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Documentary on Hindu Women Priest in Pune

Hindu women performing religious rituals – like is slowly finding acceptance in many major cities in India – a city in India that is in the forefront of training women priests is Pune in Maharashtra. A documentary is being planned on the success of women priest in Pune – who perform all kinds of puja, Ganesh Chaturthi puja, marriage rituals and funeral rites. The documentary is directed by Suhasini Mulay, national award-winning actress and director. 
Mid Day reports
 'Back to the Vedas', is the resonant mantra among religious organisations in Pune, who are training women to become priests. The Vedas propagates gender equality and encourages women to learn Sanskrit shlokas. 
 Arya Joshi, course coordinator at Dnyana Prabodhini, said so far they had trained over 1,000 women priests since 1990. "Housewives are keen to do the course to supplement family income. The course has become popular," she said. The city now has more women priests than other cities in the state. 
 "Pune has over 7,000 practicing women priests which is more than Mumbai and Nashik," said Suhasini Mulay, national award-winning actress and director. Mulay is in the city to make a documentary on women priests. 
 People generally prefer male priests, but they chant the mantras without explaining the meaning to the host. Women who perform the rituals according to the Dnyana Prabhodhini style explain the meaning in simple Marathi, Hindi and even in English.

The mindset of the people has changed and they have started accepting women as priests. "Women perform the rituals in detail. They are more homely than the male priests and therefore their popularity is increasing," Joshi said. "There is still a 25 per cent opposition from the people especially from the old and traditional families in the city," she said. 
 Mama Thatte, a Hindu priest and scholar in Vedic literature, started training women to become priests in 1970.

His pioneering efforts inspired many others and they also started imparting such training privately. There are more than 25 private classes in the city where women can go and learn how to perform religious rituals.
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