I am amused at your piece. Firstly, as I have said, I do not want to dispute the history of the Devadaasis given by Ms Reddy because I do not know enough of it. But I know the present and as Ms Reddy has said, abuses have entered the system. That results in the exploitation of the Devadasis. That is crucial today. That fact cannot be hidden by citing the case of the witches in Europe.
Secondly, I do not know where you get your history from. Firstly, you cannot write off all women burnt as herbal healers. Their history shows a variety of reasons. But no reason can justify witch hunting. Secondly I do not know where the pope comes from. Witch burning began in Spain and was quite common there around the 16the century. It was by the general public. At some stage it was taken over by the Spanish inquisition. The inquisition was started by the Spanish king and later approved by the pope. Many women were burnt by the inquisition and their number goes into a few thousands. So I do not know where you get your 13 or 17 lakhs from. Burning of witches in the Spanish society continued independently of the inquisition and their exact numbers are not known. Whatever their number this sytem cannot be justified. Bigger numbers do not enhance the crime and smaller numbers do not diminish it. Witch hunting is bad though it is happening in India too and it was bad in Europe. That cannot be jujstified and cannot be used to hide the fact that the Devadasi system is bad todaz. Both have to be condemned.
Dr Walter Fernandes Director, North Eastern Social Research Centre __._,_.___
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