Sadhvis Take on Sadhus at Kumbh
BY: NEELU VYAS
Jan 6, ALLAHABAD, UTTAR PRADESH (CNN-IBN) Female sadhus push to the forefront at this year's Ardh Kumbh Mela.
Their fashionable façade may just be a cover up, but hidden under that façade are stories of male domination. Yet the sadhvis (female sadhus) aspire to become great preachers on stage.
While some sadhvis like Sadhvi Prema Pandurang of South India, Sadhvi Rithambhra of Vrindavan and Mata Kanteshwari of Gujarat are already in the reckoning, among them, not all reach such heights. This was the issue at hand for a group of sadhvis who had assembled at the Kumbh Mela site.
“Sadhvis are oppressed. Even on the stage the sadhus don't give them a chance,” says Sadhvi Nitya.
The story however, is not just limited to India. Sadhvi Aradhanagiri of Bangladesh, who also aspires to be a popular preacher and does not hesitate to say so, faces the trauma.
Watch video of Sadvhis at Mela
When asked if she regrets not being able to get the same popularity as her male counterparts, she says, “I do. But it does not happen for us.”
According to the Sadhvi Shakti Parishad, an organisation of the sadhvis, there are 2.5 lakh sadhvis in India.
And even the organisation feels quite concerned about the male domination of sadhus. But when sadhus are questioned about this, they start preaching humility.
"We treat the sadhvis well. They are always given a chance. Get a sadhvi and see how we treat her on stage,” says Mahantram Kewaldas Sadhu
But the story is not the same if you come down to the Malwada area of the Ardh Khumb Mela where the sadhvis stay.
However, that's not the end. The story of the male domination of the sadhus state extends to many more stories of oppression and sadness.
Sadhvi Rithambhra of Vrindavan has been active for years on behalf of women. In Mathura in 2000, she organized a protest yajna against beauty contests in Uttar pradesh, saying that Indian women should not lose their identity as a mother.