The Sati System

The Sati (Su-thi , a.k.a. suttee) is the traditional Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on  her husband's funeral pyre. Sati was prevalent among certain sects of the society in ancient India, who either took the vow or deemed it a great honor to die on the funeral pyres of their husbands.

In this section at Kamat's Potpourri, we take a look at the origins, development, and instances of Sati as recorded by witnesses. We have also culled a pictorial exhibition from our archives on the topic.

Warning: This section deals with the controversial topic of suicide. It merely is an academic study of a social practice and it does not mean  that we endorse the Sati system.


First Online: February 01, 2001
Page Last Updated: January 01, 2015

The Sati System of Suicide


  • Nagegowda H. L., Pravasi kanda India (India through the eyes of foreign travelers), Vol 1-4, 1966-1972
  • Kamat Jyotsna,  Mahile - Ondu Adhyayana (Studies in Womanhood), Navakarnataka, 1999
  • Kamat Jyotsna, Social Life in Medieval Karnataka, Abhinav, 1980 (buy)
  • Sleeman W.H., Rumble and Recollections of an Indian Official, 1844
  • Susan Abraham, The Deorala Judgment Glorifying Sati, The Lawyers Collective, 1997

See Also:

  • The Call of Yama -- Discussion of death in Hinduism; includes answers to frequently asked questions, and proceedings of a Hindu funeral.
  • Death by Demand -- India perhaps has the longest history of assisted suicides. Different types of suicides including Sati are discussed.

Internet Links

Kamat's Potpourri Timeless Theater Women of India Sati System

Research Database

Merchandise and Link Suggestions

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    The Suti Tradition
    The Sati System

    Woman Commits Suicide on Funeral PyreMemorials Erected for Women Who Committed SatiDecorated Sati from a Hero-stone (Mahasati Stone)Bridal Makeup of a Woman Commiting Suicide
    Sitas Trial by FireA Woman Goes SatiWoman being Paraded before SuicideA Memorial for a Brave Lady
    Memorial to a Mahasati Hero-Stone Depicting Fierce BattleDecorated Idols of SatisA Mahasati Sculpture