Installation, Print media, Intermedia, Film
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: Dec 24, 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.
Devadasi_NOW II is launching an empowerment project and a global call to action campaign to bring visibility to inequality, discrimination and abuse of young girls and marginalized Dalit (untouchable) women trapped in the illegal practice of Devadasi system in Northern Interior Karnataka.
The excerpt below is taken from the footage of a two-day experimental literacy project. Devadasi Devamma learning to write her name in English
COLLABORATION, ACTIVISM, COMMUNITY
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 official selection of Chicago South Asian Film Festival, Joedance Film Festival, WilmFilm Female Chick Flicks Festival, Female Filmmakers and Move_Me Production Belgium.
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.