A documentary on the plight of Devadasis, or temple dancers, was released in Ujire, Karnataka, India, on Monday. The documentary, titled "Gods’ Wives, Men’s Slaves," was produced by Purvi Productions, a film production company in Uppinangadi, and the Department of Journalism at Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College in Ujire.
The documentary, which is 78 minutes long, was directed by Purnima Ravi, a former student of the college who is now an English professor at the women’s College in Puttur. The documentary tells the stories of Devadasis who have been forced into a life of prostitution and exploitation. The documentary was released at a ceremony at the college’s auditorium. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Varadhesh Hiregange, director of the Gandhian Centre for Philosophical Arts and Sciences at MAHE (Manipal Academy of Higher Education), Dr. H.M. Chandrashekhar Shastri, a retired professor of history at Vijayanagara University in Hospet, and T.V. Renuka, president of the Karnataka State Devadasi Women’s Liberation Association. In his speech, Dr. Hiregange said that research should be beneficial to society as well as to researchers. He congratulated Purnima Ravi for her work on the documentary, which he said was a valuable contribution to the understanding of the Devadasi system.
Dr. Shastri said that the documentary was an important reminder of the continuing problem of Devadasi exploitation. He said that the system is rooted in superstition and discrimination, and that it is a violation of women’s rights. T.V. Renukam said that the documentary was a powerful indictment of the Devadasi system. She said that the government should do more to help Devadasis who have been rescued from the system. Dr. B.A. Kumar Hegde, principal of Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College, presented mementos to those who had assisted in the production of the documentary.The documentary was screened after the ceremony.