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Showing posts from August, 2011


My most memorable encounter with the tradition of Sati was in the enchanting novel on the Raj, The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye. The gripping tale of Ashton (Ashok) and Princess Anjuli, of unconsummated love and a loveless marriage climaxed with Ashton shooting the terrified princess on the funeral pyre of her husband, the dead king, to save her from the agony of immolation.  
The Egyptians buried alive the wives and servants of the dead Pharaohs so that they may serve their master in the afterlife. The ancient Greeks practiced the ritual of sati. It is also said to have been practiced in Ancient China. Aristobulus of Cassandreia, a Greek historian and engineer who traveled to India with the expedition of Alexander the Great, recorded the practice of sati at the great city of Taxila, now in ruins and located in western Punjab in Pakistan.
The tradition of Sati or Suttee came to North India in ancient times brought by the Kushan conquerors from Central Asia. In the Middle Ages the Rajp…