Karnataka: Meet 35-Year-Old Woman Pursuing Her PhD In Social Inclusion of Devadasi Youth

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The Logical Indian Crew

Karnataka: Meet 35-Year-Old Woman Pursuing Her PhD In Social Inclusion of Devadasi Youth

Manjula (35) grew up in a Devadasi-dominated environment in Karnataka, where nearly every house in her village had one or two Devadasis, including her own.

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Originally from the remote village of Mudhol in Bagalkote district of Karnataka, Manjula (35) grew up in a Devadasi-dominated environment. Nearly every house in her village had one or two Devadasis, including her own. After being admitted to school, she attended tuition classes given by local students.

She preferred to engage in talks about Swami Vivekananda, the Indian Constitution, and fundamental rights that helped her think about coming out of this system. Manjula is one of the few Devadasi women who completed her higher education.

Forced At A Young Age

Manjula was forced to become a Devadasi when she was studying in Class 10. The New Indian Express quoted her saying, "I resisted when they forced me to become a Devadasi. I threatened to commit suicide and that's when they got scared. My grandmother said that they will allow me to study only if you will make it and take care of your mother".

That is when Manjula decided to work part-time at a private hospital. She said, "I was paid ₹500 per month. I used to spend it on my education and help my mother". After completing her BA at Mudhol, she took up tuitions for children, and an NGO helped her pursue a Masters's degree in Social Work at Udupi, followed by her PhD.

However, Manjula was not allowed to participate in sports or cultural events in high school because of the form where it asked to mention the father's name. She highlighted the problem faced by children of Devadasis around different forms. These forms asked for father details and how people ridiculed them over Devadasis children having many fathers. "I have seen many villagers wanting to quit their jobs and studies for this very reason, there should be some way to deal with the forms," Manjula said.

Government Schemes Of No-Use For Devadasis

The state government has a number of schemes aimed at empowering Devadasis, former Devadasis, and their children, but they are not well known. She questioned, " Devadasi community receives pension once in every three or six months, what are they supposed to do?"

Manjula opposes government offices as Devadasi's children were treated badly when asked for the benefits. "A monthly stipend of Rs 2,500 was being paid to the volunteers, but the government halted it, saying there is no Devadasi system now," she said. She further added, "Many of the girls were sent to brothels in Mumbai and Pune. These girls come back either with a child in their hands or with some deadly disease, but no one speaks about it.

She explained that the government could end the system if they educated Devadasis' children for ten years. Interestingly enough, Manjula married a colleague from the NGO, who is encouraging her to pursue her dream of studying.

Also Read- Myanmar: Children Openly Disowned By Parents For Opposing Junta

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Writer : Shriya Handoo
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Editor : Shiva Chaudhary
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Creatives : Shiva Chaudhary