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The Sati System .

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The Tradition of Sati Through the Centuries

First Online: February 01, 2001
Page Last Updated: October 17, 2017

Scholars differ on the origins of the Sati practice. Some have dated the origins to the period of the Vedas (apprx. 5500 years ago), and a few others have attributed the system to the origins of the caste system (apprx. 1st century A.D.). The following timeline traces some of the important events in the history of the Sati system.


     Description of  Historical Event

6th Century A.D. Kadamba king Raviverma's wife commits Sati after his death
908 A.D. First documented instance of Sati - Heggadetomma's widow Balakka goes Sati
1510 Portuguese traveler Barbosa visits the Vijayanagar empire and witnesses Sati prevalent in the Kshatriya community
1623 Italian traveler Pietro-Della Valle's account of a Sati ritual at Ikkeri
1805  Dewan Purnayya in Mysore Court of Wodeyars gives consent to a Brahmin widow to undergo Sati.
(This is historically rare instance of an upper caste woman undergoing Sati.)
1828 Rajaram Mohan Roy establishes Brahmo Samaj to fight the evils of Hinduism like Sati, which gains momentum
1829 The British Administration of William Bentinck bans the Sati system
1850 Colonel Sleeman's account of a Sati ritual
1987 Roop Kanwar, a young widow goes Sati in the state of Rajasthan, stirring a social debate on the topic. People who assisted her in suicide are arrested. But Roop Kanwar is idolized and attains the status of a deity.
1996 The Indian Court upholds the suicide as a social tradition and frees the relatives who assisted Roop Kanwar.
2002 Kuttu Bai, a 65 year widow commits Sati in the state of Madhya Pradesh

See Also:

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

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