Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Mention about women in Bhakti movement. Contribution of women poets in Bhakti movement.
Conclusion. Way forward.

The Bhakti movement refers to the theistic devotional trend that emerged in medieval Hinduism and later revolutionised in Sikhism. It originated in the Tamil south India (now parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala), and spread northwards.

Women in Bhakti movement:

1. The contribution of women writers in different languages during that period deserves special attention. Women writers like Ghosha, Lopamudra, Gargi, Maitreyi, Apala, Romasha Brahmavadini, etc. right from the days of the Vedas, focused on the image of women in mainstream Sanskrit literature.

2. The songs of Buddhist nuns like Muttaand Ubbiriand Mettika in Pali express the torment of feelings for the life left behind.

3. The Alwar women poets, like Andal and others, gave expression to their love for the divine.

4. Lal Ded, the Muslim poetess from Kashmir Lalded & Habba Khatun, represented the sant tradition of bhakti and wrote Vakhs (maxims), which are peerless gems of spiritual experience.

5. Meera Bai, in Gujarati, Rajasthani and Hindi (she wrote in three languages), Avvayyar, in Tamil, and Akkamahadevi in Kannada, are well known for their sheer lyrical intensity and concentrated emotional appeal.

Contribution of women:

1. Their writings speak to us about the social conditions prevailing at that time, and the position of woman at home and in society. Behind their mysticism and metaphysics is a divine sadness.

2. If we examine the role of the women in the bhakti movement we can see that women exploited the religious emotion to deal with patriarchy and created an alternate space for themselves.

3. They challenged patriarchy and the mortal man to whom they were tied in a relationship of marriage by extending the definition of love to God and understanding his relation with them in terms of a lover, a wife, a mistress, a friend and a servant.

4. It is the large scale participation of women that gave the movement the character of a mass movement. Religion was the only space which was open to women in medieval times.

Through this legitimate space women could define their actions and aspirations and participate in public gatherings, visit pilgrimage places, compose their own songs and through bhakti directly reach God. In this way they sowed the seed that women could be agents of their own religious emancipation.