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Joginis seek govt support
The centuries-old evil practice of jogini, founded to assist in temple rituals, prevalent in Telangana is a blot on society. Women who were caught in the system against their will or otherwise the joginis have been demanding the state government’s support to enable them to lead a life free from starvation and begging.
Many of them live in utter poverty; resort to begging
Hyderabad: The centuries-old evil practice of jogini, founded to assist in temple rituals, prevalent in Telangana is a blot on society. Women who were caught in the system against their will or otherwise the joginis have been demanding the state government’s support to enable them to lead a life free from starvation and begging.
Some thought it as a boon to have married God a ritual to convert a woman to that of a jogini. But they did not have inkling that it is not a boon but a bane. It was a punishment of sorts to them. Besides insults heaped on them and their low status in society, the joginis were caught in a piquant situation whereby they will not be able to claim children whom they have given birth to as their own.
The condition of the joginis in Adilabad district is pathetic. The social evil deprived many women of their lives. A woman is converted to a jogini often against her wishes is married to God. Besides serving God and assisting in various rituals, they have to fulfill the desires of the affluent sections of society.
They do not have a place to take shelter or relatives to claim as their own. They live at any place of their choice. They seek alms to support themselves. They are looked down by people. They face discrimination and often subjected to sexual assault. Generally, nobody would ever respond to sexual assaults on them.
There are 646 joginis in the district. They have sacrificed their lives for the sake of traditions and religious practices. They belong to Dalit community and were converted much against their wishes. They have been leading a miserable life ever since the conversion.
One of the joginis Annapurna says that they were victimised for the faults of the elders. Most of them live in Nirmal, Mamada, Dilawarpur, Lokeswaram and Sarangapur mandals of the district. Nearly 80 per cent of them do not have own houses.
Another jogini Bhoomamma lives in a rented house in Budhwarpet of Nirmal town paying a monthly rent of Rs 1500. She ekes out a living by seeking alms to support the family. She was not sanctioned pension under any government scheme. Another jogini Gouramma said that they are shunned by all sections of society.
Amidst tears rolling down her cheeks, yet another jogini Sujata said that she lived with her parents as long as they were alive. After her parents died, she was driven out of home by near and dear. They feel that it is better to die rather than lead the life of a jogini. Another member Rajamani said that they were denied pension payable to the joginis. For want of pension, supporting the family has become burdensome, avers Gouramma.
A student of fifth class Abhilash was worried of facing discrimination from his class mates. Though there was no link whatsoever with him and his family, wards of Joginis are being ill-treated. Since name of the father was not known, in the place of father’s name God’s name is being written in official records. Marriages of girls born to joginis are being cancelled as the identity of their father was elusive.
The joginis want the government to provide residential education to their children, some financial assistance, allotment of three acres of land and a double bed-room house. While speaking to The Hans India, the SC Corporation executive director James Kalwal clarified that there are no special schemes to benefit the joginis.
However, if any of them belong to the SC community, loan is extended to them through the corporation. Nirmal Revenue Divisional Officer Siva Lingayya said that earlier the state government had extended financial support at the rate of Rs 5000 per month for two months. Currently, there is no such system prevalent. If anyone is eligible, three acres of land and a double bed-room house will be allotted to them. So far no jogini has been extended such facilities.