The draconian system and its origin:
The brave work through fear and tread through difficulties
|A group of Devadasi women at a SHG session|
Picture courtesy: Google Images.
The introduction of the mother’s name in admission forms gave a huge boost in the enrolment of Devadasi children in elementary schools. Sabala encouraged the Devadasis to file their first customer’s name as the father’s name for their children. This awareness made them more potent in facing threats by the local muscle men who till now dictated terms. More children began to get associated with their mothers and talking to them about health and hygiene. They started to implement what was taught to them in their schools and made their often illiterate mothers know about their learning. In a way, for the devadasis their children became their teachers. That was their resurrection.
Self Help Groups (SHGs) and community centres were formed in order for local devadasi women to interact and talk to Sabala on a common platform. This made the village strong men to take notice and object to Mallamma's work. Every year the men in the village bring in a new girl and dedicate her to the system. Savita came to know of it and ventured there alone without informing Mallamma. They both had done ample amount of independent field trips by now. So Savita went there confidently and wanted to do some talking with the village headman who had masterminded the dedication ceremony. But she was in for a shock when she went to the village. The Sarpanch asked his men to take her away and lock her in a house until everything gets done. There were no ubiquitous mobile phones, no means to communicate. She had to stay locked up for 1 whole day. She was released after the innocent girl was taken away as a devadasi. She returned and narrated the entire story to Mallamma. The next thing she knew- Mallamma was in the office of the Superintendent of Police, Bijapur. She gave a complaint and asked for police cover to her employees. That made her popular in the local media. The police promptly did its job and arrested the village Sarpach. This made her and the organisation to be feared by the local goondas and to be respected by the helpless Devadasis.