The report historically traces the social construction of the Indian prostitute, which misrepresented and degraded the imagery of an accomplished courtesan and artistic entertainer to the degraded western image of a prostitute. The first part deals with the methods and motivations of the colonial government in construing Indian prostitutes as a separate and distinct group. The second part analyses the reactions and effects the colonial discourse had on indigenous elites, and ends with a presentation of the imagery surrounding the Indian prostitute in Bengali popular literature of the time.