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Sati Widow Burning Still Going On

Updated on June 11, 2013

Indian Women

Indian women in colorful dresses
Indian women in colorful dresses | Source

Sati Funeral Pyre


Widow's Plight from the United Nations

Hindu Wives Recent Sati Deaths

Sati is the practice in India that called for the widow to be burned on the pyre also beside her dead husband. It is also called suttee. It was seen as being an honor for her to be able to join her husband. She would then be considered pure, instead of as being not pure by society. It is supposed to have stopped now after the British stopped it.

There is still news from 2006, 2010 and later that it is going on in certain places. Sometimes the widow goes willingly and at other times she could be forced to get on the pyre by people. It is of course, done on a much smaller scale now, but it is still done sometimes. I have seen another page on the Internet arguing that it is an honor to join your husband that died and a bid toward freedom for a woman.

Women before even protested about not being able to commit Sati. They saw it as having their rights taken away. Of course, that was not all of the women. Plenty of the women were very happy to not have to follow to death in their husband's footsteps. They stated that it had been a barbaric practice. The argument is partly also that the same thing had been going on in other countries such as Egypt.

There is an article on the Internet about Hindu wives being burned in India still in the present day. At the same time, there is another website that is saying that the police are getting about 2,500 complaints a year about similar burnings being done. It could be against the woman's will or it could be with her permission.

In the article it tells about how they had convinced a widow that her life would be one of shame if she did not do it and get on the pyre to be burned. It is a wicked thing to happen but it does seem as if it is still being done. To them the widow is taking up space and it is not right that she is still there.

I had seen a movie a long time ago about the burning of widows. It was about one of the girls that had decided to do it but she changed her mind at the last minute. Then it was too late for her and they tried to make her continue with it. It was terrible. I think she was rescued in the movie. That was in the movie at least.

The law that was passed in 1987 by the Indian parliament said that it is illegal for them to practice Sati. They would face stiff fines and prison. It could be a year in prison. Unfortunately, if they are dead by the time anything is done then nothing can be done to them. They can still take their property. This was after the British put a stop to Sati much earlier.

There was a violent protest that went on in India when the police tried to stop a burning. The police had stones thrown at them. It is mainly still done in North or Central India. In recent years there was a celebration at a temple to Sati in India. Sati was a Goddess in their Hindu religion and had her own temple. It is illegal now to glorify the idea of Sati but it still went on. It went on for nine days and the police could not stop it.

Indian Women


The Origin of Sati from the Goddess Sati

Sati started out as a practice to honor the dieties. Sati is or was a Goddess that was a wife of one of the Hindu gods in India called Shiva. She had burned herself to protest her father's treatment of her husband Shiva. Sati in the story did the burning herself by having meditated within herself to set herself on fire as a protest against her father. She did it to protest her love for her husband. It was considered a holy thing to have done.

Sati Pictures

Suttee | Source
A view from the Sati temple
A view from the Sati temple | Source


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      female-traveller 4 years ago

      Thank you for such an informative article. As I live in India, I know sati is still taking place. But you enlightened me about the origins of sati which had nothing to do with having shame by not burning together with the husband. Wow, what an origin, which developed in evil ways in this Indian patriarchal society.

      I actually discussed sati with my Spanish friend in India who's married to an Indian guy. She told that she thinks some wives willingly throw themselves into flames because being a widow would be worse than death. The most horrific thing, of course, is when relatives burn the new widows.

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