Scrolling the mouse up and down to read few articles; one of the articles titled “Devadasi: Within the Four Walls in the name of God” caught my eyes. What I read about Devadasi was pretty interesting and that made me further write on it.
Every year in India, the foundation of prostitution is laid in the name of God and religious traditions. Yes, the age-old tradition “Devadasi System”, young girls, between the ages of 9-12 years, is committed to a temple priest in the name of being married to God. And the reason will surely amaze you! So that the entire family can be free from the curse of being born in a low-caste family, and take rebirth in a high caste family. This is what they call a “religious belief” in many villages of India.
Though we are living in the 21st century, some people are stuck to the age-old Mughal tradition of keeping Devadasis. It’s absurd to see such crimes against women still prevailing in India when the whole world is going through a revolution of awareness and change of attitude towards women. Even more pathetic is the fact that women themselves are willingly falling for this sham. They believe that they are divine prostitutes and whatever they are doing is for God, but this is just not right. The women need to understand, there is no such link with the God. For a client, a prostitute is a prostitute no matter even if she is a devadasi.
The Devadasis of India are reduced to sex workers, in the name of God, to combat poverty. In India where everything is in contrast, religion and prostitution are geared together in the name of the Devadasi tradition.
In olden times, the Devadasis were temple dancers, who had a high place in the society. My understanding of it is that originally Devadasis were the women from high caste families. They held a very special place in the Indian culture: were incredible dancers, poets, artisans. They had specific religious roles to play within the temple performing various sacred religious rites. They were almost like nuns and had nothing to do with sex. It was more like being a priestess and fully dedicated to God.
This religious practice has become a business now, where these devadasis are forced into prostitution and has become a profitable way to fill the brothels in big cities. They are sent to the red-light areas to practice full-fledged prostitution. This spells doom for them. In a country like India, the pervasiveness of such practices is a definite setback to the growing women power.
The Devadasi system exploited women in the name of god for too long. The tradition itself has manifested and succumbed to preying on the bodies of struggling women, where their families are forced to sell their daughters in order to survive and the tradition is no longer for god or religion, its simply human trafficking. Religion never justified prostitution, yet using it as though it does is manipulative.
Today’s India is a reflection of the ‘then India’. With the passage of time ideologies change and so does behavioral patterns. Yet somehow dominating women by the patriarchy seems to be a never ending process. The crime began within the four walls of the temple, and today it takes place openly. Yesterday’s devadasi is a mirror image of today’s neglected women. Therefore, the question arises are we still rooted to our past? Or do we remain silent by pretending to be ignorant?
Watch a video which is a documentary by Sarah Harris. Here is the link: