According to a new book by one of the most famous priests in India, the women priests of the medieval Buddhist monastery at Bajapati had to suffer terribly during their long confinement.
The book, The Vikings Priest, by Bhagwan Bajaj, was released last month and it explores how the nuns were treated in their early years.
Bajaj says the nuns had to be brought to their families for prayers in the morning and after prayers at night.
In order to ensure that no-one could see them in the middle of the night, they were tied up and given the worst of conditions.
The nuns would be confined for up to three months, with no food or water, and in order to survive they had to spend long hours at a desk or desk chair in a room with other women who were forced to wear a similar kind of confinement dress.
According to Bajab, the nuns lived in a sort of fortress.
“In the winter months, the nunnery was closed to outsiders and the women had to live in the courtyard of the monastery, under a dome.
This meant that their living space was restricted to only a few rooms and the nuns would have to stay inside the convent for up for three months.
The women would have no privacy, no time to study, no chance to think and pray.
If they wanted to leave, they had no option but to be driven to a certain place in the convent where they could be locked up.
And the nuns in their time had to endure a very hard time in order for them to get out,” Bajaji told The Hindu.
Baglayan, the author, says this confinement was cruel.
“It was a very cruel way of life.
They were very isolated, isolated in the monasteries and in the house of their families.
It was not a normal life.
And they lived under conditions that were cruel and inhuman,” she said.”
If they didn’t want to work, they could not go outside and they had very few privileges.
They had no time.
And if they tried to get outside, they would be shot, beaten up and humiliated.”
According to the book, the sisters were not allowed to exercise, go to the market or visit their neighbors.
They also had to remain in their own quarters, which were small, dingy and poorly lit.
“There was no room to move, so they lived in the monastery and were confined in a very small space,” said Baglayan.
“And the nuns felt that this was not right.”
The women were kept in this claustrophobic and very poor conditions.
“Even though the women were very beautiful, they did not feel good in their clothes,” said Bajaja.
The book also details how the women’s life changed after the arrival of the British.
“When they arrived in the colony, the monks had just been given the title of vikas, or a monk of the royal family.
So they did what they were told to do,” said the author.
“They were brought to the palace and they were sent to the royal quarters.
But then the royal brothers decided to make them nuns, and they became nuns and became like the royal families.
And when they left the monastery they were not able to take care of their children.”
According a Buddhist tradition, the title “vikas” was given to the nuns when they arrived at the monastery.
Bajja says that the women felt ashamed to be called vikans, and their entire life changed.
“The nuns did not want to be nuns because they had been sent to a monastery that was not normal.
So what the women wanted was to be taken out of the convent and given a normal name and then to be able to be with their children,” said Bhagwani.
In 1882, the English colonial government granted the nuns asylum in England.
“So the nuns got married to English men, but they had not married them because they thought that their life would be normal in England, and so they left England.
But they did have a son.
And it was the boy who was the first English child born to the sisters,” said Berhana.
According the book’s author, Bajas life in England changed after they came to England.
“One day when they were being transferred from the convent to the house in which they were living, the young boy who had been born to them in England and was now living with his father was very ill and was dying.
And his mother was so worried that she asked the monks for help and they told her that they would do everything for her son,” she recalled.
“But they also asked her not to let him live alone because that was what the monks told her.
So the monks did not allow him to live alone and instead took him to a nunnery in England to help him and she helped him to learn English and English-like