Published by Vintage Books /
Random House India
“Fascinating... Servants of the Goddess is an astute and provocative book, taking us into the intimate lives of devadasis, while putting forward larger questions about caste hierarchy, gender bias, and the economic pressures that exist within patriarchy.”
- Tishani Doshi, New Indian Express Sunday Magazine
“A must read ...”
- Vishal Manve, Sunday edition of Mumbai's DNA
“Servants of the Goddess fascinates, and shocks, with stories of devadasis in India.”
- Sudipta Datta, the Sunday edition of the Financial Express
Servants of the Goddess
Servants of the Goddess weaves together the heartbreaking, yet paradoxically life-affirming stories of five devadasis—women, in the clutches of an ancient fertility cult, forced to serve the gods.
Catherine Rubin Kermorgant sets out attempting to make a documentary film about the lives of present-day devadasis. Through her, we meet and get to know the devadasi women of Kalyana, a remote village in Karnataka. As they grow to trust Kermorgant and welcome her as an honorary sister, we hear their stories in their own words: stories of oppression and violence, but more importantly, of resistance and resilience. Kermorgant becomes a part of these stories and finds herself unwittingly enmeshed in a world of gender and caste bias which extends far beyond Kalyana—all the way to Paris, where the documentary is to be edited and produced.
Servants of the Goddess is a testament to women's strength and spirit, and a remarkably astute analysis of gender and caste relations in today's rural India.