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The book propagates the abolition of the devadasi system and seeks to reclaim youth from the temptations and immorality of the dasi. And yet in the very process of articulating the demand, the novel uncovers different layers of resistance and acquiescence to this demand. It is the story of lived lives, of political aspirations, of wealth, and of love in it several forms (maternal, paternal, conjugal, fraternal, sororal, erotic, for instance), of sexual desire - female or male. It documents the shift from one historical epoch to another using the space of the story to map these changes.
Born in 1883 in a traditional devadasi family in Muvalur village of Thanjavur district, Ramamirthammal began her political career in the Congress, and went on to become an active Self Respecter and a passionate abolitionist. While supporting Muthulakshmi Reddi's measures for legal reform, she struck a clearly different note in her articulation of the root cause of the system, locating herself firmly within the ideology of the Self Respect Movement.;[
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