Is Jogini Culture Still prevalent in India?
Jogini or devadasi is a well-known term in the vocabulary of most of us. It is something that we already have a good idea about. But most of us are totally unaware of the dark side of this culture, which is still prevalent in India.
A Jogini or Devadasi means the servant of God. Devadasis spent their whole life in worshipping their God. The devadasi system is a very ancient practice. The practice lost its true motive with time.
Since the 7th century, the Devadasi system is relevant. During the era of Cholas, Chelas and Pandyas, the ajogini culture of the Devadasi system started to widespread. There are a ton of famous devadasis who have made their name on the bright side of history.
After the arrival of Britishers in India, the empires abolished. The true motive of the jogini culture also lost its colour.
The Devadasi system or the jogini culture revolved around the Pottukattu or tali tying ceremony. The priest of the temple carries out this ceremony.
The Brahminical tradition sees this ceremony of tali tying as a symbol of marriage. The whole ceremony was a marital bond between the devadasi and the almighty.
After attaining puberty, the girl marries the emblem of God. The bridegroom is the same emblem. The marriage ceremony or the puberty ceremony was a huge community celebration in the town, and people gladly participated in it.
How many Devadasis are there in India?
A survey conducted in 2013 by the National Human Rights Commission revealed that there are as many as 450,000 Devadasis in our country. Justice Raghunath Rao led successful research in this direction.
A shocking number of almost 80,000 Devadasi women are active in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana alone.
Originally there were no stigmas with Devadasis or anyone related to them. Their children were legitimate. Honouring them was very vital. The jogini culture was a privileged profession in older times.
Devadasis were Akhanda saubhagyavati. Akhanda subhagyavati means a woman who is inseparable from fortune. These women were considered to be immune from widowhood which was a huge social stigma for other women in that era.Devadasi married the almighty God. The Devadasis were free from widowhood.
A Devadasis presence at a wedding ceremony was sacred and necessary. At the wedding ceremony, the devadasis gave people a wedding lock. Tali was a household name for these wedding locks. A tali is made from a simple thread with a few beads.
Who abolished the Devadasi system in India?
For years the oppression continued. On 9th October 1947, a bill was enacted. The Madras Presidency finally realised the necessity of some new laws. The bill is also known as the Devadasi Abolition Bill.
The need for this bill was due to the inhumane nature of the jogini culture. As the name suggests, the motive of this bill was to abolish the jogini culture.
Originally the marriage between a Devadasi and a mortal person was not possible. Things changed after these laws were passed. Devadasis can now freely marry anyone. Along with this, the whole devadasi system or jogini culture is now criminalised.
How Devadasis went from having high social status to being sex slaves and child prostitutes?
Devadasi system or jogini culture was rigid. With time, their situation and status have been worsened. This system accounts back to the time Britishers colonised India. Britishers often failed to distinguish Devadasis from the casual street dancers or women who worked as prostitutes.
With time, the situation of these devadasis has drastically changed. Devadasis nowadays are just sex slaves of child prostitutes to some rich men. Devadasi system or jogini culture is a chain of people who are destroying these young girls.
The sad truth about them is that a majority of them belong to the Dalit or some other sort of low and oppressed casts. It is near too impossible for them to free themselves from the chains of the Devadasi culture.
Insight about the family conditions
The parents of young girls force their daughters to go into the profession of a devadasi. The only source of income for these poor families is their own daughters. The families of these devadasis are not even allowed to enter the village. Devadasis are often from lower or oppressed castes.
The family suffers from unemployment because they have no or little education or skills. They have no other options left other than selling their young daughters. This is the only reason that the jogini culture is still relevant. Other than this, these families also work as sewage collectors and street cleaners. Parents ask their landlords or other wealthy men in the town to take away their daughters with them.
This wealthy man returns the families with financial security to some extent. They pay for some or all of the basic needs of the family. The rich man continues to do so until the girls are capable of providing them with sex and pleasure. Some famous devadasis, who initially suffered from these practices, gave the world a deep insight into the filthy system.