ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nude Worship in Karnataka

The article revisits the debate around bettaleseve or nude worship at Chandragutti, central Karnataka that occurred in the mid-1980s. Bettaleseve is a form of worship rendered to goddess Renukamba at Chandragutti. It ran into major controversy in 1986 when the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, some women's groups and non-governmental organisations protested against the "nudity" of dalit-bahujan women who comprise the majority of worshippers. The article examines the subject produced in the protest discourse and proposes another reading of the subject through a return to the Renukamba myth that underpins and is played out during bettaleseve. It explores whether the myth can be read as a body of knowledge-practice that provides an alternate basis to articulate the dalit woman's standpoint.
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