Sati, the Blessing and the Curse: The Burning of Wives in India / Edition 1

Sati, the Blessing and the Curse: The Burning of Wives in India / Edition 1

by John Stratton Hawley, Hawley
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA
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Sati, the Blessing and the Curse: The Burning of Wives in India / Edition 1

Several years ago in Rajasthan, an eighteen-year-old woman was burned on her husband's funeral pyre and thus became sati. Before ascending the pyre, she was expected to deliver both blessings and curses: blessings to guard her family and clan for many generations, and curses to prevent anyone from thwarting her desire to die. Sati also means blessing and curse in a broader sense. To those who revere it, sati symbolizes ultimate loyalty and self-sacrifice. It often figures near the core of a Hindu identity that feels embattled in a modern world. Yet to those who deplore it, sati is a curse, a violation of every woman's womanhood. It is murder mystified, and as such, the symbol of precisely what Hinduism should not be.

In this volume a group of leading scholars consider the many meanings of sati: in India and the West; in literature, art, and opera; in religion, psychology, economics, and politics. With contributors who are both Indian and American, this is a genuinely binational, postcolonial discussion. Contributors include Karen Brown, Paul Courtright, Vidya Dehejia, Ainslie Embree, Dorothy Figueira, Lindsey Harlan, John Hawley, Robin Lewis, Ashis Nandy, and Veena Talwar Oldenburg.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195077742
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 09/01/1994
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 9.25(w) x 6.13(h) x 0.54(d)

Table of Contents

Language and Transliterationxi
1.The Iconographies of Sati27
Comment: A Broader Landscape49
2.Die Flambierte Frau: Sati in European Culture55
Comment: Sati and the Nineteenth-century British Self72
3.Perfection and Devotion: Sati Tradition in Rajasthan79
Comment: Good Mothers and Bad Mothers in the Rituals of Sati91
4.The Roop Kanwar Case: Feminist Responses101
5.Sati as Profit Versus Sati as a Spectacle: The Public Debate on Roop Kanwar's Death131
Comment: Widows as Cultural Symbols149
Comment: The Continuing Invention of the Sati Tradition159
Afterword: The Mysteries and Communities of Sati175
Select Glossary of Indic Terms187
Notes on the Contributors203

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