The Devadasi_NOW Project
Girls deserve a life of freedom -- not a life sentence
While inquiring about women’s right issues in India, I stumbled on the true nature of Devadasi tradition. The facts shattered my romantic notions of devadasis. The deeper I went the uglier became the facts of this illegal practice. After much effort I was able to connect with a few NGOs and go to India in early 2016 to do a survey documentary on the present status of this practice. I was shocked by the facts but at the same time was struck by the courage of these devadasi mothers and daughters to resist this system.
We worked with a shoestring budget under tremendous constraints – but the stories are getting out there. Devadasi_NOW has been selected in WilmFF Chick Flicks Festival, Female Filmmakers and Move_Me Production Belgium and have been viewed by many.
On my second trip, I was able to conduct a short experimental literacy project and a craft project with a small group of devadasis. The results were amazing! They showed how capable they are in learning and mastering skills in a short pace of time. Imagine what they can achieve with given opportunity! We are working toward introducing educational programs to empower these mothers and their daughters.
PARTNER WITH US VOLUNTEER CONTRIBUTE BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT
*The Devadasi_NOW Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, Inc. a non-profit arts service organization.
All contributions for Devadasi_NOW project must be made payable to Fractured Atlas, Inc only. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Producer Director Writer: Indrani Nayar-Gall DOP: Tuhin Saha Editor: Bijoy Ruj
Film Type: Experimental Documentary, Festival format (abridged version) Runtime: 19:15, Full film Runtime: 43:35, Completion Date: December 2016
Country of Origin: United States Country of Filming: India
Film Language: English, Hindi, Kannada Shooting Format: HD Digital Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Film Color: Black & White and Color
Genre: Experimental documentary, Human Rights, Religious servitude Women’s issue, Religious indoctrination, Abuse, Exploitation, Caste-Class
Devadasi_NOW is an experimental documentary on the challenges of eradicating Devadasi tradition, an illegal practice that throws young girls within poverty stricken Dalit (untouchable) communities of northern Karnataka, India, into prostitution in the name of religion.
The connection between religion and the sexual abuse of children is not unheard of, but much remains obscure. Devadasi_NOW is one such well-hidden story of abuse of young girls and women that uses religion, class-caste, and poverty as weapons of discrimination, to throw little girls of poor untouchable communities in remote villages of Karnataka, India, into prostitution. Weapons such as these are not specific to any country, community or religion; they have been used in the past and are still being used unnoticed in many communities.
It is my hope that this project will create opportunity for individuals within USA, India and other countries to learn about this issue and be part of a positive change by assisting these women to empower themselves.
Still frames and photographs from the documentary and
The Devadasi_NOW Project
COLLABORATION, ACTIVISM, COMMUNITY
Project_De-Code is the community component of Devadasi_NOW. The project engages participants to reflect on the validity of old religious codes, tradition and customs that are still steeped in deep patriarchal values. Through hands-on creative activities participants are invited to erase these old-codes that discriminate against and are inhumane to women.
I will be continuing this project in schools, universities and communities.
TAKE ACTION! ORGANIZE SIMILAR ACTIVITIES WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY TO ERASE DISCRIMINATION!
Installation, Print media, Intermedia, Film