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Is satidah still practiced anywhere in India?

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Written by   53
1 week ago

The practice of satidah is the historical practice of Hindu widows in the presence of their husbands. The Sanskrit word sati literally means a chaste woman who shows utmost sincerity towards her husband and is also faithful to her relatives. But as a custom, satidah means the religious obligation of the wife to cohabit with the dead husband and to climb on the cheetah of the husband's funeral on that occasion. This practice was mainly observed in the north and in pre-modern times in southern India.

Satidah in ancient India (Photo source: BBC)

There is no historical evidence of the origin of this practice However, the practice of nasty satidah began in Indian society to punish the wives who killed their husbands, and some people disagreed with that. Many believe that the superstition called satidah came from outside India.

Hypocrisy in ancient India (Photo source: IndiaFacts)

Aristobulus, the historian of Cassandria, came to India with Emperor Alexander. He preserved in his writings the incident of the practice of satidah in the city of Taxila. In the death of an Indian soldier of the Greek general Eumenes, his two wives spontaneously went to cohabitation; This event took place in 316 BC. Although the veracity of the incident cannot be ascertained. However, many were trying to stop this practice. Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq took the first step against the practice of satidah. After this, emperors Humayun, Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb took strict steps to stop the practice of satidah.

Raja Rammohun Roy, the pioneer of the renaissance of India, the reformer of religion and society, and the reformer of the Hindu religious system and social system was the main goal of life.

Sculpture of King Rammohun Roy in front of Bristol Cathedral (Photo source: Calcutta Walks)

Due to the tireless efforts of Raja Rammohun Roy, the practice of satidah was officially abolished in the Bengal Presidency of British India on 4 December 1829. Raja Rammohun Roy proved in court that there is no such thing as satidah in the traditional religion.

Satidah in ancient India (Photo source: Columbia University in the City of New York)

Thousands of followers of traditional religions in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa have filed petitions challenging the order. According to them, the British government is trying to sniff out their religious issues. When the matter reached the Privy Council in London, Rammohun Roy petitioned against the law. In 1832 the Privy Council voted in favor of the law.

Until the time of Raja Rammohun Roy, no role of Hindu social reformers was found against the practice of satidah. Even when Raja Rammohun was fighting against the conservative Indian Hindu community in a bid to abolish the practice, the role of the press in maintaining satidah was largely inactive, with nothing to protest or support!

Satidah in ancient India (Photo source: Wikipedia)

Even then, not all parts of India have enacted anti-satidah laws. It took up to 1861 to completely ban satidah in India. Although the practice of satidah has now completely disappeared in India, there have been reports of about40 incidents of satidah since independence. There are still ancient temples of Goddess Sati in different parts of Rajasthan.

Sri Rani Sati Dadi Mandir, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan (Photo source: Rgyan - Spiritual Social Network)

Although there are allegations, Roop Kanwar was burnt to death on September 4, 1987 in Deorala village in Shikar district of Rajasthan. Thousands of people stood and watched the 18-year-old become a sati.

Roop Kanwar was killed here (Photo source: Reddit)

Doubts and misinformation are also seen in the news published in the media. Somewhere it was said that Roop gave his life voluntarily. Or she was sitting on her husband's head in the cheetah of her own free will, chanting Gayatri mantra and blessing everyone. Somewhere it is claimed that the form is dragged to the fire. After much legal tug-of-war, 45 people from Deorala village were arrested on murder charges. Eleven others involved in state politics at the time were accused of glorifying the practice of satidah. The first 45 were released earlier, and the remaining 11 politicians were released on January 31, 2004 by a special court in Jaipur. Voluntary "Sahamaran" is called Roop Kanwar K in modern India, and devotees still flock to the Bala Sati Roop Kanwar temple.

Bala Sati Mata Mandir in Jodhpur, Rajasthan (Photo source: justdial.com)

Charitra Yadav died in December 2014 in the village of Parmania in Bihar's Saharsha district. Then his seventy-year-old wife Dayadevi voluntarily chose Sahamaran. According to the police, the woman had voluntarily jumped on her husband's cheetah in the practice of 'satidah'. On the other hand, the couple's son Ramesh claimed that his mother did not follow the practice of 'satidah'. Her mother died of a heart attack after receiving news of her father's death from cancer. For this they were cremated in the same cheetah.

Saharsh District, Bihar (Photo source: Wikipedia)

In 2015, an elderly man named Tukaram died of a heart attack in Lohata village in Latur district of Maharashtra. Within an hour of Tukaram's funeral, his widow, Usha, went missing. The next day, Usha's body was found completely burnt in Tukaram's cheetah. The administration feared that the woman had been burnt to death following the practice of satidah.

Latur District, Maharashtra (Photo source: Wikipedia)

Due to some isolated incidents like this, sometimes there are many questions about 'cohabitation' in the newspapers in India, but they should be accepted as isolated incidents. Since the conscious Indians do not want to repeat the barbarism like the practice of satidah, we see that the police of Uttar Pradesh stopped the 'satidah' with the joint efforts of the family and the villagers.

Modern Indians have completely rejected the practice of satidah.

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