For centuries, India has been known for its politico-religious structures, which have developed casteism and discrimination. Gender-based oppressions have been prominent features of the patriarchal culture in India – both obvious and subtle forms of gender inequity. Multiple rites, customs, traditions and protocols reflect gender discrimination, and in most cases show gender oppression. The subordination of women visible in Indian context can be referred in historic shift from matrilineal structure to bramhinical patriarchy. The body politics and allied symbolism about gender has been rooted in the deceiving collusion and integrated function of political and religious entrepreneurs.
Jata (or matted hairs) have been a symbol used by the patriarchal oppressors for a number of sexual, social and gender oppressions. Multifarious oppressions have been created by developing superstitious religious belief systems and hijacking social communication. Through fatalistic sentimentalism of irrational beliefs, progress of rational social communication has been suppressed. The existence of oppressive Devdasi and Jata tradition signifies deep-rooted psychosocial control by the oppressors.
Jata Nirmulan Abhiyaan (Matted Hair Removal Movement) has been a scientific movement rooted in rational thinking about beliefs and traditions. The collective act of removing the oppressive symbol of Jata is essential to value of human rights and gender rights. The negative social, psychological, health and development implications of matted hairs need collective attention for remedial actions. At the same time, it is essential to understand the politico-religious traditions , belief systems which rules the psyche of society to act on it
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Sudhir Kumbhar, an Indian based academician and social worker, has completed an M.A. (Sociology) and M.Ed (Educational Evaluation and Measurement). Associated with the M. N. Roy Institute for Non Formal Education and Research, he has been engaged in several movements for rational thinking and radical humanism. He is an authority on Jata Removal and environmental issues, and has delivered more than 500 speeches on various topics. Govind Dhaske is a professional social worker practitioner and researcher from India. After receiving his social work education and training from the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences, he has been engaged in development practice with various development organizations. He writes extensively on social and development issues, and has several publications to his credit. Gender, equity and rural development are his priority areas of research and action.