Sati Abolition- Relevance for UPSC Exam
- GS Paper 1: Indian History- Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
Abolition of Sati- Context
- In 1829, the Governor-General of India Lord William Bentinck passed Bengal Sati Regulation 1829 which made the practice of Sati illegal in all of British India.
- Earlier, the Practice of Sati was banned by the Portuguese in Goa by 1515 and then by Dutch in Chinsura and French in Pondicherry.
What is Sati Practice?
- Sati was an inhumane practice against widowed women which traces its origin from late ancient and medieval era India.
- Sati had become prevalent in some parts of India, even though it lacked any support from ancient Vedic tradition.
- Sati was mainly practiced in upper Hindu Families which involved the immolation of a Hindu woman on the death of her husband in his funeral pyre.
- According to an estimate, in the year 1817 alone, about 700 widows were burnt alive.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s Efforts in Banning Sati Pratha
- Soul of Raja Ram Mohan Roy was tormented by the Sati Practice when his own sister-in-law was forced to commit Sati.
- Social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy along with his supporters started fierce opposition against Sati Practice in 1812.
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy took it on himself and used to visit cremation grounds and persuade women not to commit Sati.
- In his Sambad Kaumudi, He even showed that the Practice of Sati does not find mention in the Vedic literature.
Banning of Sati Practice
- Due to the sustained efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sati practice was formally banned in all the lands under Bengal Presidency by Lord William Bentinck on 4 December 1829.
- People who abetted the Practice of Sati were to be held guilty of committing ‘culpable Homicide’ offenses under the Bengal Sati Regulation Act 1829.
- Bengal Sati Regulation 1929, banning Sati, was applicable only to the Company’s jurisdiction in British India.