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|Number of Pages||194 Pages|
From Sacred Servant to Profane Prostitute discusses the devadasi reform movement as a window on changing social, religious, and political values in India between 1857 and 1947. The devadasis were women married to Hindu deities for whom they danced and sang. They frequently became the concubines of either wealthy landholders or brahmins at a time when such behaviour was socially acceptable in India.
This study of court cases, executive correspondence, and legislation traces the shift in the official attitude toward the devadasis. Initially, colonial courts recognized the customary law of the devadasis which included female ownership of property, adoption of daughters, and inheritance from mother to daughter.