COVID-19 Safety Information

Speaker to Discuss the Devadasi and Human Rights in India

Speaker to Discuss the Devadasi and Human Rights in India

11/07/2017 

The 2017-18 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series at SUNY Cortland takes on the theme of “The Culture of Human Rights and Realities.”

The talks take place on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125. Before each lecture a reception to welcome the speaker starts at 4 p.m. in the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126.

On Nov. 8, Shalini Aiyappa, who heads the Psychology Department at St. Aloysius College in India, will give a presentation on the Devadasi system, a story of sexually exploited women from the lower rungs of society in rural India.

Her talk, “The Devadasi and Human Rights: Blind Faith, Promised Redemption and Patriarchal Prison,” explores the irony that this culturally oppressive system has a religious connection that legitimizes and sanctions prostitution. The belief is that any calamity, disease or lack of a male child can be rectified by sacrificing a girl child to appease the god.

Recently poverty has driven expansion of the Devadasi system. For example, 50 percent of Mumbai prostitutes are Devadasi. The path from ritual role to commercial prostitution in the name of religion is a human rights issue.

The Indian constitution guarantees equality to all citizens and the government has passed legislation against the Devadasi system. Nonetheless, it is still practiced, relying on loopholes in, and the laxity of, the law enforcement agencies. The inhuman practice of “religious prostitution” continues today. 

The 2017-18 Brooks Lecture Series is sponsored by a grant from Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) and the Cortland College Foundation.

For more information, contact Sharon R. Steadman, a SUNY Cortland professor of sociology/anthropology, lecture series organizer and Brooks Museum director, at  607-753-2308. 


More News

Fall athletics roundup

Fall athletics roundup

Learn about the highlights from the season and Cortland's all-conference honorees.


SUNY Cortland celebrates advice from former non-traditional students

SUNY Cortland celebrates advice from former non-traditional students

Faculty and staff members offered advice from their experience as non-traditional students.


Orchestra plans holiday concert

Orchestra plans holiday concert

The Dec. 7 concert “It’s About Time” explores a musical approach that’s worked through the ages.


International student photo contest winners selected

International student photo contest winners selected

Twenty students submitted photos for the annual contest organized by the university’s International Programs Office.


Campus planning interactive garden

Campus planning interactive garden

On Nov. 19, people discussed the forest ecosystem project to be built by spring.


Ceremony raised awareness about transgender violence

Ceremony raised awareness about transgender violence

The campus community held a Nov. 18 vigil outside Corey Union to mark 45 deaths nationwide.


Wishing the campus community a safe and happy Thanksgiving

Wishing the campus community a safe and happy Thanksgiving

President Bitterbaum offers a message of gratitude before the holiday.


President urges students to consider vaccine boosters

President urges students to consider vaccine boosters

The FDA has approved single booster doses for fully vaccinated individuals age 18 and older.


Non-traditional student overcame life’s obstacles

Non-traditional student overcame life’s obstacles

Mathew Adams survived a house fire and now is focused on earning a bachelor’s degree.  


Mother of three is university senior

Mother of three is university senior

Christina Wells tends three rambunctious boys before driving to campus.