India's Devadasi System

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Radhabai Madar Mudalagi (right) looks at her father who made the decision to dedicated her as a Devadasi at a very young age.  When asked how she feels about her parents' decision, she says "they were poor and uneducated.  They didn't understand what they were doing".  Now in her early forties, she lives in the small village of Yellamanawadi and uses the Devadasi musical tradition called "Chowdike Pada" to educate her audiences about social issues, particularly, the Devadasi system. Accompanied by her husband, Mrutunjaya Mudalagi who plays an instrument called the shruti that resembles a guitar, Radhabai was even recorded for a television program which was broadcasted to small villages all over Karnataka and other states as part of a social education program.  Because of her activism coupled with the fact that she defied the Devadasi system and married a man, she has been rejected by her community..