Roop Kanwar. 1987. Eighteen years old. She was from a tiny village in Northwest India. Who would have known that this young lady would stir such controversy. For Roop Knawar is not an ordinary person. She is the motive behind the Anti-Sati movement.
In December of 1987, Roop Kanwar had done what many women in India have done before her: She had committed Sati., Was she forced into heavy sedation? Was she coerced into the funeral pyre? Or did Roop Kanwar sat serenely talking to her realitives, not showing any sign of pain ? As we explore Roop Kanwar’s case, we will also look into other cases of Sati, as well as the controversy of Sati. It is important to view their origins and its impact to culture, religion, and politics.
The term “sati” is a Sanskrit word meaning “virtuous” woman” . However, it is often used to refer to women who are faithful wives, who self-immolate themselves on the funeral pyre of her husband”. Sati is also named after the Hindu goddess, Dakshayani. She symbolizes maritial fidelity and longevity . So how does a woman become a sati? How did it originated?
One explanation for the exsistence of Sati is for “the sole purpose of maintaining the caste system.... . This assertion may hold some truth. However,
it is important to understand how does Sati play into India’s caste system in India ids made up of four classes: Brahmins [priests and teachers]. Ksatriyas [warriors, rulers], Va’syas [farmers], and Sudras [laborers]. The last class is the outcaste group: the Untouchables [polluted laborers] . The Brahmin caste were more suspected to take part of the Sati rituals than other classes for two reasons: One was to...