The life of a woman is hard–very hard. Society is very patriarchal and remains so even today.
But, while western society has been progressing toward equal treatment and consideration of females, many more women in other societies are not so luckily held in good consideration. They are given second class status at best and third class or no class status at all. Many can’t hold property, drive or leave their homes alone. They are segregated and told it’s for their own good. Many more women are viewed as properties at best and burdens at worse. So, I am starting a new series. Each week I will delve into a major affliction facing females around the world.
In India, the Laws of Manu, compiled around 200 CE declared that a Hindu widow was to remain sati, a Sanskrit word that was interpreted to mean chaste or pure, and was not to remarry, while a Hindu widower was permitted to marry again. Sati or Suttee is derived from the name of the goddess Sati,who’s also known as Dakshayani, who self-immolated after being unable to bear her father’s humiliation of her (living) husband Shiva. The term also refers to widows in general.
Sadly, sati is also a funeral practice among some Hindu communities in India during which a recently widowed woman would either voluntarily or by force or coercion immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.
Though outlawed in India, the archaic and cruel tradition is very much in practice.
The most high-profile sati incident was in Rajasthan in 1987 when 18-year-old Roop Kanwar was burned to death.
The case sparked national and international outrage.
Police charged Roop Kanwar’s father-in-law and brother-in-law with forcing her to sit on the pyre with her husband’s body, but the two men were acquitted by an Indian court in October 1996.