Born in France and raised in New York, Catherine Rubin Kermorgant studied Classics at Brown University and Anthropology at the London School of Economics. After working in film and television for a number of years, she began to research and write her own documentary films. One of her films, funded by the BBC and Canal Plus, led her to south India, where she spent several months learning about devadasis.
Catherine Rubin Kermorgant lives in Paris with her family.
Servants of the Goddess weaves together the heartbreaking, yet paradoxically life-affirming stories of five devadasis—women, in the clutches of an ancient fertility cult, forced to serve the gods. Catherine Rubin Kermorgant sets out attempting to make a documentary film about the lives of present-day devadasis. Through her, we meet and get to know the devadasi women of Kalyana, a remote village in Karnataka. As they grow to trust Kermorgant and welcome her as an honorary sister, we hear their stories in their own words: stories of oppression, discrimination, violence and, most importantly, resilience. Kermorgant becomes a part of these stories and finds herself unwittingly enmeshed in a world of gender and caste bias which extends far beyond Kalyana—all the way to Paris, where the documentary is to be edited and produced. Servants of the Goddess is a testament to women’s strength and spirit, and a remarkably astute analysis of gender and caste relations in today’s rural India.