I agree with Ms Reddy that we cannot judge the past from the present. It is equally important not to judge the present from the past. I agree with the role that many devadasis have played over several centuries. But that role has ceased to be meaningful today. They are at present forced into prostitution. While saying that I agree with Ms Reddy that we cannot condemn them because they are forced into it either through blackmail or by poverty. They need rehabilitation. We cannot take a moralistic view of the devadasis. But we need to condemn those who force them into this situation either through physical force or in other ways. They deserve rehabilitation and their present status cannot be justified in the name of what they did in the past.
Dr Walter Fernandes Director, North Eastern Social Research Centre __._,_.___
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