Sati is the practice through which widows are voluntarily or forcibly burned alive on their husband's funeral pyre. In India, sati was banned in 1829, but had to be banned again in 1956 after a resurgence. There was another revival of the practice in 1981 with another prevention ordinance passed in 1987.






September 12, 2008

An Article Series on Human Rights and Culture by the Asian Human Rights Commission - AHRC.

AHRC Human Rights and Culture - Issue 23

This is the 23rd issue of Human Rights and Culture. In this issue we present the final chapter of the book, Genocide of Women in Hinduism, by Sita Agarwal. You may view the previous issues at:  http://www.ahrchk.net/pub/mainfile.php/hrculture/.


(For the introduction and details on the book itself please refer to our previous issue, Human Rights & Culture issue 20, August 22, 2008)


Sati - Brahmin Annihilation of Widows - Chapter 5

This chapter proves that Sati was a result of Brahmin oppression and cruelty. Initially introduced by barbaric Aryan invaders, the Brahmins enforced it upon the non-Brahmins in order to confiscate the properties of the non-Brahmin widows and to exterminate non-Brahmins races so as to establish an ethnically cleansed `Brahmavarta'.

The Aryans, upon their invasion of India ca. 1500 B.C. introduced the horrific custom of sati, ie. the burning of a woman after the death of her husband. When performed singly it is referred to as sati, when performed en masse by all the women and daughters of a town in anticipation of their widowhood (eg. when the men were to fight a battle against all odds), it is known as jauhar. It is sanctioned by their most sacred texts, and was practiced from the fall of the Semito-Dravidian Indus Valley civilization to the modern age.


The most sacred of Aryan scriptures are the Vedas, and the Rig Veda, the oldest veda, explicitly sanctions the custom of sati. The following famous `Sati Hymn' of the Rig Veda was (and still is) recited during the actual immolation of the widow [ Kane 199-200 ]: -

Rig Veda X.18.7 "Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as corrylium ( to their eyes). Let these wives first step into the pyre, tearless without any affliction and well adorned." -- [ Rig Veda X.18.7 ] [ Kane 199-200 ]

In recent times some Aryan apologists have arisen who try to prove that this verse does not sanction sati. This concept arises from a mistaken reading of the word agne or agneh , which they believe is agre . This is a wrong interpretation, and other evidence exists that the Aryans definitely practiced Sati from the earliest times. These fabricators distorted the Sati verse which directs the widow to enter the pyre (agneh) so as to mean that the wife was to rise from her pyre and go to the front (agre). These fraud Brahminist historians also willfully ignore several other citations from scriptures which explicitly allow Sati :

The Garudapurana favourably mentions the immolation of a widow on the funeral pyre, and states that women of all castes, even the Candalla woman, must perform Sati. The only exceptions allowed by this benevolent author is for pregnant women or those who have young children. If women do not perform sati, then they will be reborn into the lowly body of a woman again and again till they perform Sati. [ Garuda.Purana. II.4.91-100 ] [ Kane 237 ].

A sati who dies on the funeral pyre of her husband enjoys an eternal bliss in heaven [ Daksa Smrti IV.18-19 ] [ Sm.Samu p.30 ] [ 1200, p.65 ]

According to Vasishta's Padma-Purana, a woman must, on the death of her husband, allow herself to be burnt alive on the same funeral pyre [ DuB.345 ].

Yajnavalkya, the most important law-giver after Manu, states that sati is the only way for a chaste widow [ Apastamba.I.87 ] [ 1200, p.65 ]

The Yogini Tantra enjoins upon Brahmana widows to burn themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands [ Yog.T. II.303-308 ]. Vaisya and Sudra widows were also allowed to do it. It was prohibited to unchaste women and those having many children. [ 1200, p.67 ]

The Vyasa Smrti gives one of the two alternatives for a Brahmana widow, ie. either to become a sati or to take up ascetism after her tonsure [ Vyasa Sm. II.53 ] [ Sm.S. p.362 ] [ 1200, p.67 ftn.136 ].

What more can I say about these golden verses from the `Holy' Vedas, the Gita and the Puranas - guidelines for every true Hindu woman ! Needless to say, bigoted Hindu fanatics like Vivekananda, `Mahatma' Gandhi and the Ramakrishna Mission always ignore these verses in order to fool gullible Westerners that Sati does not exist or is the result of some Pakistani ISI conspiracy.
Further, the Vishnusmirti gives only two choices for the widow:

Vishnu Smirti.XXV.14 "If a woman's husband dies, let her lead a life of chastity, or else mount his pyre" -- [ Vis.Sm. xxv.14 ] [ Clay.13 ]

Brahma is one of the main Aryan gods, being the creator of the world ( later he was identified as an incarnation of Vishnu ). One of the Puranas is named after him, the Brahma Purana. Like other Puranas, it was composed after the Vedas ( Pandits hold 4000 B.C., Indologists 700 B.C.) This scripture also sanctions sati:

Brahma Purana.80.75 "It is the highest duty of the woman to immolate herself after her husband ", -- [ Br.P. 80.75 ] [ Sheth, p.103 ]

Once again we hear that sati is sanctioned by the Vedas:
Brahma Purana.80.75 "[ Sati ] ... is enjoined by the Vedas ", -- [ Br.P. 80.75 ] [ Sheth, p.103 ]
and Brahma Purana.80.75 "[ Sati is ] greatly reputed in all the worlds " -- [ Br.P. 80.75 ] [ Sheth, p.103 ]
Long life is promised to the sati:
Brahma Purana.80.76, 80.77 "She [ the sati ] lives with her husband in heaven for as many years as there are pores in the human body, ie. for 35 million years." -- [ Br.P. 80.76, 80.77 ] [ Sheth 103 ]
Vishnu Dharmasutra XXV.14 contains the statement:
Vishnu Dharmasutra XXV.14 "On her husband's death, the widow should observe celibacy or should ascend the funeral pyre after him." -- [ cf also Vishnudharmottarasutra VIII.p.111 for the same verse ] [ 1200, p.65 ] [ Vis.Dh.Sh.XXV.14 ]

Several other scriptures sanction widow-burning. Some of these are as given below [ Wilk ]:
"It is proper for a woman, after her husband's death to burn herself in the fire with his copse; every woman who thus burns herself shall remain in paradise with her husband 35,000,000 years by destiny."
"The wife who commits herself to fames with her husband's corpse shall equal Arundathi and reside in Swarga (heaven)."

"Accompanying her husband, she shall reside so long in Swarga as the 35,000,000 of hairs on the human body.
"As the snake-catcher forcibly drags the serpent from his earth, so bearing her husband [from hell] with him she enjoys heavenly bliss."

"Dying with her husband, she sanctifies her maternal and paternal ancestors and the ancestors of him to whom she gave her virginity."

"Such a wife adorning her husband, in celestial felicity with him, greatest and most admired, shall enjoy the delights of heaven while fourteen Indras reign."

"Though a husband had killed a Brahman, broken the ties of gratitude, or murdered a friend she expiates the crime." -- [ Wilk ]

What more need we say about the `liberal' verses from the `holy' Hindu texts ? All these astonishing citations can be verified; the references are given in full at the end of this book. There is no secondary step in between; I have directly cited from the holiest Hindu law-books. These quotations show that Sati is deeply enshrined in Hinduism as a virtuous act right from the Vedic age. It is hence an inherent part of Hinduism and is not due to any `Puranic corruption', but was practiced during the `wonderful Golden Vedic Age' by the Aryan savages.


The Vedic Aryan origin of sati is further evident from the fact that several Aryan ladies and `goddesses' performed sati :

Several of Krishna's wives performed sati upon his death, including Rukmini, Rohini, Devaki, Bhadraa and Madura [ Mah.Bhar. Mausalaparvan 7.18 ] [ Alld, p.977, 1018-1019: Rukmini ]
Madri, second wife of Pandu, considered an incarnation of the goddess Dhriti, performed sati [ Mah.Bhar. Adiparvan 95.65 ] [ Alld, p.985 ]

Rohini, a wife of Vasudev, Krishna's father, who gave birth to Balram ( Devki's child ), later became a sati. [ Alld.1018 ] The Vishnu Purana refers to this mass burning of Krishna's wives :
Vishnu Purana.V.38 " The 8 queens of Krishna, who have been named, with Rukmini at their head, embraced the body of Hari, and entered the funeral fire. Revati also embracing the corpse of Rama, entered the blazing pile, which was cool to her, happy in contact with her lord. Hearing these events, Ugrasena and Anakadundubhi, with Devaki and Rohini, committed themselves to the flames." -- [ Vis.Pur. 5.38 ] [ Vis.Pur. p.481 ]

What true, divine models for all Hindu women ! These are the idiotic women who allowed themselves to be cruelly burnt alive on the deaths of their husbands. Later on, they were elevated to goddesses to brainwash more non-Brahmin women into performing Sati !


The abundant observations by ancient travelers testifies to the ubiquity of the practice and the ruthless rigour with which it was enforced. Alexander the Great and the Greeks observed Sati in Punjab [ Onescrites in Strabo xv.i.ch 30 ] [ Barth 59 ]. The Greek Diodorus Siculus who lived in the 1st century BC, mentioned the practice of sati in his account of the Punjab in the 4th century BC [ EB 11:421 ]. Indigenous historical evidence substantiates this, for

'The earliest recorded historical instance of sati is that of the wife of the Hindu general Keteus, who died in 316 B.C. while fighting against Antigonos. Both his wives were eager to perform sati, but as the elder one was with child, only the younger one alone was allowed to carry out her wish.' -- [Sheth 104]

It is to be noted that the earliest inscriptions in India are dated to only a few decades before this particular citation of sati. In other words Sati is attested in the oldest inscriptions discovered in India, proving that it dates to the greatest antiquity.

The sati rite was customary for the widows of Kshatriyas in the end of the first century BC as mentioned by Strabo [ Strabo XV.ch.700.30 ] [ Harp.273 ]. Sati was performed by all the Aryan races, for it is recorded that the Germanic tribes used to immolate the widows of chieftain to accompany the husband to Valhalla [ Harp. 273 ] [ David.150 ]. The Scythians also performed a similar rite. This pan-Indo-European occurrence of Sati further confirms that Sati was practiced by the Indo-Aryan barbarians.
The Arab writer Alberuni mentioned the practice of sati among the `Hindus'. [ al-B. ii p.155 ; ii p.170 ]

" She [ the widow ] has only to choose between two things - either to remain a widow as long as she lives, or to burn herself, and the latter eventuality is considered preferable ... As regards the wives of kings, they are in the habit of burning them whether they wish it or not." -- [ al-B.ii.p.155 ]

This shows that the Hindu kings forcibly burnt their women against their wishes. What true fruits of Vedic philosophy ! Later travelers also refer to this horrible practice :

`Nicolo deo Contei states that as many as 3000 of the wives and concubines of the kings of Vijayanagar were pledged to be burnt with their lord on his death [and often ministers and palace servants accompanied the king in death]' -- [ Bash.188 ]

During the era of Anglo-Brahmin colonialism, when the Brahmins betrayed the nation to the Anglo-Saxon invaders and collaborated with them, the Pandits were free to re-enforce the harsh Vedic sati laws which had been uprooted by the Islamic liberators. Hence the Brahmins thwarted the best efforts of the Non-Brahmin Ram Mohan Roy to stop it [ Harp.273 ]. That Sati actually revived during Brahmin-British rule is also confirmed by the Abbe DuBois -

" [Sati] is more in vogue on the banks of the Ganges, [while] in Bengal Presidency [only] 706 suttees occurred in 1817 [and in] the Madras Presidency [out of] 30 million inhabitants not 30 allow themselves to be burnt each year." -- [DuB.357 ]

DuBois mentions with horror the brute custom of sati :

`[the wife] must, on the death of her husband, allow herself to be burnt alive on the same funeral pyre [of her husband]' -- [ DuB.345]

Contemporary literature is replete with references to the practice of sati :

One hundred queens of the Chedi king Gangayadeva burnt themselves after the death of their husband king at Prayaga [ 1200 p.65 ].

Sati was not only practiced by the wife of the deceased. Even slave girls, mothers and sister-in-laws were forcefully burnt alive when a man died. So cheap is the life of a Hindu woman !

Dhanapala in his `Tilakamanjari' (p.156) refers to slave girls going towards the funeral pyre to burn themselves when they learned the death of their master. [ 1200, p.66 ftn.132 ]

In the 4th act of the Venisamhara (VII.15) we find the mother of the dead hero coming to the battle field to enter his funeral pyre along with her daughter-in-law. [1200 p.66 ]

Gajja, the mother of Anada, burnt herself with her deceased son [ Raj.Tar. VII.1380 ] [ 1200, p.66 ].
Vallabha died with her brother-in-law Malla [ Raj.Tar. VII.1486 ]

This shows that the brute custom of sati was merely designed to destroy womanhood as a whole, and non-Brahmin women in particular. Sati still continues to this day. In 1990, more than 50 widows were burnt alive as satis. [ Verma ] This, once again, is the Brahmin conspiracy at work, destroying non-Brahmin women.

Tonsuring of the head was another evil that widows had to face. The widow was supposed to look like a sannyasi, so that no one would be attracted to her [ 1200, p.69 ]. The braid of hair, if continued by the widow, would supposedly result in the husband being put in bondage in the next world [ Skanda Pur., Kashikhanda 4.74 f ]. If a widow does not become a sati, she should get her head tonsured [ Vedavyasa II.53 ]. That these restrictions were enforced is indicated by the contemporary literature. Thus the young widowed daughter of a merchant ( who kept her well-guarded ) had to devise ways and means to enjoy her lover [ Akhy, p.192-193 ] [ 1200, p.69 ].


Several bizarre hypotheses have been set forth by obscurantist Brahminists to fabricate non-Vedic explanations for the occurrence of sati, often with less than honest intentions. All these frauds are herein exposed :

Corruption : One silly canard spread by the Brahmins is that the custom of sati started when `Hindu' society started to `degenerate' in the Puranic Dark Ages. If so, then why do the Vedas take this custom for granted? Why did Krishna's wives perform sati? Are we to then conclude that Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu himself, was a corrupt `Hindu'? Again, where did this corruption come from? When did it start? If some outsiders introduced this evil into India, then it must be one of the Greeks, Bactrians, etc. But they came 1000 years after Krishna! They themselves also do not practice this act ! Krishna was one of the earliest Aryan figures, and this story could hence have not been an invention, since the Aryans were very scared of altering anything in their tradition. These observations prove the Vedic origin of Sati.
Islamic Califate and Sati : One far-fetched Hindu fundamentalist idea ascribes the origin of sati as being due to the molestation of `Hindu' women by Muslim men. Thus the bigoted Brahminist historian Sudheer Birodkar writes [ Birodkar, Ch.3 : The Hindu Ethos ] :

" From the 13th century onwards up to the coming of the British, the position of women was insecure due to the arbitrary power structure associated with the feudal society and the rule of the Sultans of Delhi. Although during the reign of the later Mughals the situation had improved relatively, women in the medieval ages were often exposed to the lust of feudal overlords. Their insecurity increased after the demise of their husbands. This compulsion which was resultant of a particular age was by far the most important reason for the prevalence of Sati during the middle ages. "

Needless to say, this fallacious theory would imply the existence of Muslims to molest Krishna's wives, Madri and the galaxy of Vedic Aryan women who performed self-immolation. It also overlooks the accounts by ancient Greeks and Arabs on the prevalence of sati. In fact, the Muslim emperors took active steps to abolish sati. (eg. Ghiyasudin, Akbar, Muhammed Tughlaq) and the Sufi saints condemned it. Thus, we find that Muhammed Tughlaq opposed Sati [ Nand, p.173 ] The saintly Aurangzeb manifestly opposed the custom of sati and prohibited it in his empire. The Brahmins should also answer, Which Muslims inserted the Sati hymn into the Vedas ?

Here are some questions for bigoted Brahminist historians such as Sudheer Birodkar, R.C. Majumdar and

Swami Vivekananda about their fraudulent hypotheses on the Islamic origin of Sati :

Which `Muslim invaders' molested Krishna's wives, forcing them to perform Sati ?

Which Muslims introduced the Sati hymns into the Vedas ?

Which Muslims fabricated the whole lot of Hindu scriptures of Puranas, Smrtis and Shastras, inserting the verses praising Sati ?

Were the Ocean of Story, the Jatakas and the Panca Tantra authored by Muslims in order to fabricate evidence of Sati ?
There is only one reason for the propagation of these lies by the Brahmins; that is to cover up their horrible genocide of non-Brahmin women by means of Sati. Now the real reason for Sati has been exposed: it is nothing but Hinduism, and springs from the barbaric Vedas.


There were two main objectives for the Brahmin genocide of widows: firstly, to annihilate the non-Brahmin races by destroying their women, and secondly, to confiscate the properties of the murdered women. The second aspect is vividly described by the French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who visited India 6 times between 1641 and 1667. He was a jeweler by profession, and came to India as a result of his involvement with the gem trade. Because he was not a Christian missionary, what he wrote is the result of his own experiences and cannot be dismissed as an inherent religious bias. In fact, his writings display a marked admiration for India. However, like all observers he was struck by the intense exploitation of non-Brahmin races by Brahmins. This unprejudiced traveler clearly describes Brahmin mass murder of non-Brahmin widows and their confiscation of their wealth :

" The Brahmans accompanying her [ the Sati ] exhort her to show resolution and courage, and many Europeans believe that in order to remove the fear of that death which man naturally abhors, she is given some kind of drink that takes away her senses and removes all apprehensions which the preparations for her (p.165) death might occasion. It is for the interest of the Brahman


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