Impact of Social Exclusion on Educational aspirations of the Devadasi  women

 

 

Introduction:

The Devadasi
system is not a cultural practice by any stretch of imagination, but a system
of child rape, sexual slavery, caste discrimination and gender-based violence.
The importance of focused child protection laws to stop this practice cannot be
stressed enough. Despite the practice having been banned in India almost 30
years ago, a retired judge has estimated that there are still about 450,000 Devadasis in the country. The government
has not taken any notice of his report, leaving the oppression of young girls
to continue – even become normalized – without any legal or punitive
consequences (Preamchandar, 2017)

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The children of Devadasi
were need special care than the normal children. Because this practice children
are the most vulnerable and oppressed. This children were socially excluded  “Social exclusion is a complex and
multi-dimensional process. It involves the lack or denial of resources, rights,
goods and services, and the inability to participate in the normal
relationships and activities, available to the majority of people in a society,
whether in economic, social, cultural or political arenas. It affects both the
quality of life of individuals and the equity and cohesion of society as a
whole.

A report released by UNICEF and UNESCO on out of
school children in India has highlighted that Dalit girls have the highest primary school exclusion rate in
India. The report also finds that half of the pre-school age Dalit children are not attending school.
The report cites compounding factors such as ingrained social inequalities and
poverty among Dalits, to be
contributing to higher rates of exclusion. It states, “Humiliation, harassment
and abuse by upper caste teachers towards children from Scheduled Castes have
been shown to undermine their motivation to stay in school.” (Counterview.org, 2015)

Social
exclusion

Titled “Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children
– South Asia Regional Study”, and covering India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and
Bangladesh, relevant excerpts from the report that specifically talk of caste
discrimination in the region. Girls in rural areas, particularly those from
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in India also have higher rates of
exclusion. Social groups in India, school exclusion is considerably more
prevalent among Muslim children, and among older children from socially
disadvantaged groups. The average rate of exclusion for primary school-age
children from Scheduled Castes is 5.6 per cent and Scheduled Tribes 5.3 per
cent compared to the national average of 3.6 per cent. Girls from Scheduled
Castes have the highest rates of exclusion at 6.1 per cent  (Counterview.org, 2015)

Legislation
to combat Devadasi system

There are few acts which are implemented to prevent
the Devadasi system such as Bombay Devadasi Protection Act (“Bombay Act”),
which was passed in 1934, Madras Devadasi
(Prevention of Dedication) Act of 1947, the Karnataka Devadasis (Prohibition of Dedication) Act of 1982, the Andra
Pradesh Devadasi (Prohibition of
Dedication) Act of 1988, and, most recently, the Maharashtra Devadasi (Abolition of Dedication) Bill
of 2005. Based on these Acts, the Devadasi
practice is effectively outlawed throughout the entire country, with laws
specifically targeted at parts of the country where the Devadasi practice continues to thrive.

Educational
Aspirations among Dalits

Kamen & Ellen (2004),
study on “The Status, Survival and Current Dilemma of a Female Cobbler in
India”. Dalit women are being
oppressed by structure of the Indian society. Women from the lower strata have
traditionally borne the ascribed oppression generated by the Indian social
structure. In this study he highlight that, only one women was found as studied
in cobbler community (Dalit). Women
in Dalit community always need to
explore the ability to negotiate and fight against multiple levels of
oppression and succeed in sustaining herself, her family, and her community. In
spite of constitutional protection and assurances, till now the status is found
to be lower than not only that of women in the general population and the
Scheduled Caste women but is also lower than the status of tribal men

Chandrashekar and
Akash (2011) in their paper “Educational
and Occupational Aspirations of Scheduled Caste College Students: An Empirical
Study” published in ‘Southern
Economist’, highlighted that the education plays predominant role
in changing socio-economic status of the people of society. Every people
of society aspire to obtain good position and status with the help of
education. This may not be possible for all people, as they live in
backward socio-economic conditions. It means the socio-economic condition
of people of society influences in developing overall personality of individual
through obtaining sound education. The authors used questionnaire to study the
scheduled caste students studying in Degree College students studying in
different colleges of Raichur district. For the purpose of the study, 225
students belonged to the scheduled caste were chosen on sampling. The study
revealed that the career aspirations of most of the scheduled caste students
are they want to become teachers and lecturers rather than KAS or IAS officers.
This may be due to their backward economic conditions. However,
scheduled caste students have much talent they should aspire at high level and
work hard. It may help to improve their socio-economic status and also to lead
the better life

 

Objectives
of the study:

1.      To
know the socio-economic condition of the Devadasi
women

2.     
To know the impact of social exclusion
on the  educational  aspirations of the Devadasi children

Methods
and material used

The current study was carried out in mariyammahalli
Bellary district. Because, In Karnataka, Devadasi
practice is more prevalent in northern Karnataka particularly in the districts
of Dharwad, Belagavi Bagalkot, Bijapur 
Bellary, Bidar, Gulabarga. (Bharathi
& Madava, 2016) Here the researcher has taken Bellary
district, Mariyamanahalli  is one among
the highest Devadasi population
place. Case study method was adopted to analyze the individual assessment.  Case study means it is a process of record of
research into the development of a particular person, group, or situation over
a period of time. These case studies were taken during through series of visits
to their village. Two case studies were discussed in this paper. Both cases
were affected by the Devadasi system.
To assess the socioeconomic condition of the case, researcher has used SES
scale developed by Gaur. To accomplish the second objective researcher used
interview and observation techniques to know the aspiration of higher education
among them. Primary and secondary method of data collection was used in the
study.

Case
studies

Case.1

Name Bhagya 18 years old,  her mother is a Devadasi, being an elder daughter of the family she has to shoulder
family responsibility and look after to take care of two younger brothers. Her
mother is aged 42 years works as cooli, only 140 rupees they will get as wage. According
to socio-economic status (Gaurs) scale the family score for socio-economic
condition is lower class( score between 10 to 19).  Even they also wish to have higher education.
Uncertain unemployment opportunities are not letting her to go ahead to reach
her dream. Its not enough to Complete their graduation and aspirant to pursue
higher education. Two young brother who are perusing schooling education, to
supplement the income to the family two younger brother were also going for
mining work weekly twice.

They also excluded from the social ceremonies, less
interaction with other communities. They were humiliated by asking their
fathers name during school, it made them to leave the school. Now she is ready
to reveal that they are son and daughter of Devadasi.
But demands for governmental facilities. The intervention of few NGO in the
area, gradual transformation has been happening among the younger generation.
As a result of  it educational aspiration
has been evolving among them. Bhagyamma wanted to become a lecturer, due to
lack of support from the family members, financial aid and stigmatized life its
self curbed their education aspiration. Later the intervention of  Dalit
foundation  and serious workshop and
training, opportunities  given by this
organization made her getting her own identity. At presently she is working as
a capacity building trainer and receiving rupees five thousand as a fellowship.

Case
2.

Name Sudha 19
years old, completed her matriculation and a daughter of Devadasi. Having three siblings who are school going girls. They were
living in a slum area where they don’t have proper sanitation and house. Lack
of proper income of the family and less interaction with other communities made
to feel isolated.  They were not allowed
to participate in any ceremonies celebrated in other than their community. She
was always embarrassed by the people surrounded by them. Not had the chance to
grow confidently. In each stage of her education life she was been humiliated.
She is the first generation girl in their family, who is stepped for education.
Therefore she wanted to create her own identity by becoming teacher in society.
Her dream was to study Bachelor of Education course and wanted to become a
teacher. She says, series of humiliating words from teachers, suspicious look
of the peer group, poverty , deprived of social status were vanished her dream.
It made her to leave the college at first pre university college level. While
sharing she also disclosed that, getting bride groom to marry was difficult for
them because she is daughter of Devadasi.
According to socio-economic status (Gaurs) scale the family score for
socio-economic condition is lower class (score between 10 to 19). With the
intervention of Sakhi NGO, she is able enhance her capacity now she working as
a field officer in a NGO.

Conclusion

The system of education, which is an imperative way
for bringing about equality, is in fact replicating social hierarchies.
Multiple dimensional oppressions and social exclusion on all the sphere of  their life has 
made them  vulnerable. Majority of
Dalit girls drop out of school due to
harassment and economic pressures, the major cause for economic pressure is the
social exclusion which has made them marginal. Therefore they are unemployed,
as the limited jobs avail to them. Now they are ready to reveal that they are
daughter of Devadasi and demands to
get entitlement  of their rights and
government provisions. The study found Devadasi
practice and born in Dalit community
are the major cause for their social exclusion. Specific intervention programs
should be made to empower them.

Reference
Bharathi, & Madava, P. (2016). Exploitation of
Women as Devadasis and its Associated Evils. New Delhi: National
Commission for Women.
Counterview.org. (2015, March 23). South Asia regional study:
Dalit girls most excluded from primary education in India. Retrieved
January 10, 2017, from
https://counterview.org/2015/05/23/south-asia-regional-study-dalit-girls-most-excluded-from-primary-education-in-india/:
South Asia regional study: Dalit girls most excluded from primary education in India
Kamen, & Ellen, G. (2004). The Status, Survival and
Current Dilemma of a Female Cobbler in India. Virginia: Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Levitas, R., Pantazia, C., Fahmy, E., Gordan, D., &
Lloyd, E. (2007). The Multi-Dimensional Analysis of Social Exclusion.
Bristol: Department of Sociology and School for Social Policy, Townsend Centre
for the Interantional Study of Poverty and Bristol Institute for Public
Affairs University of Bristol.
Preamchandar, S. (2017, April 6). www.newsdeeply.com.
Retrieved November 22, 2017, from newsdeeply:
https://www.newsdeeply.com/womenandgirls/community/2017/04/06/end-sexual-slavery-indias-devadasi-economic-empowerment-key
Rajyalakshmi, A. K. (1993). Status of Tribal Women in India.
Social Change , 23 (4), 3-18.
 

 

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