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WUZEERUN. - BAZAR WOMAN. (165) This photogrpah represents a Mahomedan bazar woman, or professional courtezan. Her dress is a yellow tunic, green silk trowsers, and red Cashmere shawl. There is little to be said for women of this class, who exist under many denominations all over India, and the nature of their profession debars description of them. Many are dancing women, Mahomedans as well as Hindoos. They can never contract real marriage, though some of them avail themselves of the form "Nika," under the Mahomedan law, the offspring of which is legitimate, though in a secondary degree. In such cases those married and secluded become honourable women. Public courtezans are devoted by their families to the profession from their early youth; and, on attaining a fit age, they are married to a dagger, or a tree, with all the ceremonies of a real marriage. This custom obtains as well among Hindoos as Mahomedans. Many of the great Hindoo temples have bands of courtezans attached to them, who are maintained by the revenues of the establishment, and who follow their trade without public shame. It is a strange anomaly that, while a courtezan, born of, or adopted into, a courtezan family, is not held to pursue a shameless vocation, other women who have fallen from good repute are esteemed disgraceful. The practice of purchasing children to be instructed as courtezans was commonly practised some years ago, even in British territories, and is frequent at the present time in those of native Princes; but the stringent nature of the laws existent under the British rule against all practice of slavery, however it may be disguised, prevents any open violation of them, and the customs formerly existent can hardly now escape punishment.
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