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Fifty women initiated as Devadasis in the midst of protest

DH News Service

In the midst of protests by Dalit Sangarsha Samithi and a few other organisations, fifty young women were 'initiated` as
Devadasis here on Sunday at Tondihaala village of Lingasgur taluk. And just before the initiation, the 50 women were part of a
semi-nude procession - believed to be part of tradition and an integral aspect of initiation into the Devadasi system.

According to reports, the women who were part of the procession were between 16 and 28 years of age.

The women, adorned with neem leaves, proceeded to the temple in groups of three to four along with their family members and
relatives. And just before the procession, an 'abhisheka` with milk and honey was conducted on the women on the banks of
the river Krishna. The rituals which began at 9.30 pm went on till 5 am.

Along with the intiation, 600 sheep were 'sacrificed` in the name of Goddess Huligemma, worshipped by the people of

It is said that the devotees made it clear that they would not want any opposition to their belief and practices concerning
Goddess Huligemma. The police, who were present in large numbers at the procession, could not do much owing to this, it is

The 'Dikshe` or the initiation as Devadasis, was performed at the houses of Devadasis in the village and not at the temple.
Mangalasutras or 'Karimanis` (black beads symbolising marriage) were tied to the women in the name of God. This was
followed by a conscious declaration that the women were now in the service of God. Many parents initiated their children as
Devadasis. Most of them were from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and parts of northern Karnataka, it is said.

ORDER: Deputy Commissioner Ashok Dalwai told Deccan Herald that he had instructed the tahsildar concerned to look into
the issue and submit a report.

DSS PROTEST: The Dalit Sangarsha Samithi has said that the police did not take any action though they were present at the
time the event took place. The district administration has not shown interest in stopping the ''undesirable event``, the DSS has

Members of the DSS, led by District Convenor Pamaiah Murari and Dalit leader Bonevenchara, took out a protest march
against the 'Devadasi tradition`. A few other organisations, including 'Spandana`, also took out a protest march in the village.


Lucknow lady gets engaged to Lord Krishna

Reddiff On The Net   -April 10 1999

It is a classical case of childhood worship turning into love. And love -- selfless, impassioned love -- progressing to engagement.

Now all that remains is the marriage. And, as per her schedule, 40-year-old Dr Snehlata Pandey will tie the knot with Lord Krishna in November.

Yes, Lord Krishna. To whom she got engaged on April 6 in a simple ceremony at her Aishbagh road home in Lucknow.

Dr Pandey, an insurance employee and member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, appeared on her engagement day in a plain maroon silk saree, sleeveless blouse and sandals. Sandalwood paste adorned her forehead. Her fiance was present in the form of a portrait.

As devotional music flowed, the lady performed the tilak ceremony and exchanged rings with Lord Krishna. She touched her ring to the Lord's fingers and slipped it on. The one meant for her fiance, she stuck onto the portrait with dough. Dr Pandey's mother applied tilak to her to-be son-in-law's forehead and presented him with a gold chain, locket and cash.

"There is nothing abnormal about my marriage," Dr Pandey says, "It will fulfill a 15-year-old vow. No other person is more perfect."

A disciple of ISKON's Guru Yogendra Swami, Dr Pandey had taken on the name Shruti Devdasi. She said she consulted her guru about her engagement and had his blessings.

"So many women in Mathura are living happy lives after taking the Lord as their husbands," she says.

Dr Pandey's mother had initially opposed the idea of the holy act, but gave in. As for her brother and elder sister, they see no harm in the marriage "if it made her happy".

Dr Pandey, for her part, is blissfully happy. And is looking forward to living happily ever after with her lord and master.


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Last updated: February 26, 2000.