By Sanjukta Das Bhowmick
It is 2017, we have the internet, we live in a globalised society, but we still clutch on to our horrible traditions- Temple prostitution.
The Devadasi system, a 5000 year old tradition, is followed in many parts of India, despite being prohibited is basically ritualistic prostitution where girls as young as 5 years old are sold off to the village temples, for money.
These girls are then married to a deity and are forbidden from marrying anyone else in their lifetime.
The priest claims that they are now the goddess in the human form. Starting from the priest to the men in the village, everyone take turns to rape them, claiming devotion to the lord.
This tradition started from the myth that Devadasis bring good luck to the villages.
In earlier times, they had a place in the royal harem and had some form of respect. However and unfortunately, in modern times they are treated as untouchables, not even accorded the status of a human being.
It is a heinous and inhuman practice that has resulted in forced slavery and prostitution on many. Escape is impossible and even if they escape, the social stigma is too much to lead a normal life.
Until and unless people themselves realise the horrific nature of the act, things won’t change. A regressive society with age old ideas and fuelled by a patriarchal mind-set will continue to force many more.
NGOs and other organisations have started helping out, but there are still miles to go.