Sati and Widowhood in Hinduism

Hinduism is an ancient religion, rich in philosophy. However down the centuries certain nefarious practices crept into Hinduism that in a way debased the religion. One of these practices was sati where a widow is was burnt alive on the funeral pyre of her dead husband. She was then cremated along with his corpse. A widow who burns herself to death this way is called sati. The guiding force to motivate Hindus to practice sati is 새티스파이어 the instructions given in the Hindu scriptures. Which state

“It is proper for a woman, after her husband’s death to burn her in the fire with his copse; every woman who thus burns herself shall remain in paradise with her husband 35,000,000 years by destiny.”

The origin of this injunction is obscure and it is possible it was added later by some unscruplous elements.

The only Indian ruler who enacted against sati was the much maligned Aurangzeb who by a Firman (edict) of 1664 forbade sati and made it punishable by death. After the death of Aurangzeb this practice surfaced again and it was not till Regulation XVII of 1829 that rite of sati was formerly abolished and made punishable as ‘culpable homicide for which a death sentence could be awarded. The orthodox Hindus protested and appealed against this regulation and the case went up to the Privy Council in England. Thankfully the Privy Council dismissed the appeal and a practice that had been in vogue for 2000 years was stopped.

 

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