"Just consider how terrible the day of your death will be, others will go on
speaking and you will not be able to argue back
" - - Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
Sati is a term that creates a huge impact on the society where a widow
sacrifices their own by sitting beside her deceased husband funeral pyre. The
sati is an ancient practice and it is a part of Indian spiritual system .Sati is
a custom which was followed since Gupta Empire.
The first incident of sati
appeared from 320 CE to 550 CE. In recent times, sati has been predominately
limited to Rajasthan and also with the occurrence of sati in ganpati plain. This
article embarrasses in analysis the commission of the sati prevention act (rule
of 1988). The practice of sati is a part of Indian spiritual system. There is a
big difference between men and women because where women is capable to sacrifice
anything in our life when is required to save their family.
The sati prevention act of 1987 includes the various aspect related to the sati
which is a renouncing of their one's life .The act comprises of the preliminary
section in part 1 and part 2 it defined the punishment for offences which is
related to sati and on the other hand part 3 involving powers of collector or a
district magistrate to prevent offences and many more take place. It is also
observed that sati is a practice but it does not have any Vedic sanction. In the
tradition of Hindu sati refers to the ritual which meant a culturally sanctioned
Finally , this article will highlight the scenery of the prevention of sati act
and by this article sight to donate to a better understanding of this critical
and evolving the aspect of the human society .
Most of the scholars also are convinced by that the person who first burns
herself was a goddess sati. Sati or suttees sacrifice was another type of
Ancient Indian ritual which was prohibited in India. This sacrifice indicates
end their life either by burning the widow alive either by force or by herself
buried with her deceased husband. Devi sati is a daughter of Daksha.
behind why sati Devi sacrifice her life , it took place because her father
arranged a function where her father didn't invited his son in law , to
maintained the respect of her husband she buried herself .In order to show
respect and honor to husband idolize the concept of sati is extracted. She has
done this ceremonious suicide because she was not able to hold up her father.
Unbox The History Of Sati
The history visualize that the concept of sati is not limited within the
territory of India and the Hindus. It was a practice which was followed by the
wives and prostate of king .sati became a common part of the 13th century in
India because of the written religious texts of Hindus such as Mahabharata ,
puranas, which mentioned and talked about sati. At the time of Gupta period the
practice of sati is recorded in the state of Nepal in 464BC and after that it
was held in Madhya Pradesh in510BC, where the number of cases related to sati
happened over the centuries.
The concept of sati firstly practiced in royal families of the Kshatriya caste
and it was also practiced by lower caste because sati becoming the widely spread
practice among all social classes .The ritual of sati was at it's highlighted
between 15th and 18th centuries. Over the time, women burned alive around 1000
during the gupta period, most commonly in the state of India and Rajasthan.
Although, the records of other countries also mentioned where the practice of
sati took place such as Vietnam, Fiji, Russia.
Another version of sati is the concept of Jauhar. The royal families of
rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh called Rajputs practiced Jauhar. it was a practice
where rajput went for the battle and there was no hope to came back home then
the wives of the rajput in order to save from doing slavery .Jauhar was a
collective suicide of widows of the rajputs families who would dying rather than
being captured, raped, dishonored by those soldiers who defeated their kings in
the war. This practice is on peak in the 14th and 15th century.
There is a
special burnable room built in the fort which is out of other combustible
material where the practice of jauhar took place. The practice of jauhar is
depicted through the bollywood movie name padmavat.
Prohibition Of Sati Or Who Abolished Sati
The abolishment of sati took place at the time of British rule. At that time
governor general of India, lord William bentik through the Bengal sati
regulation act, 1829 banned the sati sacrifice by the British India. Behind this
abolishment there was a hand of Indian reformist who tried to ban sati from
Britishers. Raja ram Mohan Roy established the Brahma samaj, 1829 who was
against the evil practices.
Roy thought that due to the pressure of people the
laws made for sati practices would not rejected. The prominent leaders and
reformist showed them that the things were going such as child marriage,
discrimination, widow remarriage, sati, inheritance rights made some laws to
stop the evil practices.
There was ruler who also wanted to end the practices of
sati but on the please of courtiers mughal emperor Akbar had allowed sati to
take place only if the wife is willingly wanted to follow it. But most of the
times women were forced to commit sati or pushed into husband's funeral pyre by
her relatives against the law.
Akbar banned "force "sati.
Akbar relied on this because Akbar wife cousin sister named Damyenti who refused
to burn in their husband pyre but her relatives and son forced her as it was
against their will.
When Akbar got this information he rode from agar to ranthambore to save their
lady from being forced to commit sati on her husband's funeral Pyre.
The Commission Of Sati (Prevention), 1987
The commission of sati, 1987 was enacted by the government of Rajasthan and it
was considered as the act which was passes by the parliament of India .It is a
law that prevent women from burying alive or forced burning or with consent of
the widow. The prohibition of glorification of this action it could be seen in
the ceremonies, creating a financial trust, construction of a temple, or
participation in the procession of any of the project related to sati or any
actions to remember or honors to memorize the widow who committed sati.
In the commission (prevention) of sati act, 1987 there was case where a married
girl of 18years whose named Roop kanwar who was forced to burning alive when her
husband died after the completion of 8 months of marriage she declined. As a
result, a group of men from the village forcefully pulled her and immolated her.
After the investigation of this incident police arrested all those men who tried
to attempt to sati.
The Commission Of Prevention Act, 1988
The rules related to this act allowed the appointment of the responsibilies
associated with the prevention of sati which are delegated to other officers but
that appointment was assigned by the collector or the district magistrate. The
orders from the collector or the district magistrate must be followed by other
officers. The prohibitory orders are made in a customary manner on the option of
the concerned locality and those orders shall be essentially exhibit.
The owners of the temples and the ancient structures temple they tries to
glorify sati are to be provided 90 days to displayed notice before the structure
of the temple going to ruin. Upon the removal of such inventory shall be made
for property and shall indicate where the property is stored.
Sati: Misconceptions and myths:
First we talked about the sati religious sanctions. The Hindu religious
scriptures in which there are two prominent smritis i.e. manusmriti and
yajnavalkya smriti but didn't mentioned or glorify the practice of sati. In
medhatithi commentaries where sati referred as a black magic on the other hand
Shakti and tantric curls that prohibit sati. The foreign prominent travelers
i.e. .Alberuni where he stated that "sati is not obligatory widow had a choice".
John Baptist who went India five times also conveyed that he even didn't see it
coming true and he said the same as alberuni . Another traveler ibn battuta he
was witness of two sati that their relatives dissuade the women but widow didn't
agree. Warren Hastings, William Jones Sanskrit scholar and other praised the
Hindu culture they never mentioned sati as a religious obligation.
propaganda examined that the Brahmin imposed the sati and the relatives clapped
on widows burning by such propaganda Hinduism made sati a negative context and
explained in a very exaggerate manner in Britain .As a result , finally gave
permissions that from 1815 to 1824 a survey will be done and see that in whole
India how many sati commit.
The survey figure revealed through which got the
information that within the time period of ten years 6600 sati committed in
which 5900 sati was held in Bengal . This data is doubtful and suspicious
because Bengal traditionally not known for sati practices and still there are no
sati temples in Bengal, they were situated in southern India or Rajasthan.
percentage of Brahmin who commit sati was of 40%and the kshtatriya of 15%
through this a myth is debunk Brahmin forced on lower caste to commit sati. The
result of this propaganda William bentik abolished the sati and after this no
data is collected of how many satis committed.
The critical analysis of commission of sati provides knowledge about how the
ancient Hindu practice took place and what are the drawbacks of the sati act.
Even after enactment of the sati act, this practice was found to alive. When it
was reported in the village name lathur, Maharashtra. It was declared by the
villagers that the widow was found half burned on her deceased husband funeral
pyre. A case was registered in the Maharashtra for claiming to be practiced of
If we analyze the practice of sati we found that people justify the practice of
sati by saying that the sati is a custom and rituals of our ancient Hinduism.
Whereas, this practice of sati is more than a custom because as it represents
the position of women the society that in the modern times custom is essentially
located than the lives of women even more dangerous than sati itself is the fact
of glorification and exaggeration of the act which is backed by the religion.
1. For the abstract and introduction
2. History of sati
3. For the other headings
Written By: Ratnika Pathak
of 3rd semester of Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of legal studies, CSJM, Kanpur.