Petition to Conduct CBI Enquiry into Murder of Dr J A Mathan

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Oprah Winfrey's Family Secret: A rejected half-sister Girl-child abandoned and put up for adoption

Oprah Winfrey's Family Secret: A rejected half-sister Girl-child abandoned and put up for adoption
For the most part, Oprah's life has been an open book. "I think I've seen just about everything and heard every story," she says. "I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. But let me tell you, I was wrong."
Just before Thanksgiving 2010, Oprah received some news about her family that she says shook her to her core. "[It's] a bombshell family secret that left me speechless," she says. "Only a handful of people in my life know about this."

With the way the media works today, Oprah says there's no way the story wouldn't eventually get out, so she and her family made the decision to do this show. "I wanted you to hear it from me first," she says. It all starts with one woman's story...a mother from Milwaukee who discovered she's Oprah's half-sister.
Picture: Patricia

Patricia was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 26, 1963. From the moment she came into the world, Patricia's life was far from easy. "I was put up for adoption at birth, and I was left in the hospital for about a month," Patricia says.

For the next seven years of Patricia's life, she bounced around from one foster home to another before finally being adopted. All this time, she says she longed to be reunited with her birth mother. "I had some disbelief that she didn't mean to put me up for adoption. I just would always wish that my birth mother was going to come back and get me," Patricia says. "Then, as you get older, you know that that's not going to happen."
Patricia and her children

When Patricia was 17 years old, she gave birth to a daughter, Aquarius, and six years later, she had a son, Andre. "I had my daughter very young, and my whole goal with wanting to have my daughter is to have a part of me—to be able to look at her and see a part of me," Patricia says.
Patricia spent the next 30 years raising her children on her own. Even today, she works two jobs so she can give her children a better life. "What I'm grateful for is the people who I've had in my life and the people who have given me strength and the people who have loved me," she says. "I don't regret the fact that my mother gave me up because that's not the way my life was supposed to go. This is."

When Patricia was 20 years old, she contacted the State of Wisconsin to find her birth mother but never followed up. Then, in 2007, Patricia's children urged her to give it another try. Patricia requested her adoption records and started the search for her biological family.

Soon after, Patricia received her birth records in the mail. "I was like, 'Oh, my God,'" she says. "I have a family." The documents dated back to 1963, the year Patricia was born. Although the names of her family members were not revealed, the documents did include key information. "I found out that I had three other siblings," Patricia says. At the time of her birth, she had a sister who was 4 1/2 years old, a brother who was 2 and a 9-year-old sister, who lived with her father in Nashville.

The records also showed that two of her siblings—her second oldest sister and brother—had since passed away, but her other sister was still alive. "[I thought,] 'I can't wait to meet her because she's probably down there cooking up a storm and has about 10 kids,'" Patricia says.

But, one month later, Patricia received a heartbreaking phone call from the state's adoption agency. "[The caller] was telling me that my birth mother had called her back, and she had made the decision at that particular time that she did not want to see me," Patricia says. "I said, 'That's okay because God is going to let me know who you are.'"

The same day Patricia got rejected by her birth mother, she saw a story on the local news in Milwaukee that would give her some answers. "She had the TV on the news, and they were doing an interview with Vernita, Oprah Winfrey's mother," Andre, Patricia's son, says.
During that interview, Oprah's mother revealed details about Oprah's two half-siblings who had died. That information matched details in Patricia's birth documents. "Her mother said two of her children had passed away ... I knew that two of my siblings had passed away, and I knew which two," Patricia says. Their names? Jeffrey and Patricia, also known as "Pat." "The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, because I also knew that one of my siblings and I shared the same name," Patricia says. "I said, 'No, that can't be.'"

All the details were lining up. Andre put the last piece of the puzzle together. "I went online and found a bio of Oprah Winfrey and saw the birth dates of when her mom was born and when her siblings were born," he says. With that information, Andre and his mother realized that Oprah might be Patricia's half-sister.

Could this be? "Yes, it is true," Oprah says. "It is true that my mother, Vernita, is also Patricia's birth mother, which means Patricia is my half-sister, who I never knew existed."
It was 2007 when Patricia pieced together her family history, but she says she had no idea what to do with the information. Keep in mind, Vernita never told her other three children she had given a baby up for adoption.

Patricia tried to reach out to Vernita three times, but Vernita said she wasn't ready to meet her. "I was very hurt," Patricia says. "I just had to let it go."

Despite feeling rejected by her birth mother, Patricia decided to keep her findings a secret, fearing that it would become a media frenzy. "I remember just still worrying about my older sister and just praying to God that nothing gets out," Patricia says. "I did not want her hurt."

Patricia wasn't quite sure what to do next, but then, she saw a magazine article about Oprah's niece, Alisha, the daughter of Oprah's deceased sister Pat. Alisha and her husband own a Milwaukee-area restaurant called Pat's Rib Place, which is named after her mother who died in 2003. Patricia decided to go to the restaurant and meet Alisha.

When she arrived, she saw photos of Pat on the restaurant's walls and was overwhelmed by how closely she resembled Pat. "I am your mother's sister," Patricia said to Alisha. "At that time, I think she believed me, but she didn't understand, because she got very emotional."

Alisha says she stared at Patricia, stunned at how much she looked like her mother. It was then that Patricia showed Alisha the documents that detailed her biological family's history. Alisha's husband, Tydus, was suspicious at first. "I'm thinking in my head that, you know, this could be any crackpot out here just claiming to just be related to Oprah," he says.

Then, he met Patricia and saw the resemblance to his deceased mother-in-law, Pat. "It was the way she spoke; it was the way she moved her hands; it was the expression that she made," Tydus says. "It was her laughter. It was her excitement, her joy." Tydus says he broke down and began to cry.

"[There was] just something about her," Alisha says. "It just felt right."

Even though Alisha's instincts told her Patricia was her aunt, she says she wanted to be 100 percent sure. One week later, Patricia and Alisha took a DNA test. The results say there is an 85 percent positive match, and because they are niece and aunt, there's little doubt that they are related.

For months, members of Oprah's family knew about Patricia, but no one told Oprah. "I had no idea that my mother had given up a baby in 1963," Oprah says. "I was 9 years old at the time, living with my father in Nashville, and didn't even know my mother was pregnant ... So imagine my shock just a few months ago. It was the end of October, right before Thanksgiving, [when] I found out that I have another sister living just 90 minutes away in Milwaukee. What's even more unbelievable is that she has the same name as my first sister who passed away, Patricia."

It was Alisha who first emailed Oprah. Then Alisha's sister, Chrishaunda, sent another email. Oprah says she called both of her nieces, and they told Oprah she needed to talk to her mother, Vernita. But when Oprah spoke to her mother, she says Vernita didn't mention Patricia. After calls back and forth to more family members, Oprah finally asked her assistant, Libby, to tell her what was going on.

Just 10 minutes before a show taping was about to begin, Libby told Oprah she has a sister. Oprah called her mother and confronted her. "[I asked,] 'Is this true?'" Oprah says. "[Vernita] finally said, 'Well, yes, I think it's true.'"
On Thanksgiving Day, Oprah and Stedman drove to Milwaukee to meet her half-sister, Patricia, and Patricia's family for the first time. "You look just like Pat," Oprah said when she saw Patricia. They spent the rest of the afternoon sitting around the dinner table, getting to know each other.

In the car on their way back to Chicago, Oprah says she and Stedman didn't say a word for miles. "Finally, he turned to me and said, 'What was that?'" Oprah says. "It was so uncanny to us and to everybody in this family how much this Patricia looked like, moved like, talked like Pat. It was a Beloved moment, if you know what I mean: the daughter who comes back from the dead."
Since meeting her half-sister, Patricia, and her new niece and nephew, Oprah says she's come to admire their character. "What is so remarkable to me about this story, and it's going make me cry, so just be patient," Oprah says to Patricia. "Since I have been a person known in the public, there have been few times that I've been anywhere and not been sold out. There have been few times where you can bring anybody new into your life and not have that person in some way betray you or use you or take advantage of you.
Patricia tried and tried and tried again to get responses from my mother and other people in the family. She never once thought to go to the press. She never once thought to sell this story. ... When I heard this about you, I said, 'Regardless if it's true or not true, I had to meet you because I wanted to meet somebody who had that kind of character.' So thank you."

A few weeks after Alisha and Patricia's DNA test, Patricia met her birth mother, Vernita, for the first time. "I just kept looking at her going, 'I don't know if I look like you or not,'" Patricia says. "I kept trying to find myself in her."

But, there's no questioning how much Patricia looks like her half-sister Pat. Pat's daughter Alisha says meeting Patricia is "one of the best gifts I could have ever gotten."

Chrishaunda, Pat's other daughter, first heard about Patricia from Alisha, who then sent her a photo of their newfound aunt. "When I saw the picture ... I just knew that it was true," Chrishaunda says. "Before the [DNA] test, I just believed it was true."

For Chrishaunda, getting to know Patricia has been an emotional process. "I think that she has her own personality and her own gifts, but she, for me, is a constant reminder of the goodness that my mother represented, personified," she says. "My mother had a lot of demons that prevented her from being her best self. We know about that, but I feel like my mother speaks through her."

Oprah agrees. "It feels like [this is] closure for my sister Pat who passed," Oprah says. "My sister Pat, I did the best I could for her and many of you know, I had to put her through drug rehab twice, and when she came out, she just didn't survive it. It feels to me like [Patricia] is Pat on her very best day."
In January 2011, Patricia and Oprah met up at Vernita's home in Milwaukee to get more answers from their mother. Vernita, who recently suffered a stroke, says she was shocked—but not afraid—when Patricia first tried to contact her. She was, however, struggling with feelings of shame. "I thought it was a terrible thing for me to do, that I had done, gave up my daughter when she was born," Vernita says.

The adoption records say Vernita gave up Patricia because she wanted to get off of welfare. "I made the decision to give her up because I wasn't able to take care of her," Vernita says. "So when I left the hospital, I told the nurse that I wasn't going to keep the baby. She said, 'Oh, but she's such a cute little girl. Why not?'"

After leaving the hospital, Vernita says she continued thinking about her baby and even went back looking for her. "They told me that she had left," she says. "I don't know if someone had adopted her or what."

Patricia is stunned by her mother's words. "I'm just trying to take it all in right now," she says. "I never heard that I was a pretty baby, so I didn't know. I always had a feeling that she didn't mean to give me up. Her saying that she came back to get me, it means a lot."
Now that Patricia is a part of Vernita's life again, Vernita says it makes her "feel wonderful."

After leaving Vernita's house, Oprah says she had an epiphany: Her mother is still stuck in 1963. "She is still of the same mindset of 1963 and is still carrying the shame that would have been put upon her in 1963, and therefore, she hasn't been able to release herself to fully embrace [Patricia] and embrace this miracle that has really happened in our family," Oprah says.

Oprah looks in the camera and speaks to her mother. "You can let that go. You can let the shame go," she says. "There are millions of people all over this country who are just like you, who have given up their children because they knew at the time that they could not provide the best for them. So, Vernita, you can let that go."

This wasn't Oprah's only epiphany. "When I was 14 years old, I became pregnant and that was my big secret," Oprah says. "I'd been abused since I was 9 years old, became pregnant at 14 years old, sent to live with my father. My sister, Pat, went to the tabloids and told the tabloids that story. That caused a big rift between my sister and I because she sold [me] out to the tabloids.

When I left our mother's house the other day, for the first time I realized that that was a gift to me. Pat, going to the tabloids and telling the story about my having the baby, was a gift because it released me from the shame that my mother still carries today. I thought, had she not done that, I would still be exactly where my mother is—stuck in the shame."
Despite the difficulties she faced, Patricia never gave up trying to contact her biological family. "I knew that I needed to get it out or get in touch with you so that no one else would put it out there," Patricia says.

When Oprah asks why, Patricia explains she didn't want to hurt Oprah. "It's not fair, number one, because it's family business," Patricia says. "And family business needs to be handled by family."

"Well, it is now out there," Oprah says.

"And it was handled by family," Patricia says. "It shouldn't be handled by anyone else. That's not fair. It wouldn't be fair to you."

Patricia says her children were interested in meeting her family too. "It made me realize if they were coming to me, asking me the same thing, 'Can you go look for your side of the family?', it started to make me think that they're not feeling complete," Patricia says. "I didn't think about that. I just thought it was just me. ... I said, 'Let me go into this for them.'"
Now that Patricia's found her family, she says she feels connected, a sense of wholeness—even if her mother's reaction wasn't what she thought it would be. "That's okay," Patricia says. "I have my nephews and great nieces, and I have [Oprah]."

Patricia's daughter, Aquarius, says this whole experience has been eye-opening. "[It's] a miracle to know that we have a family, to know that we have someone that looks like us, to know that we have someone that may have the same mannerisms as we do," she says. "It's just amazing to know that we have another half."

Andre, Patricia's son, has been in awe, as well. "I felt really blessed to be a part of your life and just to be connected with you," he says to Oprah.
What has been the most rewarding part of this experience? "Getting my family [back]," Patricia says.

For Oprah, who has helped many families reunite on The Oprah Show over the years, this is only the beginning of the journey.

"As you can imagine, Patricia and I are still sorting all of this out," Oprah says. "It's a process. She's so sweet. She would call me and say, 'Are you all right? I know this is hard for you to process.' Yes, it is. I'm still processing. So we're going to be getting to know each other in the months and days and years to come."

Saturday, 29 January 2011

What are the major Sins according to Islam?

What are the major sins according to Hanafi madhab?

1. Associating partners with Allah (Shirk)
Great Shirk: Worshipping beings other than Allah (proof all over Quran)
Small Shirk: Riya
The Rasoolillah (SAW), "Should I not inform you of that which I fear for you even more than the dangers of Dajjal? It is the hidden shirk: A person stands to pray and he beautifies his prayer because he sees the people looking at him". (Sahih; Sunan ibn Majah)

2. Committing MURDER: (Furqan; 68)

3. Performing SORCERY (2: 102)

4. Not performing the Prayers (Maryam: 59)

5. Withholding the Zakat (Charity) (3: 180)

6. Breaking the fast of Ramadhan or not fasting in that month without a valid excuse.
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no true god except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the house, and fasting the month of Ramadhan" (Sahih al-Jami # 2837)

7. Not performing the pilgrimage when one has the ability to do so (above hadith)

8. Disobeying one's parents (al-Isra: 23)

9. Cutting off the ties of relationships (Muhammad: 22)

10. Committing adultery or fornication (al-Isra: 30)

11. Committing sodomy
The Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Allah will not look at a person (with pleasure) who commits sodomy with a man or a woman" (Sahih al-Jami # 7678)

12. Taking or paying interest (2: 275)

13. Devouring the wealth of orphans (4:10)

14. Forging statements concerning Allah or forging Hadith (al-Zumar: 60)

15. Fleeing from the battle (al-Anfal: 16)

16. Wrongdoing, deception or oppression on the part of the ruler (al-Shura: 42)

17. Being arrogant, boastful, vain (al-Nahl: 23)

18. Giving false testimony (al-Furqan: 72)

19. Drinking alcoholic beverages (5: 90)

20. Gambling (5: 90)

21. Slandering innocent women (al-Nur: 23)

22. Misappropriating something from the booty (3:161)

23. Stealing (5:38)

24. Committing highway robbery (5: 33)

25. Making false oath
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "If someone is ordered to take an oath and he takes a false oath in order to take possession of property of a Muslim, then he will incur Allah's wreath when he meets Him" (Sahih al-Jami # 6083)

26. Committing oppression (al-Shuara: 277)

27. Levying illegal taxes
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, " Do you know who the bankrupt is? The bankrupt form my nation is the one who appears on the Day of Resurrection having performed the prayers, fasted and paid the zakat, but had also abused that person, slandered that person, wrongfully taken the wealth of that person and spilled the blood of that person. These people will take from his good deeds. If his good deeds are thereby exhausted, he will be given their sins and then he will be thrown into the hell-fire" (Sahih al-Jami #87)

28. Consuming forbidden wealth or taking it by any means (2: 188)

29. Committing suicide (4: 29)

30. Being a perpetual liar (3: 61)

31. Ruling by laws other than the laws of Islam (5: 44)

32. Engaging in bribery (2: 188)

33. Women appearing like men and vice-versa
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Allah's curse is upon women who appear like men and upon men who appear like women" (Sahih al-Jami # 4976)

34. Being a dayyouth (Pimp)
Dayyouth: is the one who approves the indecency of his womenfolk and who is void of jealousy or the pimp who facilitates indecency between two people
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Allah has forbidden the Paradise to three people: the alcoholic, the runaway slave, and the one who is complacent in the face of the evil deeds that his family is performing" (Sahih al-Jami # 3047)

35. Marrying for the purpose of making a woman allowable for another (Baqarah)

36. Not keeping clean from the remains of urine
Ibn Abbas reported that Rasoolillah (SAW) passed by a grave and said, "These two are being punished and they are not being punished for something hard. But it is a great sin. One of them did not keep himself clean form his urine and the other went around spreading tales" (Sahih al-Jami # 2436)

37. Acting for show (al-Maoon: 4-6)

38. Acquiring knowledge only for worldly gain or concealing knowledge (2: 160)

39. Breaching trusts (al-Anfal: 27)

40. Reminding people of one's kindness (2: 27)

41. Denying predestination (al-Qamar: 49)
"If Allah were to punish the inhabitants of the heavens and earths, then He would punish and He would not be doing injustice to them. If He were to have mercy on them, His mercy would be greater than from their actions. If a person had amount of gold equivalent to Mount Uhud or similar to Mount Uhud and spent it in the Path of Allah, (that spending) would not be accepted form him by Allah until he believes in the preordainment of good and evil. And until he knows that what afflicted him was not going to miss him and what missed him was not going to afflict him. If you were to die with any belief other than that, you would enter the Hellfire" (Kitab al-Sunnah by Ibn Abu Asi # 245. Albani says that its chain is sahih)

42. Eavesdropping on other's private conversation (Hujarat: 12)

43. Spreading harmful tales(al-Qamar: 10)

44. Cursing others
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Abusing a Muslim is evil and fighting him is disbelief" (Sahih al-Jami # 3598)

45. Not fulfilling one's promises
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Whoever has a four characteristic is a complete hypocrite. Whoever posses any of these characteristics has the characteristics of hypocrisy until he gives it up; whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it up…" (Bukhari)

46. Believing in what soothsayers & astrologers say
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Whoever goes to fortuneteller and asks him about something will not have his prayer accepted for forty nights" (Sahih al-Jami # 5816)

47. A wife being rebellious to her husband (4: 34)

48. Putting pictures of beings with souls on clothing, curtains, rocks and any other items
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "…the people who will receive the greatest punishment on the day of judgment are those who compete with Allah in creation [those who make pictures or statues]" (sahih al-Jami # 1691)

49. Striking one's self, wailing, tearing one's clothing, pulling one's hair & similar deeds as a form of mourning
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "One who strikes his cheeks or tears his clothing and shouts in the manner of pre-Islamic culture is not one of us" (Sahih al-Jami # 5713)

50. Committing injustice (al-Shura: 42)

51. Being overbearing or taking advantage of the weak, slaves, wives or animals
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Allah will torture those who torture people in this world" (Muslim)

52. Harming neighbours
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "A person whose neighbour is not safe from his mischief will not enter paradise" (sahih al-Jami # 7002)

54. Wearing one's clothes too long, i.e. below the ankles
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "What is below the ankles will be in the hellfire " (Bukhari)

56. Men wearing silk & gold
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Gold and silk have been permitted for the females of my nation and forbidden for its males" (Sahih al-Jami # 209)
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Men who wears silk in this world will have no portion [of heavens] in the hereafter" (Muslim)

57. Running away of a slave
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "If a slave runs away, his prayers will not be accepted" (Sahih al-Jami # 257)

58. Sacrificing animals for other than Allah
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "The one who sacrifices for other than Allah is cursed by Allah" (Sahih al-Jami # 4988)

59. Claiming that somebody is one's father while the claimant knows it is not true
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "One who claims that someone is his father and knows that it is not true will be forbidden of paradise" (Sahih al-Jami # 5865)

60. Arguing or quarreling for show & not seeking the truth
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Whoever argues in support of something that is wrong and he knows it Allah will be angry with him until he stops" (Sahih al-Jami # 6073)

61. Not allowing excess water to flow to others
Rasoolillah (SAW) said, "Whoever doesn't allow the access water or pasture for others will not share in the blessings of Allah on the day of judgment" (Sahih al-Jami # 6436)

62. Not measuring the weights properly (al-Mutafafifeen: 1-3)

63. Thinking that one is safe from Allah's planning (al-Araf: 99)

67. Harming others by manipulation one's bequests (4: 12)

68. Being deceitful or deceptive (Fatir: 43)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Ann Pettway Woman accused of kidnapping baby in 1987 is denied bail in USA

Pictured in court: Woman accused of kidnapping baby in 1987 is denied bail
25th January 2011
Sketch: Ann Pettway, left, is shown seated in court with her lawyers Sabrina Schroff and Robert Baum, in this courtroom sketch

Accused woman has told authorities she suffered several miscarriages
FBI agent said Pettway is 'sorry for the pain she has caused'
A woman accused of taking a baby from a New York City hospital 23 years ago has been denied bail after she appeared in court on kidnapping charges.
The FBI has previously said Ann Pettway confessed to taking a newborn girl from Harlem Hospital in 1987 and raising the child as her own.
The 49-year-old wore a blue prison jumpsuit, folded her hands, stared straight ahead and didn't say a word during her five-minute appearance in federal court on Monday in Manhattan.

Relatives: Both Carlina's biological father, Carl Tyson (above), and her aunt, Regina Tyson (below), attended the hearing in Manhattan
Handed herself in: Ann Pettway surrendered to the FBI and police and told authorities she had suffered several miscarriages when she took baby Carlina White, now 23, (below) from a New York hospital in 1987
Prosecutors have previously disclosed she became desperate after suffering a miscarriage, leading her to steal baby Carlina White from Harlem Hospital 23 years ago.

Her appearance at court was watched by Carlina's aunt and the child's biological father Carl Tyson, who had said that he wanted to attend so he could see the woman that kidnapped his three-week-old daughter.

'I would like to see her. I would like to ask her why. Why did she put me through all this pain?', Mr Tyson said.

FBI agent Maria Johnson interviewed Pettway and said in court documents that Pettway confessed and 'is sorry and knows that she has created a lot of pain'. She had 'had difficulty having children of her own' and 'had suffered several miscarriages' according to a filed criminal complaint.

Pettway, who last lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, gave herself up to Connecticut authorities on Sunday, just days after a widely publicised reunion between the child she raised and her biological mother.

Defence lawyer Robert Baum says his client is upset and understands the gravity of the charge.

'She cares very deeply about Carlina', Pettway's lawyer Robert Baum said adding that she was 'very upset' during an interview with him.

'She understands the gravity of the situation'.

'She became aware of the police chasing after her because of press accounts', Mr Baum added.
Recognised: Pettway was spotted at a pawn store in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Saturday by a staff member who notified police - she later handed herself in to authorities 

Pettway was spotted trying to sell items at a Bridgeport pawn shop on Saturday.
'She was recognised by the clerk at the time. He then made a call to us', Detective Keith Bryant from Bridgeport Connecticut police department said.
Pettway handed herself into authorities and now faces life in prison.
In her confession to authorities, Pettway said she saw the 19-day-old baby on August 4 1987, sneaked into her room a few hours later and took the child.
The complaint says: 'When no one stopped Pettway she took the victim with her on a train to Pettway's home in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She told her friends and family members that the victim was her child'.
She then raised the child who she named Nejdra Nance as her own although the girl was sometimes sent to live with Pettway's mother Mary.
'Pettway attempted to create a fake birth certificate for the victim, but was unsuccessful in doing so', prosecutors said. 'Pettway was never able to create a fake document that appeared real'.
Brian Pettway, cousin of the accused kidnapper, told the New York Post that his relative was pregnant in the summer of 1987 but then mysteriously vanished.
Hunt: Carlina White said she had doubts Pettway was her real mother and did research on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website where she found a baby picture of herself

'She was pregnant. She disappeared for two months. When she got back, she had [a baby]. We all assumed that she had the baby while she was away. No one questioned it', Mr Pettway said.
Mary Pettway confirmed her daughter was expecting a baby that year.
'She was pregnant in 1987. I wasn't with her when she gave birth. [Carlina White] was Ann's daughter until all this came up. I don't know right now what to think'.
Carlina's biological father Carl Tyson said: 'She took my daughter for 23 years. So let her do the same amount of time', in response to how Pettway should be punished.
'It was really hard around Christmastime - there was no one to give a Christmas present to, when her birthday came, no one to give a party to. When I walked down the street and saw someone with a baby I'd always look to see if that's my baby', Mr Tyson said.
Mr Tyson told the Today Show on Monday that Carlina was finding it challenging adjusting to life with her new family without abandoning the family that raised her.
Snatched: Carlina White was just 19 days old when she was taken from Harlem Hospital
Emotional: Joy White, centre, was reunited with the daughter she lost after 23 years when Carlina tracked her down through a missing child photograph

'She wanted to reunite with us but on the other hand she has this other family that she's been with', he said.Regina Tyson, Carlina's aunt said her niece 'wants justice to be served for what Pettway did'.
'But the family that provided her with unconditional love for 23 years did not have any idea what was going on' adding that they should not be victimised for what their relative did'.
'She's an adult with a five-year-old and lives in Atlanta. If she was 12, we could pick her up and ship her to New York City... so we can't make the decision that she should be here in New York City but we would like that', Ms Tyson added.
Ann Pettway handed herself in to the FBI and police on a warrant from North Carolina, where she was on probation over an embezzlement conviction.
It comes a week after the emotional reunion between the child she raised, Carlina White, and her biological mother.
Pettway was sentenced to two years' probation last June after she stole items from a store where she worked - a charge considered embezzlement under state law.
Under the terms of her probation, she was not allowed to leave the state.
Department of Correction officials repeatedly tried to contact her after finding out investigators wanted to question her in connection with the 1987 abduction of Ms White.
She was believed to have been on the run and authorities said they would seek her extradition.
Carlina was just 19 days old when her parents took her to Harlem Hospital suffering from a high fever.
Joy White and Carl Tyson said a woman who looked like a nurse comforted them. They left the hospital to rest, but their baby was missing when they returned.
Grief: Earl Tyson and Joy White, pictured in 1987. The couple had taken Carlina to the hospital with a high fever, but after returning from taking a rest she had disappeared

Carlina said she had long suspected Pettway was not her biological mother, because she could never provide her with a birth certificate and bore little resemblance to the Pettway family.
She periodically checked the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and while looking through New York photos this month found one that looked nearly identical to her own baby picture.
Ms White and her mother met in New York before DNA tests were completed, and after the results confirmed their suspicions Carlina returned from Atlanta to be with her mother again.
Ms White told the New York Post: 'I'm so happy. At the same time, it's a funny feeling because everything's brand new.
'It's like being born again.'

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Establishing Paternity: Acknowledge of Paternity (AOP) and Denial of Paternity (DOP) in USA

Establishing Paternity: Acknowledge of Paternity (AOP) and Denial of Paternity (DOP)

Proverbs 28:13
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
Why should we establish paternity for our baby?
Child's section
Mother's section

Under Texas law, a child born to a man and woman who are not married has no legal father. There is a difference between a biological father and a legal father. When the child's parents complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) to establish legal fatherhood, this helps to secure the legal rights of the child.
Father's section
Hospital section

Courts cannot order a father to pay child support until paternity is established.
The father cannot enforce his right to visitation or possession of the child until paternity is established.
The father may be able to provide health insurance, or other benefits, for the child.
The child may be able to receive money through a government program. In many cases the child may be eligible for Social Security, veteran's benefits, health care, or other government benefits.
Children can be born with diseases or disorders inherited from their parents. Sometimes doctors can tell at the time of birth if a baby has any inherited diseases or disorders. But other times health problems appear later in a child's life. Either way, it helps the doctors to know how to treat a child if they know the family medical history of both the mother and the father.
It's tough growing up today. Your child will have an easier time just by knowing the identity of his or her father.

Acknowledging Paternity at the Time of Birth

What does it mean to "acknowledge paternity"?
Paternity means fatherhood. When both parents sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity and it is filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, the biological father becomes the legal father. Once paternity has been established, the father's name is placed on the birth certificate. A court can order him to pay child support and grant him the right to visitation or possession of his child.

Why should paternity be acknowledged at the time of birth?
There are two main reasons. First, this is the most convenient time. Everything is together in one place. The necessary forms are available at hospitals in Texas. The father is likely to be with the mother at the hospital when the baby is born. The parents don't have to worry about mailing the forms; the hospital will make sure that everything is sent to the right place. And the father's name will be added to the birth certificate at no cost. Second, it's the best time for the baby. The earlier in the baby's life paternity is established, the more secure his or her future will be.

How is it done?
It's simple. An AOP can be obtained from the hospital, usually from the birth registrar in Medical Records. The father and mother sign the form, and the hospital staff send the AOP to the Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS), where it is filed.

Will signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity make a person the legal father?
Yes, when the mother and father both sign the AOP, the biological father becomes the legal father once the AOP is filed at the BVS.

What if the mother is married to someone else or the baby was born within 300 days of the date of her divorce?
If the mother is married to someone other than the biological father or the baby is born within 300 days of her divorce from a man who is not the biological father, the husband must sign a Denial of Paternity. The biological father cannot become the legal father by signing the AOP until the husband signs the Denial of Paternity, which is part of the AOP form. If the husband does not sign the Denial, either biological parent can open a case with the Attorney General or go to an attorney to establish paternity through the courts.

What if one or both parents change their mind after they have signed the AOP and it has been filed at BVS?
Anyone who signed the AOP may file a petition to rescind it. The petition must be filed in court within the first 60 days after the AOP has been filed with BVS or before the first court hearing, whichever is earlier.

Where can we get an AOP form?
AOP forms are available at the hospital, the local birth registrar, the Attorney General's Child Support Office, and the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which can be reached at (512) 458-7393.

What if the father wants to sign the AOP but cannot come to the hospital?
Sometimes the parents are not able to do everything necessary to acknowledge paternity while the mother and baby are still at the hospital, or the father cannot come to the hospital. When this happens, the parents can sign the AOP before the baby is born, and the mother can bring the AOP to the hospital at the time of birth. She can also take one home after the birth. The father must take the AOP to a Child Support Office, the local registry, or another certified entity to receive information on his rights and responsibilities. When the AOP is complete, it must be mailed to:

What if the father does not want to acknowledge paternity?
The mother should contact an attorney or the Office of the Attorney General. The Office of the Attorney General will open a child support case for her. It is important that the mother complete an application with the Office of the Attorney General, providing as much information as possible. Information about the father, such as a Social Security number, place of employment, and an address, makes it easier to locate him. If the mother is on public assistance, her case will be automatically referred to the Office of the Attorney General by the Texas Department of Human Services.

What if the father thinks that the child is his, but the mother won't sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity with him?
The father can come to the Office of the Attorney General and open a case, or he can consult a private attorney. It is important that the father complete an application with the Office of the Attorney General providing as much information as possible. Information about the mother, such as a Social Security number, place of employment, and an address, makes it easier to locate her.

What if the father does not believe the child is his?
He can ask for paternity testing. A court will look at the results of the paternity test and at other evidence that would link the father to the child.

Who pays for paternity tests?
There is no charge for paternity testing.

What if the custodial parent is receiving, or wants to receive, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits?
When a custodial parent applies for TANF benefits, he or she will automatically receive child support and paternity establishment services through the Office of the Attorney General. If a parent is receiving TANF, the law requires him or her to cooperate with the Office of the Attorney General.

How does paternity establishment affect custody and visitation?
Each parent has the duty to financially and emotionally support his or her child. Each parent has the right to visitation, except under exceptional circumstances. Child support and visitation will be ordered by a court. Both parents must obey the court order-a parent cannot refuse to pay child support because the other parent is refusing visitation, and vice versa.

Should parents establish paternity if they are getting along and the father is helping support the child?
Yes. Even if the father agrees to help support the child now, he may change his mind, become disabled, or even die. In most cases, unmarried parents can get benefits for their child only if they establish paternity for the child.

19. Concealment of Birth and Section 315 Indian Penal Code 1860!

Chronicles of a Victim of Deceived Parentage. Chapter 19. Concealment of Birth!

List of Characters:
Maternal Great-Grandmother : Cruella De-Vil
Maternal Great-Grand-father: Major Bholanath (Cuckolded husband of Cruella De-Vil)
Maternal Great-Grand-uncle/??: Johny Rotten = brother/bother of Major Bholanath

Maternal Grandfather: ex-Major Fritzl
Maternal Grandmother: Mrs Fritzl

Mother: Paristha

Daughter: Orphan Nancy
ex-Major Fritzl was a shameless, ruthless and immoral Gambler and Predator uncle. He preyed on many, many Vulnerable individuals.
Any more vulnerables? His own Daughter! At what risks?

There was denial and concealment of Pregnancy by Fritzl and family. There was no contact with the expectant father during the period of pregnancy, because Dr Ravinder had his fun of consensual sex and had moved on to other girlfriends and cheating on his wife.

Paristha's brother visited his family for a short visit.

He did not know about the pregnancy either.

While his sister went to the toilet, he saw a lot of blood trickling out of the toilet. He got shocked and shouted and after a lot of time, got the toilet opened. His sister was sitting on the toilet seat and trying to push. She was whimpering in pain. She was in mixed emotions of pain, shame, guilt, and denial. What has Fritzl made his own daughter go through?
His sister was all bloodied, and there was a tumour pushing out into the toilet!
Fritzl and his son Fritzl Jr rushed to the hospital and told the doctors that a tumour was coming out.

The outraged doctors shouted, " Who's the Father? Tell us the name of the FATHER, before you take one more step forward!"

Fritzl wrote his name as the Father of his own grand-child on the Birth-Certificate, besides his daughter as the mother.

If it wasn't for the sudden visit of the Brother!

Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 315- Act done with intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth
Whoever before the birth of any child does any act with the intention of thereby preventing that child from being born alive or causing it to die after its birth, and does by such prevent that child from being born alive, or causes it to die after its birth, shall, if such act be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the mother, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 318Concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body
Whoever, by secretly burying or otherwise disposing of the death body of a child whether such child die before or during its birth, intentionally conceals or endeavours to conceal the birth of such child, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Disclaimer: For reasons of confidentiality, please don't assume the identity of the 'narrator'. The entire story has been placed in custody of certain well-wishers. Names and identities of characters have been masked and changed to protect their identities. Let us call the name of the Child (deceived about Parentage) as 'Orphan Nancy' .

Images used are only representative of the story.

Strong Legal action will be taken in Bangalore jurisdiction, against all those who claim to resemble or know the identity of any characters mentioned in this Chronicles. If you think that you relate to any Character in the Chronicles, it will remain a FIGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION. And, the purpose of a true CLASSIC in Developmental Psychology will be achieved.

Events are true and character sketches are disguised to protect their identity.

Literary agents and International publishers can contact me for further details.
Copyright © 2011 Roshni Mathan Pereira and 'Orphan Nancy'

Saat Khoon Maaf: Susanna's Seven Husbands' Mysterious deaths

Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes
יח  שְׁלֹשָׁה הֵמָּה, נִפְלְאוּ מִמֶּנִּי;    וארבע (וְאַרְבָּעָה), לֹא יְדַעְתִּים.
18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
יט  דֶּרֶךְ הַנֶּשֶׁר, בַּשָּׁמַיִם--    דֶּרֶךְ נָחָשׁ, עֲלֵי-צוּר;
דֶּרֶךְ-אֳנִיָּה בְלֶב-יָם--    וְדֶרֶךְ גֶּבֶר בְּעַלְמָה.
19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a young woman.
כ  כֵּן, דֶּרֶךְ אִשָּׁה--    מְנָאָפֶת:
אָכְלָה, וּמָחֲתָה פִיהָ;    וְאָמְרָה, לֹא-פָעַלְתִּי אָוֶן.
20 So is the way of an adulterous woman;
she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith: 'I have done no wickedness.' 

Proverbs 30:18-20

Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, a beautiful woman who over the course of thirty-five odd years, gets married seven times due to the untimely and mysterious deaths of half a dozen of her hapless husbands. The strange circumstances of their deaths make Susanna a prime suspect. Enigmatic and irresistibly charming in equal measure – Susanna is the kind of woman any man would die for! Literally!
Edwin Rodriques
A young and beautiful Susanna falls in love with The Major, who’s oh-so-dashing in his uniform. Yes, he’s a bit too old for her, and he likes giving orders. But love is blind.
Murdered by ....

Jimmy Stetson
Soon thereafter – very soon – Susanna decides to marry Jimmy, whose good looks and musical talent sweep her off her feet. She invests in him, but she has no idea what lies in store.
Murdered by ....

Wasiullah Khan
As a romantic soul. Susanna is susceptible to beautiful poetry. Hence it is that she discovers and marries Wasiullah Khan a.k.a Musafir, by day a gentle poet and by night… something else.
Murdered by ....
Nicolai Vronsky
Growing older but no wiser. Susanna next marries a Mr. Vronsky from Moscow and almost re-enacts her very own Anna Karenina love story.
Murdered by ....

Keemat Lal
All these dead husbands! The police take an interest, especially Officer Keemat Lal, who is helpful to the extreme. He not only persuades Susanna to marry him, he makes it impossible for her to say no.
Murdered by ....
Dr Modhusudhon Tarafdar
By now our Susanna is suffering from melancholy, not to mention indigestion. Along comes her savior, Dr. Modhusudhon Tarafdar with a healthy answer to both problems: a strict mushroom diet.
Murdered by ....

The 7th Husband Prem Pujari
It turns out that Dr. Mushroom isn’t Susanna’s last savior. She marries yet again, and finally it’s for good.
Murdered by ....
The romantic misadventures of Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, a beautiful lass who over the course of thirty-five odd years, gets married seven times due to the untimely and mysterious deaths of half a dozen of her hapless husbands.
The strange circumstances of their deaths, makes Susanna a prime accused. Did the husbands deserve to die? Were the murders out of necessity or pure blood-lust? Does Susanna ever find her one true love?

Ann Pettway, woman who kidnapped and raised Carlina White, is on the run

Ann Pettway, woman who kidnapped and raised Carlina White, is on the run

Ann Pettway's home in Raleigh, N.C. Police have issued an arrest warrant for Pettway.

As police hunted Friday for the woman who spent 23 years raising a kidnapped baby, the girl's real father said his daughter was fed a series of heart-rending lies while growing up.

The still-missing Ann Pettway told Carlina White that "her mother had died, that her father was in jail and that she was put up for adoption," dad Carl Tyson told the Daily News.

City and federal authorities want to question Pettway, 49, after DNA tests showed that Tyson and Joy White were Carlina's parents.

"They think it was Ann who took the baby," Tyson said after speaking with police. "I really want just two minutes with Ann Pettway. If she was in front of me, I would ask her, 'Why? Why? Why?'"

Cops issued an arrest warrant for Pettway, raising the stakes for the woman who claimed Carlina was her daughter. Pettway, who has not been charged in the shocking kidnapping case, is suspected of violating probation stemming from an unrelated conviction.

"She is willfully fleeing supervision," said Pam Walker of the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

Pettway was on probation because of a conviction for attempted embezzlement and is not allowed to leave North Carolina. She's been busted on a handful of petty crimes since 1977.

Carlina's half-brother, Sydney Reynolds, reflected on the pain yesterday. He said the person who kidnapped the 19-day-old infant from Harlem Hospital in August 1987 broke his mother's heart.

"She kind of ripped our whole family apart, and I had to watch that my whole life with my mom," said Reynolds, 21. "It's kind of crazy."

Pettway, a resident of Raleigh, N.C., was described by a former co-worker as a good employee who loved to talk about her 13-year-old son - but kept quiet about his older sibling.

"Whenever I asked her about her daughter, she got kind of weird, like she didn't want to talk about her," said the co-worker from Bell's Carpet and Floors in Raleigh.

A relative of Ann Pettway said she never asked any questions about whether her cousin was actually pregnant with the baby known to them as Nejdra Nance.

"It was a very good childhood," the relative said. "She may be with her real family now, but she's always a part of our family no matter what."

Carlina was hospitalized with a 104-degree fever when a woman dressed as a nurse spirited her out of the hospital. She grew up in Bridgeport, Conn., and moved to Atlanta last year.

The case remained unsolved until she took matters into her own hands, tracking down her birth parents with the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Temple Prostitution: Devadasi System in Indian Temples

Temple Prostitution: Devadasi System in Indian Temples
Devadasi system is not only exploitation of women, it is the institutionalized exploitation of women; it is the exploitation of Dalits, the lower class of untouchables; it is the religious sanction given to prostitution of helpless economically and socially deprived women; It is the glorification of humiliation of women. Inherent in this system is the fascistic belief that a certain section of human population, the lower caste, is meant to serve the ‘higher caste’s superior men’. Inherent in it is the feudal-lord-temple-priest-nexus, where the priest, already having a psychological hold over the minds of simple people to the point of dictating their way of life, uses his power to give ‘religious sanction’ to the practice by declaring it ‘sacred’, and thus cajole and lure simple minded villagers into this worst form of prostitution.

Devadasi literally means God’s (Dev) female servant (Dasi), where according to the ancient Indian practice, young pre-pubertal girls are ‘married off’, ‘given away’ in matrimony to God or Local religious deity of the temple. These girls are not allowed to marry, as they were supposedly married to the temple. She ‘serves’ the priests and inmates of the temple, and the Zamindars (local land lords) and other men of money and power, in the town and village. The ‘service’ (read sexual satisfaction) given to these men is considered akin to service of God. The Devadasi is dedicated to the service of the temple Deity for life and there is no escape for her. If she wants to escape, the society will not accept her.

 The Devadasi system is still flourishing in parts of India, especially in the South and specifically in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Ironically, these are the techno-savvy states now synonymous with Indian progress in the global market.

If you take the beautiful country road from Dharwad, Karnataka, you will reach the small temple village of Saundatti in South India. It is in this village that the Devadasi tradition, one of the most criticized forms of prostitution in India (1), is still practiced. Despite the governmental ban, hundreds of girls are secretly dedicated to Goddess Yellammaevery year.
Renuka temple in Saundatti

There are more than 450,000 Devadasies trapped in this form of prostitution, deified and glorified by the heinous religious sanctions. According to the 1934 Devadasi Security Act, this practice is banned in India. This ban was reinforced again in 1980s but the law is broken every day. Poverty and ‘Untouchablity’ contribute to the persistence of this terrible practice.
Devadasi Yellamma poses for the camera

Continuing Practice of Dedicating Dalits as Devadasies

A report commissioned by the National Commission for Women (NCW) in India reveals the shocking reality of how thousands of Dalit women continue to be forced into the Devadasi system in several states of India.  Estimates suggest that girls dedicated to temples in the Maharashtra-Karnataka border area number over 250,000 and are all from the Dalit community of untouchables. More than half of the Devadasies become prostitutes. (2)

According to a survey carried out among 375 Devadasies by the Joint Women's Programme, Bangalore for the NCW, 63.6 per cent of young girls were forced into Devadasi system due to custom, while 38 per cent reported that their families had a history of Devadasies. The survey pointed out that Devadasi system is more prevalent among three Scheduled Caste communities - Holers, Madars and Samgars in Karnataka. Nearly 40 per cent of them join the flesh trade in cities and the rest are involved in their respective villages. A Devadasi, in a way, is considered "public property" in the village. Devadasies who do not become prostitutes struggle to survive as agricultural labourers or maidservants.

Most Devadasies are single. However, 65 per cent of the Devadasies were associated with a patron. About 95.2 per cent have children. And among those with children, more than 95 per cent could not register the names of their patrons (as the fathers of their children) in school admission records. The overwhelming majority of Devadasies (95 per cent) earn less than Rs 1,000 a month. (3)

What is in a name?

In Andhra Pradesh these Devadasies are called Joginis, while in Jejuri in Maharashtra they are called Muralis. They are known by different names in different areas. Jogan Shankar gives the names by which they are known in various parts, such as Maharis in Kerala, Natis in Assam, and Basavis in Karnataka. In Goa they are called `Bhavanis', and `Kudikar' on the West-Coast, `Bhogam-Vandhi' or `Jogin' in Andhra Pradesh, Thevardiyar' in Tamil Nadu, `Murali', and 'Jogateen' and 'Aradhini' in Maharashtra. In Karnataka, old Devadasies are called as `Jogati' and young Devadasies as `Basavi'. The term `Basavi' refers to feminine form of `Basava' a bull which roams the village at will without any restriction. Hence `Basavi' alludes to the foot loose position of the woman. (4)
Genesis and growth of Devadasi system

There are many opinions about the genesis and growth of this system. For a comprehensive understanding of the dominant schools of thoughts, many factors have to be taken into consideration while trying to trace its origin and development. Factors like religious beliefs, caste system, male domination and economic stress have been recognized as the stimulants behind the perpetuation of this phenomenon.

The beginning can perhaps be mapped out in the inscription found in temples. The word Emperumandiyar which was used in the sense of Vaishnavas before 966 A.D. got the meaning of dancing girls, attached to Vishnu temples, in inscriptions of about 1230-1240 A.D. in the time of Raja Raya III. [Raghavacharya: I, 118]. In many quarters the emergence of the Devadasies has been linked to the downfall of Buddhism in India that the Devadasies were Buddhist nuns can be deduced from many evidences: They are unknown to ancient India. Jaatakas, Kautillya or Vatsayana do not mention them, but later Puranas found them useful. The system started only after the fall of Buddhism and records about them start appearing around 1000 A.D. [Bharatiya Sanskruti Kosh, IV, 448]. It is viewed that the Devadasies are the Buddhist nuns who were degraded to the level of prostitutes after their temples were taken over by Brahmins during the times of their resurgence after the fall of Buddhism.

The Devadasi system was set up (Times of India report dated10-11-1987) as a result of a conspiracy between the feudal class and the priests (Brahmins). The latter, with their ideological and religious hold over the peasants and craftsmen, devised a means that gave prostitution a religious sanction. Poor, low-caste girls, initially sold at private auctions, were later dedicated to the temples. They were then initiated into prostitution.
According to the famous Indian scholar Jogan Shankar, following reasons played a major role in supplanting the system with firm roots:

1. As a substitute for human sacrifice, being and offering to the gods and goddesses to appease and secure blessings for the community as a whole;

2. As a rite to ensure the fertility of the land and the increase of human being and animal population;

3. As a part of phallic worship which existed in India from early Dravidian times;

4. Probably sacred prostitution sprang from the custom of providing sexual hospitality for strangers;

5. Licentious worship offered by a people, subservient to a degraded and vested interests of the priestly class; and

6. To create a custom in order to exploit lower caste people in India by the upper castes and classes.

On the basis of historical studies and research one can see the way this ‘sacred prostitution’ established itself and grew to become a part of Indian society. Vasant Rajas, ‘Devadasi: Shodha ani bodha’, (Marathi), Sugava Prakashan, Pune, 1997, mentions of an inscription of 1004 A.D., in Tanjor temple mentioning the numbers of Devadasies as 400 in Tanjor temple, 450 in Brahideswara temple and 500 in Sorti Somnath temple. According to Chau Ju-Kua, ‘Gujarat contained 4000 temples in which lived over 20,000 dancing girls whose function was to sing twice daily while offering food to the deities and while presenting flowers.’ Eminent Indian historians like R.C Mazumder and U.N Ghoshal have corroborated these facts. They have acknowledged a ‘high proportion’ in the number of the Devadasies in the temples during the medieval period.

Sadly, due to continuation of the factors responsible for the birth of this system, the tradition has maintained itself over the centuries. It is found in all parts of India, but was more prevalent in the south. In some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka it is still prevalent and has become a source of exploitation of lower castes (5).

Dalit Devadasies
It is interesting to note that the untouchables belong to the Dalit community and are lower caste Hindus, though, otherwise are not allowed to drink water from the same well as the rest of the higher caste people of the village. They cannot eat from the same plate or sit in the same place as upper caste people.  They work  mostly as night-soil cleaners.
When it comes to sex they are not only ‘touchable’ but are actually forced into sex by the higher caste Hindus and practices such as the Devadasi system are invented to facilitate and perpetuate their exploitation.
It is these powerful sections of the society, who control not only the economic and social activates but also the minds of the poor villagers that pose the biggest impediment to elimination of this evil. There is a crying need for a more comprehensive legislation to emancipate these vulnerable girls (2).
A word about Untouchables or Dalits

Caste permeates every pore of Indian society in hidden and insidious ways. It is so complex that few Indians understand it completely, although it is present in our lives in subtle and not-so subtle ways. Even though the caste hierarchy is a Hindu construct, conversion does not always help: Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Muslims often still cling to their caste identities when searching for marriage partners.

Many sociologists believe the caste system in India originated as a way of dividing labour and as a method of exercising social control for maintaining order. Its power – and almost absolute acceptance – stems from the fact that caste derives religious sanction for India’s majority from the 4,000-year-old Manu Sashtra or the Laws of Manu. According to this, society was divided into four broad social orders, or varnas, at the head were the Brahmins, a priestly class, who are the most pure. From the arms came the Kshatriyas, the warriors and rulers. From the lower limbs were born the Vaishyas, the traders. And from the feet the Sudras, the lowest caste, destined to serve the other three.

‘Untouchables’ were considered so impure and polluting that they were not even included in the system by Manu. This translated into their complete exclusion from society. Their hamlets were outside the village, and they could not even talk to or walk on the same path as the other castes, much less touch them. When the British ruled in India, they left this caste distinctions alone to avoid unrest. In some ways they even reinforced it, finding Brahmins useful as clerks and administrators who served the British Empire faithfully. Today, in India, the Untouchables call themselves ‘Dalits’, which means ‘Broken People or the Down-trodden people’. There are almost 180 million dalits in India alone and at least another 60 million around the world who face caste discrimination of various kinds. (6)
Perpetuation of Devadasi System

Traditional empires being despotic restricted trade to the palaces and temples, forbidding the common masses from trading or traveling. Only priests, the royalty and certain privileged merchants (who were closely regulated) traded and traveled. And one lucrative trade that the priests and princes often monopolized was the oldest and most despotic of all, prostitution.

Doubtless the girls were seduced by a theology of mysticism, just as the widows who, as suttees, threw themselves on their dead husbands’ funeral pyres believed they were attaining spiritual purity, but the sexual economics of female exploitation provide a candid explanation of what was happening. (7)

Legends to support Devadasi system

To keep the Bahujans and Dalits under control, stories were manufactured and incorporated in various Mahatmyas in the Puranas. There are three important legends, we should know about. It may be useful to know these traditional stories told by Brahmins and believed to be true by the sufferers themselves. Vasant Rajas, "Devadasi: Shodha ani Bodha", (Marathi), Sugava Prakashan, Pune, 1997, has given the account of various legends in Puranas concerning this practice.

Legend of Renuka or Yallamma

According to this legend, Renuka appeared from the fire pit of 'Putra Kameshti' Yadnya performed by a Kshatriya king Renukeswara. She was married to Rishi Jamdagni. The couple had five sons including Parasurama. One morning she was late in coming home from the river as she was sexually aroused by watching the love play in river, of a Gandarva raja with his queens. This enraged Jamdagni who ordered his sons to kill her. All other sons refused and were burned to ashes by the Rishi's curse, but Parsurama beheaded her. The Rishi gave him three boons. By first, Parshurama asked to bring back to life his four brothers. By second he wanted his mother to be made alive. But her head was not available. So Parshurama cut the head of a woman from 'Matang' caste, and Jamdagni revived his wife with Matangi's head. By third he wished to be free from the sin of matricide. But Renuka was cursed by Jamdagni to have leprosy and was banished from the hermitage. However, some ‘Eknatha’, 'Jognatha' Sadhus in the forest cured her. She returned back to Jamdagni who pardoned her and blessed her that she will attain great fame in Kaliyuga

Temple of Renuka was built in 13th century in Soundati hills. The Jains believe that Renuka is their 'Padmawati'. For centuries, the devotees of Renuka, who are mostly Dalits and Bahujans, assemble there twice a year on Magha and Chaitra full moon days for pilgrimage and offer their daughters to make them Devadasies.

B. S. Kamble from Sangali dist. mentions the influence of the blind faith over Dalits to an extent that a backward class member of legislature had established a shrine of Renuka image in Bombay Mantralaya ["Sugawa", Marathi journal, Ambedkar prerana issue, December 1998, p. 51]

Legend of Renukamba

There is a temple of Renukaamba, built in 14th century, at the top of Chandragutti hill in Shimoga district in Karnataka. The gullible masses from Dalit and Bahujan communities are made to believe that Renukaamba Devi is the incarnation of Renuka or Yallamma of Saundatti. The specialty of this temple is that Dalit women must go naked to worship this Devi. It is called 'Betale Seva' or 'Nagna Puja' i.e. naked worship.

A legend in the Purana says that if the girls go naked and pray to the Devi they get good husbands and married women get all their wishes fulfilled, the childless women get children, and that those Shudra women and girls who do not follow these traditions meet with a lot of calamities.

The chief Minister of Karnataka had to appoint a committee to investigate whether "Nagna-puja" has any religious sanction of Hindu Sastras. The report was submitted in 1988 and states that there is no such sanction in Hinduism. In 1992 a ban was imposed on "Nagna-puja". There was a hue and cry raised against it, but since then it has stopped.

Legend of Khandoba
Devadsi Temple to Lord Khandoba in Jejuri, Maharashtra

The third deity of Devadasies is Khandoba of Jejuri, although there are eleven 'pithas'. It is the 'kul-daivat' of dalits, though many others worship him including some Muslim devotees, who presumably were dalits, and worshipped this deity before their conversion to Islam. Even robbers would attend the annual fair and finalize their plans there. They were, presumably, of ex-criminal tribes, which was a part of the Dalit community. Brahmins have homologized this deity and made out stories that Shankara took this form of Martanda, to protect the Brahmins from the Asuras.

People offer their sons and daughters to this deity. The terms used are Waghya for male and Murali for female. It is a form of Devadasi. Murali, whose token marriage is performed with Khandoba, remains unmarried throughout her life and leads a life same as the Devadasi of Yellama. After Ambedkarite awakening in the Matang society, who forms the majority of Murlis, this practice has declined albeit not completely stopped.

Jogam Shankar gives more details:

'Muralis' are girls dedicated to god Khandoba in their infancy or early childhood by their parents. "Poor deluded women promise to sacrifice their first born daughters if Khandoba will make them mothers of many children. Then after the vow the first-born girl is offered to Khandoba and set apart for him by tying a necklace of seven cowries around the little girl's neck. When she becomes of marriageable age, she is formally married to Khandoba or dagger of Khandoba and becomes his nominal wife. Henceforth she is forbidden to become the wedded wife of any man, and the result is that she usually leads an infamous life earning a livelihood by sin. Some of these girls become wandering muralis. Others become ordinary public women in any town or city, while a few are said to live for years with one man.

The parents of such girls do not feel ashamed to take her earnings, because they belong to Khandoba, and what they do is not considered a sin in the eyes of his devotees. Kunbis, Mahars, Mangs and other low castes make Muralis of their daughters in this fashion" (Fuller: 1900: 103). High caste people of the region also worship Khandoba but their mode of expressing reverence to the god differs. Thus "Not a few high caste people visit Jejuri to pay their vows; but they never give their own girls to Khandoba but buy children from low-caste parents for a small sum of money, which is not a difficult thing to do and offer them instead of their own children". (Fuller, Marcus B., "The wrongs of Indian Womanhood", Edinburgh:Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, 1900). [Jogan Shankar, p. 50](4)

Devadasi: A pan-Indian practice

 The Devadasi system is not just concentrated in one part or region of India - it can be found all over India, in Goa, Asam, and Orissa apart from above mentioned south Indian states.
The famous Lord Jagannath Temple in Orissa has been associated with the Devadasi system for several hundreds of years. In Orissa, the history of the Devadasi system can be traced back to the 6th and 7th century during the reign of Sailadbhawa dynasty. The queen Kalawati had employed many Devadasies for serving the Lord Jagannath. There was a time where devoting oneself in the temple was considered to be highly prestigious. At that time, girls from even rich, aristocratic families were also offered.

According to tradition, a Devadasi is a woman married to a god, and thus Sadasuhagan -- at all times married and hence at all times blessed. In reality, she becomes the wife of the powerful in the community.  At that time the Devadasies had to maintain strict discipline. They were considered a personal possession of the temple and were not allowed to mingle with the rest of the people. They were not allowed to keep in touch with men.
It is probably during this period that the ancient classical temple dance forms like Odissi (Jagannath Temple Orissa), Kutchipudi (Andhra Pradesh) and Bharatnattiyam (Tamilnadu) developed and flourished to reach their zenith. However, in the course of time discipline declined and the Devadasies came to be viewed as objects of desire by the rulers and the priests. (8)
Branding of Deavadasis
We have the valuable testimony of Al-Biruni to the effect that the kings maintained this institution for the benefit of their revenues in the teeth of the opposition of the Brahmana priests. But for the kings, he says, no Brahmana or priest would allow in their temples women who sing, dance and play. The kings, however, make them a source of attraction to their subjects so that they may meet the expenditure of their armies out of the revenues derived there from.

The truth is that Brahmins and kings used to fight for the possession of these girls. Ultimately the conflict was resolved by an understanding and Devadasies were branded on their chest with emblems of 'Garuda' (eagle) and 'Chakra' (discus) for kings and 'Shankha' (conch) for Brahmins; Branded just like animals, slaves or Jew women in Auschwitz. (4)

Modern Devadasi: A giant step backwards

It was only as late as 1975 when awareness of this deplorable act came to the fore. Around five hundred women gathered in Kohlapur to discuss and find solutions to this problem. In 1985, a conference was held at Nipani which gave strength to the voice demanding the abolition of the Devadasi system. Gradually the demand to end this practice increased and compelled the Karnataka government to pass an act banning the Devadasi system. Some of the provisions in the Karnataka Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act of 1982 are:

*Anyone found guilty in helping a girl to become a Devadasi or even attending the ceremony is liable to get 3 years prison term and would be fined upto maximum Rs 2000/-
*Parents and relatives would be fined upto maximum Rs 5000/- if they are found guilty encouraging the girl to be dedicated

But these are just few of the preventive measures. At times the arm of law falls woefully short in protecting the unsuspecting girls. As a result, the Devadasi tradition is still prevalent in many parts of India and, according to Farida Lambey, vice-principal of the Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, it continues to "legitimize" child prostitution. In some Nat communities in Rajasthan, many families openly usher their young daughters into prostitution, insisting that it is part of the community’s tradition.

But as Ms Shubhadra Butalia of Karmika says “The Devadasi system is a form of open prostitution. Poor people dedicate their daughters to the system in the name of appeasing the gods.” But how many more girls will be sacrificed for the sake of appeasing the gods. (8)

Muralis and Waghayas of Jejuri

Keep your hands off Khandoba woman
Your Lecher
Show me your money first
-- Arun Kolatkar in Jejuri
The government of Maharashtra finally woke up to this fact in 2004 and appointed a study committee to take stock of the Devadasi system in Maharashta. Based on the committee's recommendations, the Maharashtra government recently passed the Anti-Devadasi Bill to

‘provide for a comprehensive law to abolish the practice of dedication of women as Devadasies to Hindu deities, idols, objects of worship, temples for religious institutions and to protect the women so dedicated against exploitation’.

The Bill will abolish the Devadasi system and penalize the perpetrators of this crime with a fine of Rs 10,000-50,000 besides rehabilitating Devadasies through alternate employment and homes. There is also a provision for the formation of district and state-level Devadasi control groups, consisting of persons from civil society organizations. These groups will have the power to make recommendations to the government towards abolishing the Devadasi system.

According to Minister of Women and Child Welfare Harshavardhan Patil, ‘We found that despite the 1934 Devadasi Security Act, the tradition is still prevalent...Therefore, we have passed a more stringent Bill, which will soon come into force.’ However, the government is yet to give a firm commitment on exactly when the Act will come into force.

Dr Neelam Gorhe, an MLA who has worked closely with Devadasies through her NGO, the Stree Adhar Kendra, is skeptical:

‘the state government's intention might be good but it does not have any specific measures for eradication and rehabilitation. It has not even found out just how many Devadasies there are in the state; so how are they going to go about the rehabilitation? Without specific numbers, what kind of funds will they allocate?’

According to Gorhe, in the south Maharashtra districts of Kolhapur and Sangli alone, they’re at least 200 Devadasies, who live in poverty and have taken to prostitution in the name of God.

Devadasi system perpetrators in Jejuri, Maharashtra
There are no exclusive remand homes for Devadasies in the state. When they are rescued, they are placed in general remand homes, where they are taken care of until they turn 18. The older women are generally given vocational training. They usually find employment in cottage industries or as domestic help after this.

In Jejuri - a small temple shrine on a hill made famous by poet Arun Kolatkar's collection of poems 'Jejuri' - Devadasies are known as Muralis. Here, as mentioned earlier, there are also the male counterparts of the Devadasies, known as 'Waghyas' - dedicated to a lifetime of service to Lord Khandoba when they were still little boys. Often, a Waghya shelters a Murali, and many form relationships. The result of this is that several Muralis give birth to children, which further stigmatizes these women and girls because they are expected to remain faithful to God.

A visit to Jejuri gives an insight into how the Devadasi system works. Today, there are about seven groups of Muralis and Waghyas living in Jejuri. Most of them live in shanties around the temple, often in groups of two or three. They spend most of their days in the temple premises, retiring to their homes only to sleep. A majority of them are middle-aged, poor, and express anguish that their 'pure calling' has been tarnished. Says Ratnamala Jadhav, now in her 50s, who has been a Murali ever since she can remember, ‘We earn about Rs 3,000 a month through dance performances on auspicious occasions.’ Their status as servants of the Lord also makes rehabilitation difficult.

An eight-year-old Murali is living in a remand home in Pune after she was rescued from Jejuri last year. Locals say that when she was just a few months old, she was found under a bamboo basket in one of the corners of the temple, with a garland around her neck, turmeric on her forehead, and her hands and legs tied with a rope. Members of a local labour organization took her into their custody, but because the child was 'offered' to Lord Khandoba already, they did not dare bring her up in any other way. A 60-year-old woman living near the temple voluntarily offered to look after her. However, since last year, she began harassing the little girl, by forcing her to beg and goading her to encourage male attention.

A local journalist got to know her story and sought the intervention of advocate Varsha Madgulkar, a local social activist. Both of them whisked the girl away from the clutches of her foster mother and registered a police complaint. The journalist, Vijaykumar Harishchandre, says,

"Even the police were hesitant to initiate any action because she was a 'Murali' and they feared the wrath of Lord Khandoba. However, with the intervention of the officers of the Women and Child Welfare Department, she was finally rehabilitated in a remand home in Pune."

The entire exercise took one month. Comments Madgulkar, "Due to superstition and in the name of religion, hundreds of such innocent girls lead a hellish life."(9)

The Plight of Joginis
Anjamma’s Story

Anjamma is a Jogini
‘My mother died when I was three. When I was seven, my brother got polio and was paralyzed. My father had to take out a loan and I went to work rolling bidis (cigarettes) to help pay it back. But it was not enough and the landlord to whom my father owed the money said that he should send me to be dedicated to the goddess to earn more money. I didn’t want to go. I felt very bad. My father said: ‘If you don’t obey me, I will die.’ So I went to the temple. All my relatives came. I had a new sari and many jasmine garlands. The priest called a man to tie the wedding tali [necklace] around my neck. The man was Rangasamy and he was 25 years old. I was eight.
Three times a year we Joginis used to go to the temple for important festivals. Everyone worshipped us and treated us well. We danced and went into a trance. Everyone fell at our feet and called us goddess. On those days we became very important. The rest of the time they made fun of us.

When I was 12, I came of age (puberty). Rangasamy kept coming and telling me: ‘I tied tali on you, why don’t you sleep with me?’ I said no. But everyone in the village said: ‘Child, you are a Jogini. It is your duty. You have to sleep with him.’

He had a wife and two kids. He gave me money and rice. After one year I had a child, a baby boy. Soon after that, he abandoned me. I went to Bombay for construction work to support my child. When I returned to the village another fellow called Raghav was very nice to me. He said to my father: ‘I will protect her.’ He also had kids. I became pregnant again and had a girl. But he left me after six years.

I joined the ‘Joginis’ organization. I decided to fight the system. To prevent my sisters from suffering like me. I go to temples now and stop the Jogini dedication. People said: ‘After sleeping with so many men, what’s your problem?’ The upper caste men started saying we spread AIDS. I said: ‘You sons of bitches, motherfuckers, bastards, go tell that to your wives and mothers. I’ll get the government to do DNA tests on all Jogini kids and you can take them. I’ll take the Joginis away and look after them. I’ll expose each of you who sleep with us and then abuse us.’ Yes. They’ll shut their mouths and run when they see me now.’ Interview by Mari Marcel Thekaekara. (6)



‘Since the day of the initiation, I have not lived with dignity. I became available for all the men who inhabited Karni. They would ask me for sexual favors and I, as a Jogini, was expected to please them. My trauma began even when I had not attained puberty.’ (Testimony of a 35-year-old former Jogini named Ashama)
The Devadasies, spread all over India, lead intolerable lives. They have been quenching the thirst of millions of upper caster Indian males lusts. Since the inception of this deplorable system, the Joginis have been subjected to merciless subjugation and injustice (10).

Many of these women were tiny girls when they became Devadasies, "dedicated" to the sect by poverty-stricken parents unable to pay their future dowries and hopeful that a pleased goddess would make the next pregnancy a boy. Tradition has for centuries locked Devadasies into a proscribed and highly stigmatized social role. Forbidden to marry or work outside the temple, they have spent their lives tending the shrines and decorating altars, singing and dancing, telling devotional stories and collecting coins from worshippers to support themselves and their religious work.

They continue to face discrimination and indignities on the basis of caste, remain politically powerless and suffer from acute poverty, oppression and exploitation. They run high chances of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. Although in independent India, many steps have been taken to prevent the system and rehabilitate the Devadasies, they are not enough to improve the situation as the root cause of poverty continues to push young girl to the roads of ‘sacred prostitution’. (10)

I would like to conclude with my poem Devadasi’s Saga on the plight of these Devadasi, wherein I have tried to empathize with these exploited women.

Devadasi’s Saga

I could hear the temple bell
Ringing in my ears,
The day I was born
To an unwedded mother, or rather
My mother was “married” to the temple!
The Temple was not my father!
I could hear the temple bells
Ringing in my ears…

I could hear the temple walls,
Heaving sighs in the dead of night,
Sighs of satisfaction…
I could hear my mother’s sobs,
Intermingle with the sighs,
Sighs of dissatisfaction…
As I slept on the cold-rough stone,
My cradle in the darkest chamber,
Where light hardly ever entered,
I missed a father’s loving touch,
When I asked my mother,
She said:
The temple was my father!

Then one day, through the
Half shut doors, I saw:
The priest heaving and hawing,
Full of sweat…
The pained surprise in my mother’ eyes,
(On being so exposed),
Silently beseeching me
With helpless tearful eyes:
“Go away! You’re still too young!”

But one day, I grew up!

I felt the “touch”,
A creeping crawling, lustful touch,
The expression in the priest’s eyes,
Matched the touch,
As he held me in his clutch…
Nausea welled up in my throat:
It was not a father’s touch,
I could feel it in my innocent bones…

Then Another, and Another…

Now, I am “My Mother”…

Like her, I do not know,
The father of the baby in my womb…

Like my mother, I am going to
Tell, my daughter:
“Temple is your father!”

This has gone on for centuries,
And still goes on…
This will go on forever…

I am the Devadasi of the Temple…
Temples may crumble…
I will go on

Author and Copyright©: Zoya Zaidi
Aligarh (UP), India


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Photo Sources

Jejuri is a small town near Pune famous for the temple of Lord Khandoba. Devadasi (देवदासी) originally described a Hindu religious practice in which girls were "married" and dedicated to a deity (deva or devi). In addition to taking care of the temple and performing rituals, they learned and practiced Bharatanatyam and other classical Indian arts traditions and enjoyed a high social status. In recent times they have been associated with Prostitution. The definition has gone over a transformation in the past few centuries with changes in social, economic and political ideologies. As they lost their patronage, these women had no means to support themselves and had to move towards prostitution for earning a living. Many states in India have made it illegal for women to be offered as servants of god but the customs still continue. It requires a concentrated effort on the part of the government to rehabilitate these women and put stringent efforts to curb from more lives being destroyed.