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Jogini tradition should be abolished as it is inhumane
It is good that 'Bonalu' and 'Bathukamma' festivals have been declared as the state festivals of Telangana as they represent the unique culture of Telangana. But there is something important to note that presence of thousands of joginis in the ongoing celebrations of Bonalu festival in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and in parts of Telangana indicates the failure of implementation of laws which were meant to abolish this brutal Jogini system.

In south India, there exists a religious tradition called Jogini system which is also known as Devadasi system. Literally ?devadasi? means ?servant of god?. A girl from untouchable caste is dedicated to worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life. These girls who are dedicated to god, dance during Bonalu and they are like special attraction during temple rituals.

This dedication takes place in a ceremony which is similar in some ways to marriage. Such girls after being made as a jogini, have to clean the temple premises daily but she is not allowed to enter into the sanctum sanctorum of temple. These are also called dancing girls who dance in temples on religious occasions. The brutal thing about this jogini system is that they can be used as a sexual property by the wealthy patrons of the village.

For many centuries this system has been a part of southern Indian life. In the name of religion, still this kind of social practice exist in our country.

But why only untouchable girls are dedicated to god and temple? Usually untouchables are those who are economically and socially backward and for whom life is very hard to live. They are the most vulnerable and weaker sections of caste ridden Indian society.

No stigma was attached to the devadasi or to her children and other members of their caste receive them on terms of equality. The children of devadasis are considered legitimate and devadasis themselves are outwardly indistinguishable from married women of their community. 

She is believed to be free from widowhood and was called ?Akhanda Saubhagyavathi? (women never separated from good fortune). These are the traditional benefits offered to them to enjoy high social status in the society, which entice them to become a jogini and making them the victims of this system.

Poverty stricken people use religion to console themselves after offering their daughters to temples. Religious authorities in the name of god support this devadasi system and this system is still prevalent in some states of India.

In spite of many laws initiated by our government to abolish this kind of social practice which is still present in our society as a part of our tradition is a blot on our society. The reason why it still exists in our society is because there is an acceptance of this system in our society. Even though there are laws meant to abolish this devadasi system our government failed to implement those laws.

For some untouchable communities this has become a way of life granted by our tradition. This kind of practice however believed to be pure and sacred in its nature, it has to be completely abolished as it is leading to dehumanization of many girls and women. They are falling prey to this evil tradition and religious practice. It is our responsibility to raise voice against Jogini tradition and to protect many women from this brutal religious practice.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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