Free Extended Definition Essay Essay Example
In the contemporary world, some of the cultural practices that were practiced in the ancient times could hardly apply, and they could be seen as the violation of the human rights. In the ancient Hindu culture, Suttee was not only demoralizing to women but also the violation of their human rights. Although, the custom was not widely practice, Suttee was and still is common to the Indian people and other cultures. Suttee also recognized as “widow-burning” or sati was a practice where the first wife of the departed husband would involuntary or voluntary throw herself on the funeral fire as a sign of mourning (Banerjee, 2014). Thanks to the Indian colonization that this belief was demolished. This paper provides an insight of the Suttee and how it was applied in the ancient Indian custom.
Suttee was commonly linked to the Indian Myths and beliefs of Sati, a goddess who met her death by throwing herself into the fire. Contrary to the practice of suttee, the reason behind the death of Sati was as a result of her father insulting her husband known as God Shiva. However, it is believed that Shiva is still alive, and he is the one who avenges the death of his wife. Women practicing suttee were recognized as “true wives,” a term applied to women who were faithfully devoted to their husbands when they were alive (Bharahat n.d.). However, the concept later applied to the women who loved their husbands and would show their devotion by burning on the funeral pyre. The word became common in the Indian culture to the extents that it was considered a synonym to the widow burning.
Although it was considered to self-sacrifice, Suttee was to some extent involuntary. Some widows who could not volunteer themselves were thrown into the funeral fire as a sign of mourning. As a result, this raised concerns and challenging issue to the British colonialism and the human right activists around the world. The British government considered this practice as an inhuman act and subsequently pushed effort to abolish it (Bharahat n.d.). However, although the practice was officially abolished, it was not an easy task for the government (Banerjee, 2014). This is because, the practice was anchored in the myth that was deeply rooted in the Indian culture.
Subsequent to the abolishment of the Suttee practice, there are various instances that have been executed. The so-called heroic spirit is still roaming and fostering the sentiment of sacrifice after several years of suttee abolishment. The evidence of the suttee practice is commonly linked to the Rajputs after a woman sacrificed her life (Banerjee, 2014). The account for the suttee was evident when the Gorah’s wife committed suttee after her lord died in the battle. However, this was represented as swiftness and brevity that was admired and associated by the Rajput courage. Another instance of suttee is in the 19th century when Rammohan Roy also known as “the father of Modern India” experienced the suttee committed by his sister-in-law.
In conclusion, it is evident that some beliefs and myths of particular cultures were misleading and cruel to the human race. The practice of suttee indicates the naivety of the Indian people who were blinded by the cultural beliefs and myths. Through the abolishment of this cruel practice, people can learn the importance of cultural assimilation. This is because, were it not for the interaction between the western culture and the Indian culture the suttee could be still in practice. However, although some people, especially the foreign cultures saw it as inhuman, the Indian people saw it as a sign of bravery, swiftness, and faithful to departed husband. In the contemporary world, this could be seen as miscommunication existing in a culture.
Banerjee, J. (2014, July 26). Cultural Imperialism or Rescue? The British and Suttee [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.victorianweb.org/history/empire/india/suttee.html
Bharahat, S. (n.d.). Chapter 2 – The Practice of Suttee, or Widow-Burning, in India, According to Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, Italian, Dutch, French, and English Accounts [book]. Retrieved from http://www.ibiblio.org/britishraj/Jackson9/chapter02.html
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