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Devadasi System in India

Commonly known as 'dance girls' or 'temple ladies' is a system that has come directly into existence for more than thousand years. When the fantastic tamil kings owned by the erstwhile Chola, Chera and Pandya Kings built huge temples for his or her gods, they noticed that there is a need to keep up these temples in an effective way and thus need full time devotees to take care of the diety and the temple premises. One other angle directed at creating Huge temples are to safeguard the folks from flood, cyclone or any other natural disaster. Quite simply, temples are designed to be shelter for the people of that area from natural disasters. Hence they appointed young girls to keep up these temples. The main function of the women are to sing and accomplishing dances and taking care of the diety. They are believed to be the 'wives' of the 'gods' in the temple where they are simply appointed. They aren't allowed to marry any mortal man throughout their life. These ladies are organised in High esteem as they are considered to be close confident of the god. The boogie that they perform is famously known as 'Barathanatyam' the most well-known dance form of South India.

This practice of dedicating young girls to deities are commonly known as 'Devadasi System' and girls thus dedicated are known as 'Devadasi' which is a Sanskrit term or 'Thevaradiyar' which really is a Tamil word that actually means 'feminine slaves of the god'. As stated above these 'Devadasi' are anticipated to be experts in Music and Boogie. As years approved 'their service shifted from gods to earthly gods and lords'. They are simply pressured to do service not and then the deities, but also to the landlords and rich devotees of the deities. In a nutshell, they started living the life span of a prostitute with spiritual sanction and customary support. Initially this technique was widespread only among the top caste Hindus specifically of the Brahmin community.

The British colonization of India brought major change in the spiritual and cultural cloth of India. Top of the caste 'Brahmins' occupied major positions in British rule and could actually recognize the boogie performed by 'Devadasi' as 'Bharatanatyam' and could actually give a social supremacy for this form of dance, thus bringing out devadasis's to main stream of life.

However, the 'Brahminical Hindu Religion' which is known because of its Caste imbalances and discrimination against the lower caste sowed the seeds of the system into economically, politically and socially disadvantaged lower caste Dalit Hindus. This system started spreading its tentacles to other areas of the united states in different varieties and titles such as Bogams in Andhra Pradesh, Jogatis or Basavis in Karnataka, Thevaradiyar in Tamil Nadu, Muralis in Maharashtra, Maharis in Kerala.

Dalits dedicated their girls to the Diety mainly because of two reasons you are because of the superstitious belief that it will bring glory with their family and their village, the other you are the cost-effective reason that it is very difficult for the parents to marry of the daughter as a result of prevalent 'dowry' system and also if they dedicate the girl to the Diety, their family will be taken attention of by the town rich man to whom the lady do the sexual favours in the name of the 'Diety'. Over a period of time, this practice has symbolized a definite violation of Man Privileges with these 'Dalit Devadasis' were dedicated with a hidden object of performing intimate favours to in the beginning higher caste Hindus and then they become a general public property forcing them to enter prostitution. Also, they are prohibited to marry any man of these choice and often fell a victim in to the hands of Brokers representing brothels from Mumbai and the areas.

Several movements

India is a celebration to lots of Human Rights Instruments like that of International Covenant of Civil and Political Privileges 1966, The International Covenant for Economic, Community and Cultural Protection under the law 1966, The International Convention for the Removal of All forms of racial Discrimination 1966 which advocates for amongst others, equal rights for women and prohibits racial discrimination in virtually any count. Put into that provincial says in India has enacted legislation like The Bombay Devadasi Action 1934, The Devadasi(Prevention of Determination) Madras Work 1947; The Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Devotion) Work, 1982 to take on this menace of Devadasi System. Irrespective of this, it is generally reported that this system prevails in some elements of India particularly among the list of Dalit community.

This paper attempts to determine the root factors behind the system and the reason why this system continues to be prevalent in India. Consequently, this newspaper is split into four parts, the ongoing is the first part that introduces this issue, Part II handles the annals and Origin of Devadasi System, Part III handles the Social moves that struggled the Devadasi system, Part IV analyses India's obligation to eradicate the machine in line with the international responsibility which it assumed through various treaties and lastly part IV concludes with suggestions to eliminate the same.


Devadasi's could face discrimination on three counts viz as a woman, as a Dalit and sometimes as a kid. International community has over and over tried to handle the issue through multilateral Conventions/Treaties making member claims to eliminate these kind of discriminations. Accordingly lots of International Instruments are made at the international level to address these menace which include the Common Declaration of Individual Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant for Civil and Political Privileges (ICCPR), the International Covenant for Economic Public and Cultural Protection under the law (ICESCR), the International Convention for Eradication of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the Convention on the Elimination of all types of Discrimintion against Women (CEDAW).

One of the purposes of the US is to accomplish international co-operation "to advertise and encouraging value for human protection under the law and for fundamental freedoms for those without distinction as to race, sex, dialect or religion also to be considered a centre for harmonizing the activities of nations in the attainment of the purpose. Art work 1 of the Universal Declaration of Man Rights areas that " all humans are blessed free and similar in dignity and protection under the law". Art 2 further bestows privileges upon individuals without distinction of any sort, such as competition, colour, sex, terms, religion, political or other view, national or cultural origin, property, labor and birth or other position". Similarly Skill of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Protection under the law 1966, prohibits discrimination of any kind including discrimination based on 'social origins'. Art 2(1) of ICCPR mandates the state celebrations to 'ensure to all or any individuals within its place and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in today's covenant'. Fine art 2(2) requires the state parties 'to take up such legislative or other procedures as may be necessary to give impact to the rights'

As mentioned above, India is a founding member of these Conventions. However India has not till date enacted any allowing legislation to execute the same in the domestic sphere. Lacking any applying legislation Indian courts might not have the ability to enforce the provision of the treaties in the home realms. Needless to say, Treaties are believed to be the main way to obtain international law. With regards to human rights, treaties play an important role. Real human protection under the law treaties have added to the introduction of customary rules and general concepts of international legislations. They create commitments not only among people but also between people and people. More important, these treaties have grown to be a way to obtain inspiration to many judges and legal professionals in their interpretation of domestic legislation. Some international organizations offer their membership and then those areas, which. ratify certain human rights treaties. The ratification of real human rights treaties demonstrates the ratifying state's adherence to civilised requirements. As a result, a state's qualifications in international contemporary society depend in part a1 least on the popularity of and compliance with its responsibilities under human protection under the law treaties. Thus the ratification of Individual Privileges treaties by India may be observed as an work to outshow the globe that it's a civilized region thus staying away from isolation in international Individual Protection under the law diplomacy.

But the non-enactment of any domestic allowing legislation alone can't be considered as failing for the member talk about to fulfill the international responsibility which it assumed by using treaty. A state might not go for the enactment of local legislation if it's satisfied with its existing legislative system that the legislation in place are sufficient enough to deal with the menace. In this regard it is imperative to look and analyse the legislative mechanism in India aimed at the abolition of the machine of 'Devadasi'. Indian Constitutional and Legal Provisions relating to Women's Rights

Indian Constitution is made up of several provisions relating to women and children. However equality and independence has always been neglected in the name. of custom, honour, family welfare and interpersonal prestige. Equality that is guaranteed in the constitution of India is a powerful one. While hoping for the ideal of equality, it generally does not recognise the realities of inequalities. Article 14 of the Constitution recognises equality before laws for all residents without the discrimination. Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of religious beliefs, race, caste, love-making or host to delivery. Article 15 (3) says about defensive discrimination to women and children and Article 21 says about the safeguard of life and liberty to all.

The Constitution also ensures cover against traffic in humans and compelled labour. Skill 42 says about provisions for and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. The security for women in the work place is given in factories Function 1948. It includes several welfare polices and precautionary measures for women and children in working places, section 125 of unlawful procedure code 1973 provides maintenance to women. Indian penal code Parts 509, 294 and 354 handles Eve-teasing and sexual Harassment. The Indecent Representation Of women (security) Function, 1986 for preventing the depiction of a female in a manner which is derogating or denigrating to women, or which is likely to corrupt public morality through ad. Magazines, writings, paintings, results, or in virtually any other manner. Indian Judiciary was also pro-active in guarding women's rights in general. In a few of the key cases such as with Express of u. P. v. Boden Sundara Rao the Apex Court came down heavily on the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for awarding grossly insufficient sentence in the following words:

"Offences against women are c;m the go up. Imposition of grossly limited sentence and particularly from the mandate of the legislature not only is an injustice to. the victim of the offense specifically and the population as a whole in general, but also sometimes encourages a criminal. The courts must not only keep in view the privileges of the unlawful but also the rights of the victim of a bad crime and the culture most importantly while considering need for appropriate punishment".

In Vishaka v. Express of Rajasthan. The Vishaka, an Organization working for the welfare of the women, moved toSC when a social staff member was gangraped in Rajasthan. While deciding the case the Supreme Court helped bring the international conventions in Indian Legislations. How they are trying to incorporate it is very well comprehended from the words. . "Some Provisions in the CEDAW-Arts 11 and 24 as also standard tips of CEDAW in this context-articles 11, 22, 23, 24 as ratified in the present framework are of significant".

According to the Supreme Judge, "Sexual harassment" includes such unwelcome behavior (whether immediately or by implication) as: (i) physical contact or developments: (ii) a demand to obtain intimate favours; (iii) sexllally co loured remarks; (iv) showing pornography; (v) another unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal carry out of sexual behavior.

Though the Indian system is quite effective in safeguarding the Women's protection under the law, it served limited purpose in protecting women who are Devadasi's especially from the Dalit community. Obviously there have been several legislations which prohibited this system and provided treatment for the same.

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