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Widow-burning Banned, India: 1829

The burning of wives on the funeral pyres of their husbands, widow-burning, commonly known as sati ("suttee" in English), was practiced in India since at least the fourth century B.C.E. , when it was first recorded in Greek accounts. Centuries after the Portuguese banned the practice in Goa, long after the French and Dutch made it illegal, high-caste Hindu women in British India continued to burn themselves to death on their husbands' funeral pyres. To do so as a freely chosen act of love and respect might be seen as nobly self-sacrificial, but the British, and some Hindus, believed that a great many of these women were either coerced into the act by family and community expectations, or literally forced into the flames. It was banned by British colonial law in 1829–1830.

It did however survive in the native Indian states until the late 1880s, when it was effectively eradicated, although extremely rare cases persisted into the early twentieth century. Since India's independence in 1947—or more precisely since 1943—has been a revival of the phenomenon in four Northern Indian states: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and especially Rajasthan, a former stronghold of sati. This lead the Indian Government to enact the Rajasthan Sati Prevention Ordinance, 1987 and later passed the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.

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