The Anti-Nautch Agitation in Madras Presidency

  • S Angaleswari Ph.D., Scholar, Center for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


The early twentieth century social reform movement in India were shaped with intricacy due to the presence of diverse groups like the Colonial rule, Christian Missionaries, and the Indian elite social reforms in attempting to define modern and post-colonial view of Indian tradition. One such reformed group was devadasi community that this paper focuses on. The term deva means god and dasi means servant, who had been dedicated to Hindu temples as minor girl thorough rites resembling Hindu marriage system in South India. . The devadasis was dancers and singers either by having some kind of regular service functions in temple. However the decline of the indigenous rule under British they lost their royal patronage. At the end of nineteenth century, the above social reform group heavily influenced by the western ideology questions about the practices of devadasi system; later it turned into the movement called Anti- Nautch or Anti- Devadasi dedication in Madras Presidency. This paper is an attempt to study the process of the displacement and degradation over the end of the nineteenth century, by which the notable devadasis system were renamed and finally driven to become a community of prostitutes in Madras Presidency.

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