SCARY!! Did You Know There Was A Time In Sati, India Where Widows Where Burned Alive On Their Husband’s Funeral Pyre? See Why!!
Sept. 25, 2020
Sati is another strange and odd cultural practice in India. It is in fact a Violation of Women’s Rights because, in this custom, a widow is burned alive on her husband’s funeral pyre.
She has to follow it in order to show her love and loyalty to her husband. In today’s age of feminism, it is against humanity to force a woman to commit suicide to show her devotion and loyalty.
Fortunately, this custom is now banned by the Indian government, but still, some cases are reported every year. “Sati” originally meant a woman who performed the act of immolating herself after her husband’s death. The word is derived from the Sanskrit word “asti’, which means “She is pure or true”.
In mythological terms, Sati was the name of the wife of Lord Shiva. Her father never respected Shiva and often despised him. To protest against the hatred that her father held for her husband, she burned herself.
While she was burning, she prayed to be reborn as Shiva’s wife again. This did happen, and her new incarnation was called Parvati. People used to justify the practice based on this tale, but when Sati burned herself, she wasn’t a window, and thus the practice is quite unrelated to this tale.
According to ancient Hindu customs, sati symbolized closure to a marriage. It was a voluntary act in which, as a sign of being a dutiful wife, a woman followed her husband to the afterlife.
It was, therefore, considered to be the greatest form of devotion of a wife towards her dead husband. With time, it became a forced practice.
Women who did not wish to die like this were forced to do so in different ways. Traditionally, a widow had no role to play in society and was considered a burden.
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So, if a woman had no surviving children who could support her, she was pressurized to accept sati. Historical records tell us that sati first appeared between 320CE to 550CE, during the rule of the Gupta Empire. Incidents of sati were first recorded in Nepal in 464CE, and later on in Madhya Pradesh in 510CE.
The practice then spread to Rajasthan, where the most numbers of sati cases happened over the centuries. Initially, the practice of Sati was confined to royal families of the Kshatriya caste and only later spread to the lower castes, becoming widely practiced among all social classes.
Sati was at its peak between the 15th and 18th centuries. During this period, as many as 1000 widows were burned alive every year, most commonly in India and Nepal.
However, records show that the practice was also popular in other traditions and in countries like Russia, Fiji, and Vietnam. In 1987, in the village of Deorala in Rajasthan, an 18-year-old married woman named Roop Kanwar was forced to become sati when her husband died after eight months of marriage.
She refused. Consequently, a group of men from the village forcefully drugged and immolated her. Police investigated the case and those men were arrested.
In light of this incident, the government created the Prevention of Sati Act, making it illegal to force or encourage a woman to commit Sati, and anyone doing so would be punished by death. And yet, some widows still choose to become sati at least four such cases were recorded between 2000 and 2015.