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Sati: A Historical Anthology

Andrea Major (Editor)
Synopsis Sati, the burning of a Hindu widow on her husband's funeral pyre, has always been a sensational issue and a highly controversial act. 'Western' accounts of India since the fifteenth century, as well as the significance of sati's 'ethos', if not its actual practice, within Indian culture, have assured its place in the public eye for several centuries. This anthology explores some of the multiple meanings of sati by bringing together a wide range of both Indian and European historical sources on sati spanning many hundreds of years. This anthology collects a wide selection of primary source material, revealing a broad range of responses and attitudes, both Indian and foreign, on the concept and ritual of sati down the ages. Extracts from the Rig Veda and other Hindu scriptures, accounts by commentators as diverse as Battuta, Bernier, Pelsaert, Bentinck, Rammohan Roy, Sarojini Naidu and Gandhi, right up to feminist and other responses to the Deorala Sati of 1987, offer glimpses  of the historical development of this rite, as well as the opinions, of travellers, colonizers, and today's thinkers thereon. The extensive introduction places the texts in perspective, and guides the readers through a range of sources disparate in time and place. Useful and enriching, the anthology, delves into little-known aspects of sati and its abolition, such as the views of the Indian Princely states to the rite. Also included are accounts of a controversial sati that took place in Barh, Bihar, in 1927. Such accounts shed new light on the history of sati. The breadth and focus of this volume will make it relevant for historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and those working in the field of gender studies.
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About the author

Andrea Major

Andrea Major is ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Edinburgh.

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Bibliographic information

Title Sati: A Historical Anthology
Author Andrea Major
Format Hardcover
Date published: 10.03.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195678958
length lvi+466p.