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Student Group

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Kai Allen
Kai Allen

Peddapuram Recording Dance Without Dress

During the period of British rule in the Indian subcontinent, kings who were the patrons of temples lost their power, thus the temple artist communities also lost their significance.[3] As a result, Devadasis were left without their traditional means of support and patronage and some became temple prostitutes.[4][5][6] The practice of Devadasi was banned during British rule, starting with the Bombay Devadasi Protection Act in 1934. The colonial view of Devadasi practices remains debated as the British colonial government were unable to distinguish the Devadasis from non-religious street dancers.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

peddapuram recording dance without dress


According to temple worship rules, or Agamas, dance and music are the necessary aspects of daily puja for temple deities. Devadasis were known by various local terms such as Basivi in Karnataka, Matangi in Maharashtra, and Kalavantin in Goa and Damaon.[18] Devadasis were also known as Jogini, Venkatasani, Nailis, Muralis and Theradiyan. Devadasi is sometimes referred to as a caste (varna); however some question the accuracy of this usage. "According to the devadasi themselves there exists a devdasi 'way of life' or 'professional ethic' (vritti, murai) but not a devadasi jāti (sub-caste). Later, the office of devdasi became hereditary but it did not confer the right to work without adequate qualification" (Amrit Srinivasan, 1985). In Europe the term bayadere (from French: bayadère, from Portuguese: balhadeira, literally dancer) was occasionally used.[19][20]

The 1956 Orissa Gazette references Devadasis dances. They had two daily rituals. The Bahara Gaaunis would dance at the Sakaala Dhupa. After breakfast Lord Jagannatha would give Darshana to the bhaktas (the devotees). In the main hall, a Devadasi, accompanied by musicians and the Rajaguru (the court guru), would dance standing near the Garuda stambha (pillar). They would perform only pure dance, and could be watched by the audience. The Bhitara Gaunis would sing at the Badashinghara, the main ceremony for ornamenting and dressing the God. At bedtime, Lord Jagannatha would first be served by male Sebayatas, who would fan him and decorate him with flowers. After they left, a Bhitara Gaauni would then enter the room, stand near the door (Jaya Vijaya), sing Gita Govinda songs, and perhaps perform a ritualistic dance. Later she would come out and announce that the Lord has gone to sleep and the guard would close the main gate.[citation needed]


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