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History - Women Poets In The Bhakti Movement - Important Topic For UPSC Exam

Updated on 22 March 2021
UPSC & State PSC
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Updated on 22 March 2021

One thing is confirmed that every student who is targeting UPSC Exam he/she needs to pull up his/her socks because they do now have much time left, well this time we are going to discuss a major topic from History which is WOMEN POETS IN THE BHAKTI MOVEMENT, and as we mentioned earlier History is very much important for UPSC Exam

The Bhakti movement arose in the south and then travelled to the north. There was a great religious revival in every part of South India by the 7th century with the intention of eradicating the influence of popular creeds of Buddhism and Jainism on one hand and to popularize the new mode of salvation against the monopoly of Brahmins

People shifted to the devotion and use of regional languages to spread the message of God. It was believed that these aspects were accessible to all and could be used even by those low in status and the unlearned to gain salvation.

All that one needed was to believe in god and seek refuge in him, worship him and gain relief. Religion came closer to the masses to this new concept of Bhakti. They rejected Sanskrit believed that it was the language of the elite and could not connect with people. 


They regarded women as a barrier to the path of salvation. The Bhaktas felt that both gold and women as they signify desire and worldly possession had to be shunned to achieve the path of ultimate salvation.

Many of these women had to struggle for acceptance in the largely male dominated movement. Some women Bhaktas were instead householders. Women poet saints also played an important role in the movement.

Women were accepted and acknowledged by demonstrating their utter devotion to the divine, their outstanding poetry and stubborn insistence of their spiritual equality 

Women Bhaktas wrote of their struggle at home, absent husband, family tensions, restrictions on married life etc. Women also rejected traditional women's roles and societal norms by leaving their husbands and homes and becoming wandering Bhaktas. 


Women wrote beautiful poetry that has been passed on throughout India. Some of them are: 

Akkamahadevi also known as Akka or Mahadevi was a devotee of Shiva in the 12th century CE and was a bhakta from the southern region of Karnataka.

Her poetry speaks of her frustration with societal norms and the roles that restricted her. They also witness her love for Shiva whom she addressed as Channamallikarjuna

Janabai was born in a low caste shudra family in the 13th century. She was sent to work in the upper- caste family of Namdev, one of the most famous bhakti saints. She wrote over 300 poems. All her poems focused on domestic chores and the restrictions she faced as a low- caste woman. 

Mirabai or Mira was born into a ruling Rajput family. Mirabai’s poetry is about her love for Lord Krishna since her childhood and considered herself as his bride. Despite her wishes, she was married into another princely family at a young age yet her love and devotion for Lord Krishna continued. Mirabai left her husband and family and went on a pilgrimage to various places associated with her Lord including 

Brindavan, Krishna’s holy city. Her poetry’s portray her relationship with Krishna in which she is a devoted bride to Krishna and he is ardent in his pursuit of Mira

Bahinabai’s writings were mostly autobiographical including her childhood, puberty and married life. Despite the conflicts with her husband over her love for Lord Vithoba, another name for Krishna she took her role as wife and her responsibilities towards her husband seriously. 

Sahajo Bai 

It is generally agreed that she was born in 1683 and died in 1765. In many of her versus she describes the hard work that she goes through grinding corn, carrying water, sweeping and digging. Sahajo’s versus are collected in Sahaj Prakash, the major text of the Chandradas sect. 

Women Poets of the Bhakti Movement is an important topic according to UPSC Exam schedule. The notification will be out on 12th February. Keep yourself aware in case of any changes. 

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