By Ruchir Saraf:
The ancient and outlawed, yet still prevalent, practice originally gave Devadasis a comfortable life and high social standing, but began to be abused by the rich and powerful. Approximately 250,000 girls and women in south-western India alone are still dedicated to their local temple deities as “Devadasis” (meaning “servant of God”). The Devadasi system has over the years resulted in trafficking of women for commercial sexual exploitation, where almost 64% of them were forced into prostitution to survive.
The video tells the story of Mahananda, a former Devadasi from Kappalaguddi in Belgaum district, who broke the shackles of an age-old superstitious practice with resilience and courage. Having earned her way out into freedom, this 34-year-old now employs four former-Devadasis in her sewing enterprise. Her younger daughter studies in the 8th grade, and plans to pursue a career in Science.