Sati System Essay

613 Words Sep 14th, 2010 3 Pages

December 5, 1829 , Calcutta, PTI. Yesterday after the debate of 11 years , The sati regulation Act which declared the practice of sati, or suttee, or of burning or burying alive the widows of Hindus, illegal and punishable by the criminal courts by Lord William Bentinck., governor general of all of British-ruled India. In 1817, Mritunjaya Vidyalamkara, chief pundit of the Supreme Court in Calcutta announced that sati had no sanction in the ancient texts and, in 1818, Lord William Bentinck, the governor of Bengal, banned the practice.
The Prevention of Sati Act makes it illegal to abet, glorify or attempt to commit Sati. Abetment of Sati, including coercing or forcing someone to commit Sati can be punished by death
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He underlined the fact that the occurrence of sati showed how much society had ‘degenerated’. In response to this, 128 pundits published a manifesto arguing that Roy’s opinion was only that of a minority, and that the government could not defy religion and ban sati. He had gathered a lot of evidence, especially from the ancient Hindu scriptures and law books called the shastras, to show that sati was not obligatory and was in fact the least virtuous act a widow could perform. And that it had meaning only if it was done voluntarily.
Mr. Roy later translated the 1815 pamphlet into English. While conservative, orthodox elements argued that sati allowed women who lacked virtuous knowledge to acquire such knowledge and gift it to their families Roy argued that women anyway possessed virtuous knowledge, for their lives showed that they were infinitely more self-sacrificing than men.
Attempts to limit or ban the practice had been made by few individual British officers few years back but without the backing of the British East India Company. The first formal British ban was imposed in 1798, in the city of Calcutta. The practice continued in surrounding regions. But finally yesterday i.e. on 4 December 1829, the practice was formally banned in the Bengal

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