Devadasi: in Hindi dasi means a female servant and deva means god, thus devadasi means a female servant of god. In the Hindu culture, devadasi is a girl dedicated to worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life.
However, devadasi girls are physically abused after they are made to reside in temples in the name of religion.
Devdasi practice is thousands of years old that have been changing over the ages. Despite its legal prohibitions in India, there are reports of this kind of incidents in some areas.
Important Information about Devdasi
* It is said that the practice began in the sixth century.
* Some virgins were donated to temples in India under the name of religion.
*Parents gave their daughters in marriage to a deity or dedicated them to the temples.
*Sometimes, the guardians used to vow their daughters to dedicate them for the service of the temple and the visitors after some of their wishes were fulfilled.
* The women who were married to Hindu Gods were called Devadasi.
* They were supposed to live the simple and miserable life and were physically abused.
*Matsya Purana, Vishnu Purana and the commentary of Kautilya mentioned the practice of Devadasi.
* When we celebrate the occasion of Women’s Day we have to make the people aware of such bad practices under the name of religion and faith.
Kalidas and Davadasi
The services of Devadasis included: maintaining the temples, preparations for worship, a dance at the temple, etc. Kalidasa has mentioned in ‘Megdutm’ virgin girls dedicated to the temple, perhaps, he intended the devadasis.
The Hindu Devadasi Practice was abolished by Islam
When Islam entered India through the Muslim traders, travelers and scholars, the culture of India was influenced by the culture of Islam. The philosophies, social and religious practices of the Indian people were reformed. The concepts of Indian people towards women, their purity, and impurity, the status of Hindu widows, the issues of Sati were corrected by the influence of Islamic culture in India. Islamic culture has clear rulings regarding all those issues.
The Influence of Islamic Culture on Indian Culture
Islam permits a widow or divorcee to marry another person again when she wants that, but Hinduism does not permit that, Hinduism permits burning a widow with her deceased husband, but Islam does not permits that. In all these and similar issues, the Islamic culture influenced the Indian culture. Islam has eradicated many of the Hindu traditions and harmful religious practices opening the eyes of the people to wider horizons in many fields. Islam influenced the Hindu belief system, thought, culture, dress, way of eating, drinking rather the whole life system, including the crafts and professions. In addition, Hindu women‘s conditions have improved under the Muslim rule in India.