All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Devadasis Organizing for Social Change: Discourses of Power and Resistance
Unformatted Document Text:  Devadasis Organizing -- 6 considered auspicious. 8 On the negative side, devadasis are invited to marriages and house-warming ceremonies in order to absorb all evils from the occasion. 9 Many practices surround the devadasi tradition. For instance, the devadasis practiced a ritual form of begging called joga. The local people gave them alms in the belief that the goddess herself was begging. Consequently, many families dedicated their daughters because begging brought in considerable income. Similarly, some of the devadasis and even the jogappas claim to be possessed by the goddess and enter a state of trance. Local people approach them in times of distress, seeking advice for which they are paid money. Often these devadasis and jogappas claimed the ability to tell fortunes and sometimes advise families to dedicate their daughters as a solution to a personal problem the family confronted at the time. Another social problem was the practice of nude worship during fairs at temples of the goddess Yellamma (in Belgaum District, the temple is located in Saundatti). Referred to as bettala seve (Kannada phrase for “service in neem”), both men and women worshipped the goddess clothed only in branches of the neem tree (Margosa tree, Melia azadirachta), which was believed to pacify and appease the goddess. Another practice involves devadasis breaking their bangles 10 on the full moon day (referred to as hostile hunnime in Kannada) in December. The devadasis believe that the goddess Yellamma was widowed on this day, and they break their bangles in order to share this widowhood with the goddess. The Intervention Program A survey undertaken by the district government at the beginning of the intervention program in 1991 estimated the number of devadasis in Belgaum District at 3,300. Of these women, about 700 were identified as elderly and unable to actively associate themselves with the planned program; another 400 were not living in Belgaum District. The intervention program focused on the remaining 2,200 women, constituting the “target group.” The Karnataka State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC) launched the Devadasi Rehabilitation Project (DRP) in April 1991. The goals of the devadasi rehabilitation project were eradication of the devadasi system in Belgaum District, and enhancement of the socio-economic status of women exploited within this ancient 8 A married woman is considered a sign of good luck. Many rituals in Hindu homes revolve around the importance of the presence of married women. 9 The devadasis did not realize until the intervention program of study that they were invited to marriages and house- warming ceremonies in order to absorb all evils from the occasion. The KSWDC-MYRADA personnel and the devadasis informed me about the ignorance of their negative roles in these practices until the intervention. 10 A bangle is a bracelet made of colored glass. According to the Hindu religious texts, a married woman wearing bangles (other requirements include wearing a “bindi” [a colored spot on the forehead], wearing appropriate clothes, having a morning shower followed by prayers, etc.) makes her attractive, but more importantly it is auspicious

Authors: Kandath, Krishna.
first   previous   Page 6 of 30   next   last



background image
Devadasis Organizing -- 6
considered auspicious.
8
On the negative side, devadasis are invited to marriages and house-warming ceremonies in
order to absorb all evils from the occasion.
9
Many practices surround the devadasi tradition. For instance, the devadasis practiced a ritual form of begging
called joga. The local people gave them alms in the belief that the goddess herself was begging. Consequently,
many families dedicated their daughters because begging brought in considerable income. Similarly, some of the
devadasis and even the jogappas claim to be possessed by the goddess and enter a state of trance. Local people
approach them in times of distress, seeking advice for which they are paid money. Often these devadasis and
jogappas claimed the ability to tell fortunes and sometimes advise families to dedicate their daughters as a solution
to a personal problem the family confronted at the time. Another social problem was the practice of nude worship
during fairs at temples of the goddess Yellamma (in Belgaum District, the temple is located in Saundatti). Referred
to as bettala seve (Kannada phrase for “service in neem”), both men and women worshipped the goddess clothed
only in branches of the neem tree (Margosa tree, Melia azadirachta), which was believed to pacify and appease the
goddess. Another practice involves devadasis breaking their bangles
10
on the full moon day (referred to as hostile
hunnime in Kannada) in December. The devadasis believe that the goddess Yellamma was widowed on this day,
and they break their bangles in order to share this widowhood with the goddess.
The Intervention Program
A survey undertaken by the district government at the beginning of the intervention program in 1991 estimated the
number of devadasis in Belgaum District at 3,300. Of these women, about 700 were identified as elderly and unable to
actively associate themselves with the planned program; another 400 were not living in Belgaum District. The intervention
program focused on the remaining 2,200 women, constituting the “target group.”
The Karnataka State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC) launched the Devadasi Rehabilitation
Project (DRP) in April 1991. The goals of the devadasi rehabilitation project were eradication of the devadasi
system in Belgaum District, and enhancement of the socio-economic status of women exploited within this ancient
8
A married woman is considered a sign of good luck. Many rituals in Hindu homes revolve around the importance
of the presence of married women.
9
The devadasis did not realize until the intervention program of study that they were invited to marriages and house-
warming ceremonies in order to absorb all evils from the occasion. The KSWDC-MYRADA personnel and the
devadasis informed me about the ignorance of their negative roles in these practices until the intervention.
10
A bangle is a bracelet made of colored glass. According to the Hindu religious texts, a married woman wearing
bangles (other requirements include wearing a “bindi” [a colored spot on the forehead], wearing appropriate clothes,
having a morning shower followed by prayers, etc.) makes her attractive, but more importantly it is auspicious


Convention
All Academic Convention is the premier solution for your association's abstract management solutions needs.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 6 of 30   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.