Japan, their main purpose was to professionally entertain their guests. While sex was often incidental, it was not assured contractually. The most popular or highest-class tawaifs could often pick and choose between the best of their suitors. They contributed to music, dance, theatre, film and the Urdu literary tradition.
Prostitution in India
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