Advertisement
Sunday, Dec 05, 2021
Outlook.com
andhra pradesh: women priests

The Oracles Of Devi

Female and backward caste. Andhra's women purohits breach the twin barriers with each puja.

The Oracles Of Devi
Ravi Press
The Oracles Of Devi
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

But those stereotypes are now crumbling in Andhra Pradesh. A group of women has not only stormed this traditional male bastion by turning professional purohits but have managed to prise open the once impenetrable caste barrier as well. Today, there are 20 practising women purohits in the state, most of them based in Hyderabad. Astound-ingly, about 90 per cent of them are OBCs. Most of these women have studied the Vedas, know Sanskrit and are degree holders from colleges certified by the Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak.

Vasudha Shastri, who performed the marriage of Telugu film actress Aarti Agarwal recently, exudes confidence at her job. "People used to the traditional purohits do look shocked when they see me conducting a marriage or a naming ceremony, but once they witness the actual rituals, they leave impressed," she says. A resident of the Aliabad area in Hyderabad's old city, Vasudha has performed over 1,000 marriages. She studied Sanskrit, the Vedas and the Upanishads in Varanasi, and when not conducting ceremonies and yagnas, teaches Sanskrit at the Nava Jeevan Mahila College. "When I conduct a shanti yagna, a marriage or a griha pravesh (house-warming), I make sure everyone understands the meaning of the Vedic mantras. The Vedas are meant for all; that should not be forgotten," she says.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Why I Rap: A Hip-Hop Artiste’s Journey From Bihar To Stardom

Why I Rap: A Hip-Hop Artiste’s Journey From Bihar To Stardom

Aamir Shaikh aka Shaikhspeare traces talks about the genre that uses music as a means to dissent.

Hyderpora Encounter: Arrest Of Khurram Parvez Brings Focus Back On Human Rights In Kashmir

Hyderpora Encounter: Arrest Of Khurram Parvez Brings Focus Back On Human Rights In Kashmir

Alleging abuse of anti-terror laws, the United Nations and international human rights bodies seek release of rights activist Khurram Parvez and inquiry into the Hyderpora encounter.

'I Remember Kumble's 10-for, Seen It Plenty Of Times': Patel

'I Remember Kumble's 10-for, Seen It Plenty Of Times': Patel

Ajaz Patel on Saturday became only the third bowler to take 10 wickets in a Test innings, joining Anil Kumble and Jim Laker in a select club.

Omicron Severity Is Anticipated To Be Low: Health Ministry

Omicron Severity Is Anticipated To Be Low: Health Ministry

Will the Omicron variant drive the Covid-19 third wave in India? The Union Health Ministry says the chances are very low.

Advertisement