Prostitution In The Name Of God: A Tragic Practice Of This Indian State
- IWB Post
- December 5, 2015
Prostitutes: Women who trade sex for money. Prostitutes are generally seen as those women who are unable to earn their daily bread by any other medium, other than selling their body to the highest bidder. Circumstances force these women to indulge in this lowly trade of flesh (Fantine, from Les Misérables, comes to mind).
But what if you were trained to become prostitutes from the time you attain puberty? Here’s presenting ‘Wadia’ village in Palanpur, proudly known as the village of prostitutes in Gujarat. The village is famous for its sexual services, provided by young girls standing on the cusp of adolescence.
Did you know there is an even more unsympathetic, barbarous arrangement called “The Devadasi System”? Young girls are dedicated to or married not to a mortal man but to an idol, a deity or an object of worship or to a temple.
The initiation ritual was said to include a ‘deflowering ceremony’, known as Uditambuvadu in some parts, whereby the priests would have intercourse with every girl enrolled at his temple as part of his religious ‘duty’.
So much that a Marathi saying states “Devadasi devachi bayako, sarya gavachi”, meaning ‘the servant of God, but the wife of the whole town’. The Devadasis girls are from the lowest caste whose parents have given them to local goddesses or temples as human ‘offerings’. She has to remain unmarried and maintain herself by ceremonial begging to meet the ends.
Married to God before puberty, the Devadasis or Joginis, many of whom live in the temples, become sexual servants to the villages’ upper-caste men after their first menstrual period.
They become victims of severe venereal and sexually transmitted diseases. The majority of the Devadasis after they reach a certain age migrate to the towns where they enter into brothels and become commercial sex workers.
According to the National Commission on Women of India, it is estimated that around 2, 50,000 Dalit girls are dedicated as Devadasis to Yellamma and Khondaba temples in the Maharashtra-Karnataka border.
Districts bordering Maharashtra and Karnataka are known as the ‘Devadasi belt’ of the country.
If this does not scream for the desperate need of education pan India, I don’t know what will.