Brief Introduction to the Jogini System

Original Text: Brief Introduction to the Jogini System


The practice of dedicating young girls to Goddesses is fairly ancient going back to several centuries, deeply entrenched in history, mythology, religion and ritual. In Jogini system girls in the age group of 5- 13 year are married to the village goddess ‘Yellamma’. The practice of dedication of a young girl to the Goddess is seen as a way of pleasing the Goddess in order to ward off evil spirits, bad omen, evil effects, epidemics like plague, cholera or small pox and even infant morality. The priest of the village temple, who goes into a trance on an auspicious day, chooses the girl to be dedicated. After the girl attains puberty her dedication to the deity takes the physical dimension and then she becomes the concubine of the village elder or the landlord till he deserts her. Later the girl free to finds her partner or customer but the choice is not left to her for various reasons. She becomes the property of the villagers for gratification of their sexual needs.

In practical terms such a dedication implies that these girls cannot lead normal married lives or establish permanent relationship – but may be sexually exploited by all men who can pay for it. The causes of dedication are identified as the dominant caste or Brahminical approach to exploit Scheduled Caste girls or women in the name of religious sanction, social sanction and customary obligation. Superstitions, traditions, and customs are not challenged but are made use by the manipulators and exploiters.

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Revised Text:

The practice of dedicating young girls to Goddesses is fairly ancient, going back several centuries, and is deeply entrenched in history, mythology, religion and ritual. In the Jogini system, girls in the age group of 5 to 13 years are married to the village goddess ‘Yellamma’.

The practice of dedication of a young girl to the Goddess is seen as a way of pleasing the Goddess in order to ward off evil spirits, bad omens, evil effects, epidemics like plague, cholera or small pox, and even infant morality. The priest of the village temple, who goes into a trance on an auspicious day, chooses the girl to be dedicated.

After the girl attains puberty, her dedication to the deity takes a physical dimension and she becomes the concubine of the village elder or the landlord until he deserts her. Later, the girl is free to find a partner or customers, but the choice is not left to her for various reasons. She becomes the property of the villagers for gratification of their sexual needs. In practical terms, such a dedication implies that these girls cannot lead normal married lives or establish permanent relationships – but may be sexually exploited by all men who can pay for it.

The causes of dedication are identified as the dominant caste's (or Brahminical) approach to exploiting Scheduled Caste girls or women in the name of religious or social sanctions and customary obligations. Superstitions, traditions, and customs are not challenged, but are made use of by the manipulators and exploiters.

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