The following presentation is exclusively drafted, researched and presented by Voxspace and it’s writers. In this context, and for the convenience of the participants within this article, the identities, places and incidents have been renamed. The core article and interview of Bibi Mohsina remains a verified property of the website. All the views and conversations are true and have been presented in the way that they occurred, in an unadulterated manner. Our intention is not to glamorise any particular profession herein. Our intention is to bring out a story only a few people know in this city.
The reader is advised to proceed with caution and preference.
Chapter One – The Disprin Chai And The Leather Boots
July 10th 2016,
That was probably the first time that we, (Voxspace and me), interacted on this intriguing lady who was known popularly as Bibi Mohsina. The discussion led us to the very basic question – Who was Bibi Mohsina, and what was the story value that we could angle in. (I was literally asked that by the guy running VoxSpace). My reply to that was simple, “Aren’t you into human stories? Cause, here I am bringing to you a woman half the city fears. If you aren’t in for Human Stories, I will publish it on my own blog”. Discussions went on for a few minutes next, and the Guy asked me only one thing at last. He said, “Can We Get The Whole Story Of Her?”.
July 23rd, 2016, Chatta Bazaar, Afzalgunj, Hyderabad
On the bustling road of hawkers and street vendors, and amongst the modest parade of eunuchs trying their fear factor on the gullible populace, I kept waiting for my contact, Patel, to arrive. This Patel character had already stood me up twice in the last week or so. Funny little guy, with a paunch and an uneven scooter, he used to provide us good ‘quality’ hash when I lived in Ameerpet back in the day. So I knew this guy by face, not so much by his discipline. Luckily for me (could be the Eunuch’s fortune, who I’d just paid a hundred bucks for), Patel arrived, now graduating from a scrappy Chetak to a sparkly blue Activa 3G. We both started out to meet Bibi Mohsina, who in simple words is the manager of the city’s biggest brothel house. Her office address laid deep in the womb of Charminar, staying overtly hidden, a few random turns from Sultan Shahi Road.
As we entered a recently renovated Imaam House on the swift turn, at the end of the road, the first thing that hit me, was how normal it looked. There was a faint smell of incense sticks somewhere, brightly lit hall, and archetypically crafted wooden sofas, dotted with red cushions. Needless to say, nothing seemed unwelcome by any measure. Now, because it was still an hour to go for the Maghrib, evening namaz, the House, it’s sweeping vision of a thousand square foot hall, was being mopped with a strange smell. Patel signalled me to wait, as he swiftly walked up the stairs. I checked and double checked if I was carrying a cigarette. One of the rules I was cautioned about was the No Smoking one. And then, I saw her – Bibi Mohsina.
I am not great at describing people, but here I was watching someone who looked nothing like I imagined her to be. For starters, she was chubbier and shorter than I thought. She walked assuredly and had a warm smile plastered on her face. She was not intimidating, in fact, miles away far from it.
And so there she was, like any other lady of her age (forty-five I’ve been told), nothing spectacular or frightening. In fact warm and welcoming. So as we greeted ourselves, and she sat on a chair, in front of me, and thus we started talking. The excerpts of our conversation on that day come below…
Mohsina Bibi – You are managing this House, for the past seven years. What made you take this up? I mean, are you not curious to do something more socially acceptable?
No. I am more comfortable here. I am part of a good society and people respect me. Do you think they don’t respect me? This side of the Laad Bazaar, people know me by name. Ask anyone near Charminar, where Bibi lives and they’ll bring you here. What is wrong? People come here for joy and happiness. It is like watching ‘Picture’ no? You are here, that is because you know about me. So, my life inshallah, is going great. It is not required for me to see any other, outside world, when people living there, come here. They are what makes the world no?
“Will you take Chai?” She asks abruptly as I try to absorb what she is saying. My proficiency in Deccani is truly being tested here. And because I was not allowed to bring any recording device, it is just me and my notepad.
“Thank you, but Patel and I had a cup of chai while coming here” I reply.
“We have a special chai, brother. It makes any a headache run away and makes you less nervous. We call it Disprin Chai” she insists with a smile. And then as we sipped on our chai, it was clear as to why it was called Disprin Chai. Bibi Mohsina had found a weird way of infusing vodka into chai. And it sure was tasty and smack.
Where do you come from Bibi? Are you from the city itself or somewhere outside? Also, since when have you been associated with Immam Ghar?
There is a place, called Pimpalkhuti, you know? It is in Adilabad. I came here when I was eleven years old. Since then this is my home. You see people in this house, everyone is my friend, sister, and relative. I never go back to my village, but who cares now? First I was here, under Shammi Bibi, and now I am the Manager here. But I want to know one thing from you, Can I ask?
What are you doing here and why are you talking to me?
Because I want to bring your story to our readers. We are fed up, of ignoring good stories around us, and talk about some actor somewhere.
She goes silent for a while. And then abruptly stands up, and with a warm smile, says she has to leave now. Patel nods obediently to her, and in an instant, we start walking out. The last thing I observe is a pair of leather shoes at the doorway, left hurriedly, by a tall lanky man walking in.
Chapter Two – The Broken Horse Cart and The Bleeding Noses
October 17th, 2016, Charminar
After almost three months, I got the chance to meet Patel again. By now, I had given up on the article on Bibi Mohsina. For one reason or the other, an appointment with her just didn’t work out. Partly because I was told that she was visiting Bahrain during this time, and when she returned in September, I was busy with my job commitments. So on and so well. I moved out from VoxSpace to write for different online magazines. No particular reason for that, just that it was easier to write ‘14 sure shot signs that your crush is looking for just a fling’. A cool 400 words of crap, in ornamented English, got me some quick bucks. No serious thought involved. No research. No drive around. But then, Hash cravings, got me to call Patel on a fine night. It was at that point that I got to know that Bibi Mohsina was back in the city. That sparked my interest to take up the article again.
We arranged a meeting, and here I was on that velvety red sofa again, asking her questions (this time well prepared and direct), and drafting up something worthwhile than what my “crush felt about me”…
Last time you mentioned that you were sold here at Immam Ghar when you were eleven? Could you tell us what led to those circumstances?
I was seven, yes. My uncle brought me here. My mother, bless her soul, was a poor woman. The man who fucked her for love, left her, as soon as her stomach began to bulge. So now, after I was born (came to earth), my mother took care of me, by carrying me to the fields. She helped a farmer. Now when I look back, I think, she was working under a different farmer, who owned the land. My mother used to leave me in an abandoned horse cart, which was usually left on the border of the field. I remember the Horse Cart as my first home. She would come back to check on me, occasionally, or a friend of hers would, while passing by. I was taken care of by one hand or the other.
I grew up in a horse cart to be true. So eventually, a man started living with us in our hut. He was married to my mother maybe? I don’t know. But there are only a few images of him in my mind. So it was when I was nine or ten years old, I think, when my mother passed away. She just died in her sleep. I was told that.
After a few months, the man, whose name I don’t remember, brought me to the city, on a bus. I remember the bus clearly. I don’t know where, but we stayed for quite a while. In this time, every night, he would call me to sit beside him. He would say ‘Remove your clothes, Mashallah, let me look at your breasts. You know, by sucking them only they will grow big, like every aunty, let me help you’. He would lay me down then and would cover my face with a hairy blanket, and thrust his Gaand (penis) into me. Sometimes, he used to bring other men to the water dripping place we were living in, and ask me to suck their dicks, one by one, as they drank happily half naked. Some would then take turns with me, even while they were not drunk anymore.
One day, he saw, some red coloured marks on my blanket. It was that day he was afraid and brought me here to Shammi Bibi. I never saw him after that day. I had wiped my bleeding nose with the blanket in sleep. That bleeding nose brought me here.
Did you realise then that your uncle, the man, was selling you for money? And could you tell me more about Shammi Bibi? Isn’t she the one who had a major fight with SI Mehfooz Ali Of Charminar PS, some ten years ago?
I will not say anything about Mehfooz Ali incident. If you are here only for that then leave. Are you here for that?
No, I was just curious.
Shammi Bibi was a good lady, I can say. She was not the best woman I came across, but may Allah bless her soul, she was, right in many ways. Also, you are wrong in this question. I was sold. I never said money. You see, there are many ways. Other ways than just money. A permission to fuck other girls at a lesser rate, or sometimes no rate, is also an exchange. I can think that this man was also bored with me. So he did what he did. He exchanged me for many other girls. Shammi Bibi initially was very strict, but she cared about us. She taught us to read and write. In the mornings she used to talk to us, make us learn something new, make us read the newspaper, and in the evening it was the business. She was a good lady. I do not know much about how she came here. Some say, she came from Calcutta, from a wealthy family.
So she wasn’t into the Business as you were?
I do not think so. Even If she was, it was way before I came here. I never saw her with any man coming here. She was the manager. She was not supposed to.
What do you think of Prostitution in layman terms? What do you think it is and why do you think people look down upon it from ages? Also, importantly, should it be legalised in India?
I am a Randi (a whore). A Bibi later on, but Randi still. I do not know great political things about Prostitution. But I believe this and only this. We are not doing anything wrong. Law, is today one thing, tomorrow another. Today, we have 500 notes, tomorrow someone will say they are not legal. Then what will you do?
(This was an intriguing statement that Bibi Mohsina made, purely because this is exactly what happened a month later, on November 8th. Was it just a passing reference or did she know something about it? I can never tell. But from the ease with which she said that, pointed at a rumour that came out in late November – Of a nexus of people who knew about the Demonetization and had taken measures to convert their moneys before it was too late)
In India, I do not think anything is legal. Everything is necessary. And these needs make things work. Men come here, whether or not you want them to come. And in our Immam, I take care that no one is booked in any case relating to us.
And then, a call on her mobile, allowed her to take her second pause in our interview. However, this time I went out with a much better story to present. But as the guy at VoxSpace asked me many months earlier – “Could I Get The Whole Story Of Her?”. That remained to be seen.
Chapter Three – Condom Prices and Weird Requests
May 23rd, 2017, Immam Ghar, Charminar
As the city smelled of the first rains, my third visit to Immam Ghar meant my last. I had some clearly thought out questions to ask, Mohsina. She had fallen sick in January, a simple case of Dengue, and had only recently recovered. I had to request Patel to seek her audience as soon as possible. The soon in his terms, came about now.
This time, Bibi chose a different place. It was the rooftop of Ghar, where a couple of plastic chairs awaited us. She spoke about how the weather becomes so pleasant this time of the day. I couldn’t agree with her more. The moist evening made every soul happy in the heart. I carefully structured the following questions,
Mohsina Bibi, Can I know how much you price your girls? What do you look for when you fix a price and how much do they get on a daily basis?
You are a brave person. But expected also. I know you had this question in mind. The other day, a journalist from a newspaper came, and this was his first question. I asked him to leave. We will not discuss with you anything, I said, and he left. But you seem to be a good person. I will answer, but one condition. My name, this place’s name, and my girl’s names should never come out. If you cannot agree I cannot tell.
Of course, of course
We have two thousand four hundred girls. The eldest is Adilah. This is her home for ten years, I think. Then, Barkha is the youngest at 18. Nimmo and Wadiya, Begum, Neelu, and many others are here for six to seven years. So we send some to Bombay, Delhi, or Bangalore when they want to or if a fight comes with a client. I cannot tell how much we price them, but we take from Seven thousand to forty-five thousand. When someone pays forty-five thousand, he can visit our place as many times as he wants for three months. And he gets choice and preference over others. We also make separate rates for people who do not want to use Condoms. We have a doctor who comes once in two days, and we test the clients for HIV or other diseases. If he is normal, we allow them to participate without condoms. Otherwise, it is compulsory. Whatever we earn, we also share at midnight.
You said Shammi Bibi taught you how to write and read? Are you continuing that with the girls here? Also, what if someone wants to try for a new job or occupation outside of this home? And do you ensure that they don’t speak of this place outside?
Yes yes. Ikram Sahib, who teaches at Anwarull Olloom, around Talab, comes here once every two days, and we make sure that everyone gets to learn. Recently, Wadiya and another girl, Kushboo Mehrun, attended degree exams. Ask Patel. He took them to their exams.
(Patel nods in assurance and says they await the results with good hope)
They can apply for jobs. Most of the problem is, that these girls have no identity proofs. They come here from different states. Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Kerala, Ukraine, Indonesia, Russia and more. It is a huge task getting them to speak in a common language. Getting them identities is a whole different business altogether.
But recently, we have tried and got most of the girls Aadhar cards, and Voter IDs. Sometimes the local constables harass these girls outside, curse and lock them, and then they need to show their identification. So for that reason also, we did it. No one told me what jobs I could do when I was young and Shammi Bibi had left before she could guide me in that respect. I do not want my girls to be like that. I want them to know the world outside. The reason is simple. Most of our girls stay here because they have to support their families. Some are just sold like me. So we give them chances. We are not devils to ruin lives, Allah knows.
Of course, we take measures for our own safety to avoid our girls to talk about our place. We are providing them food, shelter and money when they need. They cannot turn on us later on. My responsibility is this home. And I will protect it.
Lastly, from your time to now, what has changed in the way you do business? What is Immam Ghar’s relationship with Local Police?
(Mohsina seems to be in deep thought. I can see that she is trying to be very careful of what she speaks about the Police. From my initial research, I know that she maintains a good rapport with a couple of head constables at the nearest Police Station in Charminar. Also, she has a great connection with the ruling party MLA in the area, contributing two years back, handsomely to their party fund. And yet here she is, thinking silently about her next choice of words)
When I started here, there were only two hundred of us. Shammi Bibi divided us into two batches. When one batch worked here on the first day of the week, another batch went out to places, homes and hotels. Our brokers would ensure this cycle was maintained. But later on, a few girls went missing from an outside batch, some were raped and tortured and we were losing control over our brokers, who started selling our girls into houses outside the city.
Then Shammi Bibi cancelled this batch system. Now, we are more careful of our girls and who they spend time with. Also, customer requests have become weird too. One customer wants to piss on Adilah, another wants Shabnam to wear a mask of his sister while fucking, another wants to hit Punam with boards and shoes. The list of weird requests is becoming longer every day. Therefore, we are ensuring that the girls ring the bell (clasped under the bed) whenever something happens apart from regular sex, vagina playing or cock sucking. Men have become desperate Chuths (Pussys)
I do not want to talk much about Local Police. They are helpful sometimes. Sometimes they aren’t. I can tell that most of them help us because they come here. But otherwise, they are hardly helpful. We cannot trust them.
Chapter Four – What Made Mohsina Bibi One Of The Most Feared Woman In The City
And so, Bibi Mohsina walked down to her daily prayers. I finally had the story which made some sense and had some structure. The story of Mohsina was like any other girl sold into flesh trade. Of course, what made her special was that she was Bibi Mohsina now, single-handedly controlling the biggest brothel house in Hyderabad. But somehow, the story felt incomplete to me. And in order to complete it truly, I asked Patel for one last favour. I wanted to talk to some of the girls. My questions would now try to understand aspects of Mohsina which I couldn’t understand from her. But from others. The following are some of the most interesting replies I managed to arrive at..,
“I know Bibi Mohsina for the past seven years. She is someone I respect a lot. Other houses in the city, abuse or torture people when it comes to bringing business. Bibi Mohsina is someone who will never do that. You can ask anyone. She is peaceful for the most part. The only time I saw her doing something extreme, was when some policemen came into Immam and started destroying things. I saw her slap one of these men and gripped his penis so tightly that he fell down in pain. That one incident made everyone become afraid of her” says Tara, an American Indian who lives in this ghar. She usually entertains the elite clients who come to the Moholla.
“Bibi only fears the Almighty. No one else. And least of it, no man. She will know more about you, more than your mother. She will fuck you up before you even think of fucking her. Perhaps she is the most powerful woman this side of the city. It is said, that if in this city, you need to come to power, you need Mohsina Bibi to bless you” says Fatima, who has recently completed her degree from Osmania University. The whole course had been sponsored by Bibi.
Right before this article went into publishing, we managed to get one last byte from renowned journalist Ramachandran who was one of the first journalists to cover Immam Ghar. I would like to end this coverage basing on his quote here,
“The City has many Gods. Some with Power and some without. But into the places where Gods dare not walk in, there exists Bibi Mohsina of Immam Ghar. A flawed Goddess who does right by thousands of young women, in her own human ways. If there is someone who has brought a decency to the unsavoury profession, a lasting empowerment to the society’s volatile human needs, it is this woman, in all her grace”
(Cover Image Of Mohsina used only for representative purposes. Original image/photograph by Stuart Cohen)