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A 1920s photograph of two devadasis in Tamil Nadu, South India

In India, a devadasi was a female artist[1] who was dedicated to the worship and service of a deity or a temple for the rest of her life. The dedication took place in a ceremony that was somewhat similar to a marriage ceremony. In addition to taking care of the temple and performing rituals, these women also learned and practiced classical Indian artistic traditions such as Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, and Odissi. Their social status was high as dance and music were an essential part of temple worship.

Between the sixth and thirteenth centuries, Devadasis had a high rank and dignity in society and were exceptionally affluent as they were seen as the protectors of the arts. During this period royal patrons provided them with gifts of land, property, and jewellery.[2] After becoming Devadasis, the women would spend their time learning religious rites, rituals, and dances. Devadasis were expected to live a life of celibacy, however, there have been instances of exceptions.[3]

During the period of British rule in the Indian subcontinent, kings who were the patrons of temples lost their power, thus the temple artist communities also lost their significance.[3] As a result, Devadasis were left without their traditional means of support and patronage and were now commonly associated with temple prostitution.[4][5][6] The practice of Devadasi was banned during British rule, starting with the Bombay Devadasi Protection Act in 1934. The colonial view of Devadasi practices remains debated as the British colonial government were unable to distinguish the Devadasis from non-religious street dancers.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

The Devadasi system though is still in existence in rudimentary form but with social activism state governments of different states at different times outlawed this ritual such as Andhra Pradesh Devdasis (Prohibition of dedication) Act, 1988, or the Madras Devdasis Act 1947.[13]


The practice became significant when one of the great queens of the Somavamshi dynasty decided that in order to honour the gods, certain women who were trained in classical dancing, should be married to the deities.[14] The inception of the practice was one that was imbued with great respect as the women who were chosen to become devadasi were subject to two great honors: first, because they were literally married to the deity, they were to be treated as if they were the goddess Lakshmi herself, and second, the women were honored because they were considered to be “those great women who (could) control natural human impulses, their five senses and [could] submit themselves completely to God.”[15] As they were married to an immortal, the women were considered to be auspicious. Their main duties, in addition to committing to a life without marriage (to a mortal, in the common, popular sense), were to take care of a temple and learn classical Indian dances, usually the Bharatnatyam, which they would perform at temple rituals. Patrons were considered to have higher status for their ability to financially sponsor Devadasis.[16][17]

According to temple worship rules, or Agamas, dance and music are the necessary aspects of daily puja for temple deities. Devadasis were known by various local terms such as Basivi in Karnataka, Matangi in Maharashtra, and Kalavantin in Goa and Damaon.[18] Devadasis were also known as Jogini, Venkatasani, Nailis, Muralis and Theradiyan. Devadasi is sometimes referred to as a caste (varna); however some question the accuracy of this usage. "According to the devadasi themselves there exists a devdasi 'way of life' or 'professional ethic' (vritti, murai) but not a devadasi jāti (sub-caste). Later, the office of devdasi became hereditary but it did not confer the right to work without adequate qualification" (Amrit Srinivasan, 1985). In Europe the term bayadere (from French: bayadère, from Portuguese: balhadeira, literally dancer) was occasionally used.[19][20]

Ancient and medieval period[edit]

The definite origin of the Devadasi tradition is murky due to its early inception.[21] The first known mention of a Devadasi is to a girl named Amrapali, who was declared nagarvadhu by the king during the time of the Buddha.[2] Many scholars have noted that the tradition has no basis in scriptures. A.S. Altekar states that, "the custom of association of dancing girls with temples is unknown to Jataka literature. It is not mentioned by Greek writers, and the Arthashastra, which describes in detail the life of Ganik, is silent about it."[2]

The tradition of female artists in temples is said to have developed during the 3rd century CE. A reference to such dancers is found in the Meghadūta of Kālidāsa, a classical poet and Sanskrit writer of the Gupta Empire.[2] The first confirmed reference to a Devadasi was during the Keshari Dynasty in the 6th century CE in South India.[22] Other sources include the works of authors such as Xuanzang, a Chinese traveller, and Kalhana, a Kashmiri historian. An inscription dated to the 11th century suggests that there were 400 Devadasi attached to the Tanjore temple in South India. Similarly, there were 500 Devdasi at the Someshwer shrine of Gujarat.[2] Between the 6th and 13th centuries, Devadasi had a high rank and dignity in society and were exceptionally affluent as they were seen as the protectors of the arts. During this period royal patrons provided them with gifts of land, property, and jewellery.[2]

Devdasis in South India and the Chola Empire[edit]

The Chola empire supported the Devdasi system; in Tamil Devdasis were known as Devar Adigalar, ("Deva" means "Divine" and "Adigalar" "Servants", i.e. "Servants of the Divine"). Both male and female Devadasi were dedicated to the service of a temple and its deity. The Chola empire developed the tradition of music and dance employed during temple festivals.[23]

Inscriptions indicate that 400 dancers, along with their gurus and orchestras, were maintained by the Brihadeesvarar temple, Thanjavur,[24] with munificent grants including the daily disbursement of oil, turmeric, betel leaves, and nuts.[25] Nattuvanars were the male accompanists of the Devadasis during their performances. The Nattuvanars conducted the orchestra while the Devadasi performed her service. Inscriptions indicate that Nattuvanars taught the Chola princess Kuntavai.[25]

As the Chola empire expanded in wealth and size, more temples were built throughout the country. Soon other emperors started imitating the Chola empire and adopted Devadasi systems of their own.[citation needed]


A community of Karnataka living in Andhra Pradesh, the Natavalollu were are also known as Nattuvaru, Bogam, Bhogam, and Kalavanthulu.

It was customary in the Krishna district of Tenali for each family to give one girl to the Devadasi system. These dancers were known as Jakkulas. As part of a social reform, a written agreement was made to formally end the practice.

Ādapāpas were female attendants to the ladies of the families of Zamindars. Ādapāpas led a life of prostitution as they were not allowed to marry. In some places such as the Krishna and Godāvari districts, Ādapāpas were known as Khasa or Khasavandlu.[26]

Natavalollu/Kalawants were a community that was distributed throughout the state of Andhra Pradesh. They were also referred to as Devadasi, Bogamvallu, Ganikulu, and Sani. Kalavantulu means one who is engaged in art.[27] Davesh Soneji writes that, "By the early twenty-first century, large numbers of women in the Kalavanthulu community had converted to Christianity, because this promised them a stable monthly income as members of the new rehabilitation programs of these missions."[28]

Mahari Devadasi of Odisha[edit]

In the eastern state of Odisha Devadasis were known colloquially as Maharis of the Jagannath temple complex. The term Devadasi referred to the women who danced inside the temple. Devadasi, or mahari, means "those great women who can control natural human impulses, their five senses and can submit themselves completely to God (Vachaspati)." Mahari means Mahan Nari that is, the woman belonging to God. Sri Chaitanayadev had defined Devadasis as Sebayatas who served God through dance and music. Pankaj Charan Das, the oldest guru of Odissi classical dance and who comes from a Mahari family, defines Mahari as Maha Ripu-Ari, one who conquers the five main ripus - enemies.[29]

Unlike other parts of India, the Odia Mahari Devadasis were never sexually liberal and were expected to remain celibate upon becoming Devadasis. However, there are records of Odia Mahari Devadasi having relationships and children. It is said that the daughters of the Maharis of the Jagannath temple took to other professions such as nursing in the mid-20th century due to stigma attached to their inherent profession, which may suggest prostitution.

The 1956 Orissa Gazette lists nine Devadasis and eleven temple musicians. By 1980, only four Devadasis were left – Harapriya, Kokilaprabha, Parashmani, and Shashimani. By 1998, only Shashimani and Parashmani were still alive. The daily ritualistic dance had stopped, although Shashimani and Parashmani served in a few of the yearly temple rituals such as Nabakalebara, Nanda Utsava, and Duara Paka during Bahuda Jatra.[29] The last of the Devadasis, Shashimani, died on 19 March 2015, at the age of 92.[30]

Yellamma Cult of Karnataka in South India[edit]

In the southern Indian state of Karnataka the Devadasi system was practiced for over 10 centuries. Chief among them was the Yellamma cult.[31]

There are many stories about the origin of the Yellamma cult. The most popular story indicates that Renuka was the daughter of a Brahmin, married the sage Jamadagni, and was the mother of five sons. She used to bring water from the Malaprabha river for the sage's worship and rituals. One day at the river she saw a group of youths engaged in water sports and forgot to return home in time for her husband's worship and rituals, which made Jamadagni question her chastity. He ordered their sons one by one to punish their mother, but four of them refused on one pretext or the other. The sage cursed them to become eunuchs and had Renuka beheaded by his fifth son, Parashuram. To everybody's astonishment, Renuka's head multiplied by tens and hundreds and moved to different regions. This miracle inspired her four eunuch sons as well as others to become her followers and worship her head.[32]

Colonial Era[edit]

Reformists and abolitionists[edit]

Reformists and abolitionists considered the Devadasi a social evil due to their way of life, which seemed like prostitution according to the Western eye. The first anti-Nautch and anti-dedication movement began in 1882. The portrayal of the Devadasi system as "prostitution" was done to advertise the supposed grotesqueness of Indian culture for political means, even though the British colonial authorities officially maintained most brothels in India.[33]

In later period[when?] the devadasis were equated with prostitutes and their children were again given away to temples. Stigma was attached to a particular caste of devadasis and they were seen as prostitutes. After a certain age they were left to fend for themselves.[34]

As the Devadasi were equated with prostitutes, they also became associated with the spread of the venereal disease syphilis in India. During the British colonial period many British soldiers were exposed to venereal diseases in brothels, and Devadasis were misunderstood to be responsible. In an effort to control the spread of venereal disease the British Government mandated that all prostitutes register themselves. Devadasis were required to register, as they were thought to be prostitutes by the British Government.[35]

In addition to obligatory registration, the British Government also established institutions known as Lock Hospitals where women were brought in order to be treated for venereal diseases. However, many of the women admitted to these hospitals, including many Devadasi, were identified through the registry and then forcibly brought to the hospitals. A number of these women were confined in the hospitals permanently.[35]

Today, Sitavva Joddati of Karnataka helps former Devadasi find a foothold in mainstream society. In 1982 she was made a Devadasi at age seven. In 1997 she began the non-governmental organisation MASS (Mahila Abhivrudhi-Samrakshana Sansthe) in the Belagavi district of Ghataprabha to help women like her escape the Devadasi system and live a life of dignity. Between 1997 and 2017 MASS helped over 4,800 Devadasis reintegrate into mainstream society. In 2018 she received the Padmashri award at age 43.[36][37][38]

Evolution of Bharathanatyam[edit]

Rukmini Devi Arundale, a theosophist trained in ballet, sought to re-appropriate the Devadasi dance traditions in a context perceived respectably by Indian society which had by then adopted the western morales. She altered the dance repertoire to exclude pieces perceived as erotic in their description of a deity. She also systematized the dance in a way that incorporated the extension and use of space associated with dance traditions such as ballet. The product of this transformation was a new version of Bharatnatyam, which she taught professionally at the Kalakshetra school she established in Madras. Bharatnatyam is commonly seen as a very ancient dance tradition associated with the Natyasastra. However, Bharatnatyam as it is performed and known today is actually a product of Arundale's recent endeavour to remove the Devadasi dance tradition from the perceived immoral context associated with the Devadasi community and bring it into the upper caste performance milieu.[39] She also adopted a lot of technical elements of Ballet into the modified form of Bharathanatyam. To give the dance form a measure of respect E Krishna Iyer and Rukmini Devi Arundale proposed a resolution at a 1932 meeting of the Madras Music Academy to rename Sadiraattam as "Bharatanatyam" or Indian dance.[40]

Legislative Initiatives[edit]

The first legal initiative to outlaw the Devadasi system dates back to the 1934 Bombay Devadasi Protection Act. This act pertained to the Bombay province as it existed in the British Raj. The Bombay Devadasi Protection Act made dedication of women illegal, whether consensual or not. In 1947, the year of Indian independence, the Madras Devadasi (Prevention of Dedication) Act outlawed dedication in the southern Madras Presidency. The Devadasi system was formally outlawed in all of India in 1988, although some Devadasis still practice the system illegally.[41]

Devadasi practices[edit]

From the late medieval period until 1910, the Pottukattu or tali-tying dedication ceremony, was a widely advertised community event requiring the full cooperation of the local religious authorities. It initiated a young girl into the Devadasi profession and was performed in the temple by a priest. In the Hindu tradition,[citation needed] marriage is viewed as the only religious initiation (diksha) permissible to women. Thus, the dedication was a symbolic "marriage" of the pubescent girl to the temple's deity.

In the sadanku or puberty ceremonies, the Devadasi initiate began her marriage with an emblem of the god borrowed from the temple as a stand-in bridegroom. From then onward, the Devadasi was considered a nitya sumangali, a woman eternally free from the adversity of widowhood. She would then perform her ritual and artistic duties in the temple. The puberty ceremonies were not only a religious occasion, but also a community feast and celebration in which the local elites also participated.


The 1956 Orissa Gazette references Devadasis dances. They had two daily rituals. The Bahara Gaaunis would dance at the Sakaala Dhupa. After breakfast Lord Jagannatha would give Darshana to the bhaktas (the devotees). In the main hall, a Devadasi, accompanied by musicians and the Rajaguru (the court guru), would dance standing near the Garuda stambha (pillar). They would perform only pure dance, and could be watched by the audience. The Bhitara Gaunis would sing at the Badashinghara, the main ceremony for ornamenting and dressing the God. At bedtime, Lord Jagannatha would first be served by male Sebayatas, who would fan him and decorate him with flowers. After they left, a Bhitara Gaauni would then enter the room, stand near the door (Jaya Vijaya), sing Gita Govinda songs, and perhaps perform a ritualistic dance. Later she would come out and announce that the Lord has gone to sleep and the guard would close the main gate.[citation needed]

Social status[edit]

A Devadasi was believed to be immune from widowhood and was called akhanda saubhagyavati ("woman never separated from good fortune"). Since she was wedded to a divine deity, she was supposed to be one of the especially welcome guests at weddings and was regarded as a bearer of good fortune. At weddings, people would receive a string of the tali (wedding lock) prepared by her, threaded with a few beads from her own necklace. The presence of a Devadasi on any religious occasion in the house of a dvija member was regarded as sacred and she was treated with due respect, and was presented with gifts.[citation needed]

Contemporary statistical data[edit]

Indian National Commission for Women, which is mandated to protect and promote the welfare of women, collected information on the prevalence of Devadasi culture in various states. The government of Odisha stated that the Devadasi system is not prevalent in the state. There is only one Devadasi in Odisha, in a Puri temple. In March 2015, a newspaper report said that the last devadasi, Sashimoni, attached to Jagannath temple had died, bringing the curtain down on the institution.[42]

Similarly, the government of Tamil Nadu wrote that this system has been eradicated and there are now no Devadasis in the state. Andhra Pradesh has identified 16,624 Devadasis within its state. The Karnataka State Women's University found more than 80,000 Devadasi Karnataka in 2018; while a government study found 40,600 in 2008.[43] The government of Maharashtra did not provide the information as sought by the commission. However, the state government provided statistical data regarding the survey conducted by them to sanction a "Devadasi Maintenance Allowance". A total of 8,793 applications were received and after conducting a survey 6,314 were rejected and 2,479 Devadasis were declared eligible for the allowance. At the time of sending the information, 1,432 Devadasis were receiving this allowance.

According to a study by the Joint Women's Programme of Bangalore for National Commission for Women, girls who have to accept becoming a Devadasi, few reasons were provided, which included dumbness, deafness, poverty, and others.[44] The life expectancy of Devadasi girls is low compared to the average of the country, it is rare to find Devadasis older than fifty.[44]

In popular culture[edit]

Year Title Medium Comment Source
1810 Les bayadères French opera in three acts. Music by Charles-Simon Catel, libretto by Victor-Joseph Étienne de Jouy, from Voltaire's L'education d'un prince.
1976 Bala Dance performance of Balasaraswati in the documentary, directed by Satyajit Ray. Joint production of the Government of Tamil Nadu and the National Centre for the Performing Arts. [45]
1984 Giddh Hindi film starring Om Puri and Smita Patil. Portraying the theme of exploitation of young girls in the name of Devadasi tradition. Set in villages of Maharashtra and Karnataka. [46]
1987 Mahananda Hindi film on the life of Devadasi in Maharashtra. Produced and directed by Mohan Kavia. [47]
2000-2001 Krishnadasi A tele-serial on SunTV. Based on Tamil novel Krishnadasi by Indra Soundar Rajan
2002-2006 Rudra Veenai A tele-serial on SunTV. A Devadasi lineage with a critical role in the story that revolves around a mysterious musical instrument.
2009 Jogwa A national award-winning Marathi feature film. A love story revolving around Dev Dasi.
2011 Sex, Death, and the Gods BBC Storyville series Documentary directed by Beeban Kidron [48]
2011 Balasaraswati: Her Art & Life Book on Bharatnatyam dancer, Balasaraswati. [49][50]
2012 Prostitutes of God A documentary by VICE Guide to Travel Controversial documentary on the lives of Devadasi sex workers. [51]
2016 Krishnadasi A tele-serial on Colors TV. Depicted the lives of Devadasis married to Lord Krishna
2016 Agnijal A tele-serial on Star Jalsha Bengali romantic drama between a King and a Devadasi
2021 Shyam Singha Roy Telugu film starring Nani and Sai Pallavi. A supernatural drama-thriller that includes the sexual exploitation of girls in the form of Devadasis in the late 1960s in West Bengal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Devadasi: The Eternal Dancer | Unframed
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ruspini, Elisabetta; Bonifacio, Glenda Tibe; Corradi, Consuelo, eds. (2018). "Divine shadows". Women and religion: Contemporary and future challenges in the Global Era (1 ed.). Bristol University Press. pp. 79–92. doi:10.2307/j.ctv301d7f.9. ISBN 9781447336365. JSTOR j.ctv301d7f.
  3. ^ a b Ruspini, Elisabetta, Bonifacio, Glenda Tibe (11 July 2018). Women and Religion: Contemporary and Future Challenges in the Global Era. Policy Press. p. 108. ISBN 9781447336372.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "India's 'prostitutes of God'". Archived from the original on 11 January 2022.
  5. ^ "BBC Four - Storyville, Sex, Death and the Gods".
  6. ^ "'Devadasis are a cursed community'". 21 January 2011.
  7. ^ Hyaeweol Choi, Margaret Jolly (2014). Divine Domesticities: Christian Paradoxes in Asia and the Pacific. ANU Press. p. 15. ISBN 9781925021950.
  8. ^ "Devadasi controversy: Celebrated to condemned: Tracing the devadasi story | Chennai News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  9. ^ Crooke, W., Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. X, Eds., James Hastings and Clark Edinburg, Second Impression, 1930.
  10. ^ Iyer, L.A.K, Devadasis in South India: Their Traditional Origin And Development, Man in India, Vol.7, No. 47, 1927.
  11. ^ V. Jayaram. "Hinduism and prostitution". Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Donors, Devotees, and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamilnadu - Reviews in History". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  13. ^ Devdasi (2007). Retrieved 4 July 2007, Encyclopædia Britannica
  14. ^ See Sahoo, supra note 14
  15. ^ See Sahoo, supra note 14 (internal quotations omitted).
  16. ^ See Lee, supra note 11.
  17. ^ Shingal, Ankur (2015). "THE DEVADASI SYSTEM: Temple Prostitution in India". UCLA Women's Law Journal. 22. doi:10.5070/L3221026367.
  18. ^ De Souza, Teotonio R. (1994). Goa to Me. Concept Publishing Company. p. 68. ISBN 978-8170225041.
  19. ^ Bayadère. Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 1 February 2008 from Oxford English Dictionary.
  20. ^ "Dictionnaire de français > bayadère". Larousse. Paris: Larousse. Retrieved 9 February 2019. portugais bailhadeira, de balhar, forme dialectale de bailar, danser
  21. ^ Nat’l Human Rights Comm’n of India and United Nations Dev. Fund For Women,A Report on Trafficking in Women and Children in India 2002-20037 (2004), ReportonTrafficking.pdf. “There is no substantial evidence of the origin of culturally sanctioned practices in India, though it has been suggested by historians that the devadasi system was known in prehistoric cities in India. . . .” Id. at 195 (emphasis added)
  22. ^ Aparimita Pramanik Sahoo, A Brief History of Devadasi System, Orissa-Diary (July 18, 2006), At the same time, other experts argue that the institution is “far older, and claim that what is arguably one of the most ancient extant pieces of Indian art, a small bronze of a naked dancing girl from Mohenjo-daro, dating to around 2500 B.C., could depict a devadasi.”
  23. ^ "Temple Run: The Sacred Structures of the Chola Dynasty in Tamil Nadu". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Thanjavur through the ages". The Hindu. 15 March 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  26. ^ Thurston, Edgar (1909). Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume I of VII. Library of Alexandria. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-4655-8236-2.
  27. ^ Singh, K.S.; Anthropological Survey of India (1998). India's Communities. Vol. 5. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195633542. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  28. ^ Soneji, Davesh (2012). Unfinished Gestures: Devadasis, Memory, and Modernity in South India. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-76809-0.
  29. ^ a b "The Sacred & the Profane -The Conference | Mahari of Odisha". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  30. ^ Barry, Ellen (23 March 2015). "Sashimani Devi, Last of India's Jagannath Temple Dancers, Dies at 92". The New York Times.
  31. ^ "The Yellamma Cult of India". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  32. ^ Yellamma Slaves Archived 28 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "Horrors of India's brothels documented". 23 November 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  34. ^[bare URL PDF]
  35. ^ a b Soneji, Davesh (2012). Unfinished Gestures: Devadasis, Memory and Modernity in South India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 112. ISBN 978-0-226-76809-0.
  36. ^ "Urban Legend: Conquering a cult – Seetavva shows it can be done". 27 January 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  37. ^ "ZP honours Padma Shri Jodatti". The Hindu. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Padma awardee Sitavva, Mysuru resident find mention in PM Modi's Mann ki Baat". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  39. ^ Soneji, Davesh (2010). Bharatnatyam: A reader. India: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-808377-1.
  40. ^ Weidman, Pg 120
  41. ^ "devadasi, at The Skeptic's Dictionary". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  42. ^ "The last devadasi". 18 February 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Over 80K Devadasis in Karnataka, say NGOs". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  44. ^ a b Anil Chawla. "DEVADASIS – SINNERS OR SINNED AGAINST: An attempt to look at the myth and reality of history and present status of Devadasis" (PDF). Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  45. ^ Satyajit Ray (20 November 1976). "Bala ( 1976) Satyajit Ray Documentary On T. Balasaraswati". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  46. ^ "Giddh – The Vultures". Alternate Movies. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  47. ^ "Mahananda". January 1987. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  48. ^ "BBC Four - Storyville, Sex, Death and the Gods". BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  49. ^ "Beatification of the Erotic". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  50. ^ "The Last Great Devadasi". Open Magazine. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  51. ^ Cornwall, Andrea (2016) Save us from Saviours: Disrupting Development Narratives of the Rescue and Uplift of the 'Third World Woman' in Hemer, Oscar and Thomas Tufte (Eds.) (2016) Voice and Matter: Communication, Development and the Cultural Return. Gothenburg: Nordicom.

Further reading[edit]

  • Altekar, A.S., The Position of Women in Hindu Civilization, Benaras: Motilal Banarasi Das, 1956.
  • Amrit Srinivasan, "Reform and Revival: The Devadasi and Her Dance", Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XX, No. 44, 2 November 1985, pp. 1869–1876.
  • Artal R.O., "Basavis in Peninsular India", Journal of Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. IX, No. 2, 1910.
  • Asha Ramesh, Impact of Legislative Prohibition of the Devadasi Practice in Karnataka: A Study, (Carried out under financial assistance from NORAD), May 1993.
  • Banerjee, G.R., Sex Delinquent Women and Their Rehabilitation, Bombay: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 1953.
  • Basham, A.L., The Wonder That Was India, New York: Grove Press, 1954.
  • Chakrabothy, K. (2000). Women as Devadasis: Origin and Growth of the Devadasi Profession. Delhi, Deep & Deep Publications.
  • Chakrapani, C, "Jogin System: A Study in Religion and Society", Man in Asia, Vol. IV, No. II, 1991.
  • Cornwall, Andrea (2016) Save us from Saviours: Disrupting Development Narratives of the Rescue and Uplift of the 'Third World Woman' in Hemer, Oscar and Thomas Tufte (Eds.) (2016) Voice and Matter: Communication, Development and the Cultural Return. Gothenburg: Nordicom.
  • Crooke Williams, The Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India, (Third Reprint), Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1968.
  • Crooke, W., "Prostitution", Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. X, Eds., James Hastings and Clark Edinburg, Second Impression, 1930.
  • Desai Neera, Women in India, Bombay: Vora Publishers, 1957.
  • Dubois Abbe J.A and Beachampes H.K., Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928
  • Dumont Louis, Religion, Politics and History in India, The Hague, Mouton and Co., 1970
  • Dumont Louis, Homo Hierarchius: The Caste System and Its Implications, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1972.
  • Durrani, K.S., Religion and Society, New Delhi: Uppal, 1983.
  • Fuller Marcus B., The Wrongs of Indian Womanhood, Edinburgh: Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, 1900.
  • Goswami, Kali Prasad., Devadāsī: dancing damsel, APH Publishing, 2000.
  • Gough Kathleen, "Female Initiation Rites on the Malabar Coast", Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, No. 85, 1952.
  • Gupta Giri Raj, Religion in Modern India, New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1983.
  • Heggade Odeyar D., "A Socio-economic strategy for Rehabilitating Devadasis", Social Welfare, Feb–Mar 1983.
  • Iyer, L.A.K, "Devadasis in South India: Their Traditional Origin And Development", Man in India, Vol.7, No. 47, 1927.
  • Jain Devki, Women’s Quest for Power, New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1980.
  • Jogan Shankar, Devadasi Cult – A Sociological Analysis (Second Revised Edition), New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, 1994.
  • JOINT WOMEN’S PROGRAMME, Regional Centre, Bangalore, An Exploratory Study on Devadasi Rehabilitation Programme Initiated by Karnataka State Women's Development Corporation and SC/ST Corporation, Government of Karnataka in Northern Districts of Karnataka, Report Submitted to National Commission for Women, New Delhi, 2001–02 (year not mentioned in the report).
  • JONAKI (The Glow Worm), Devadasi System: Prostitution with Religious Sanction, Indrani Sinha (Chief Editor), Calcutta, Vol.2 No.1 1998.
  • Jordens, J.T.F., "Hindu Religions and Social Reform in British India", A Cultural History of India, Ed. A.L. Basham, Clarendon Press,
  • Jordan, K. (2003). From Sacred Servant to Profane Prostitute; A history of the changing legal status of the Devadasis in India 1857–1947. Delhi, Manohar. Oxford, 1975.
  • Kadetotad, N.K., Religion and Society among the Harijans of Yellammana Jogatiyaru Hagu Devadasi Paddati (Jogati of Yellamma and Devadasi Custom), Dharwad, Karnatak University Press (Kannada), 1983.
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