Tuesday, December 30, 2014

THE TRUTH ABOUT SATI PRACTICE

I have met Shahnawaz Husain during a trip to Mumbai. He was my fellow traveler from London to Mumbai. He is now an Indian desi in UK with a very modern in outlook. He was talking about superstitions and wrong traditions plaguing in India. I have agreed to most of his observations.


"Hinduism is a curse for its women - evil people were practicing SATI everywhere in India till British ruled..." he said. ('Sati' is a name given to the custom by the British in which the widow is placed on pyre of deceased husband and burnt alive - it was a barbaric and inhumane act)

"I agree with you regarding SATI. It is highly deplorable. But how come you blame Hinduism for that?"

"Hindu scriptures glorify Sati Pratha..."

"So far there is no word in Hindu scripture for “Bride burning”. Sati is the feminine of 'sat', means "true"."

"But Hindus were practicing it and encouraging it, resulting in genocide..."

"Hmm..." I understood that he is yet another mis-lead educated person."Shahnawaz, Can I ask you a question..."

"Yes, please..."

"Even in modern America, female genital mutilation (FGM) - also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision - is being practiced among some Muslims. They believe that females have no right to enjoy sexual pleasure...."

"That's not true..." he raised his voice. His face became red.

"You please get your facts checked. FGM is done in the name of preservation of virginity and reduction of female desire and also to enhance male pleasure. The practice is prevalent in some of the majority Muslim countries. Many girls bleed to death or die of infection - even today"

"That's highly deplorable. We, educated Muslims, seriously condemn such act..."

"But Islamic scholars have two opinions about this - some say no obligatory rules exist while others refer to the mention of female circumcision in the Hadith. I do not know, you tell me..."

"Sir, All Muslims are not practicing it. Don't blame Muslims or Islam for some people doing wrong things..."

"I totally agree with you. As in any religion, wrong customs are practiced by the ignorant followers. I also agree that just a minority among Islam is terrorists but the blame goes to the entire religion..."

"I got your point, Uday. You mean to say that just because few people among billions of Hindus practice it doesn't mean Hinduism supports Sati..."

"Not only that - Sanatan Dharma is the only tradition in the world that gives equal importance to all without any gender, colour and race discrimination. So how is it possible to force something like Sati on females?"

"Uday, a scholar told me about mentioning of window's burning in Rig-Veda?"

"Yes- I have also read about it. Rig Ved, Mandala 10, Chapter 18 mentions about widowed dames. The hymn actually calls for a widow to rise from the pier of her dead husband and now move on to take the hand of her new husband. As in all cases, Hindu-bashers have misinterpreted it into a terrible falsification to signify the burning of the widows to demean Hinduism..."

"Mahabharata, Hindu epic, tells about Madri was burned with her husband Pandu"

"Pandu had another wife - Kunti - why didn’t she die? There are hundreds of characters in Mahabharata. Madri's case was exceptional. The epic is broader in universality - it shows all evils and good things that had been prevailing in the society during that time. How can you generalize things by a singled-out example? In Ramayana, when Dasaratha died none of his three wives jumped into pyre. There is not even a single case of forceful widow burning in any of our scriptures. The story of Sati and Shiv has nothing to do with Sati Pratha...Sati didn’t die in her Husband’s funeral pyre...”

"Then what, really, is Sati?"

"Sati is an ancient Sanskrit word, meaning a chaste woman who thinks of no other man than her own husband. The famous examples are Sati Anusuiya, Seelavati, Savitri, Ahilya etc. None of them committed suicide, let alone being forcible burned. So how is that that they are called Sati?"

"But there is proof that Sati was practicing in India..."

"Yes - it began with invaders bearing Muslim names. Please note I am not calling them 'Muslim invaders' (as popularly known) as I know that there are good people in all religions. Rape, genocide and gross human rights violations against innocent Hindus induce victims to adopt defensive mechanisms. Hindu women in India adopted the Sati traditions to protect themselves from invaders, who perpetrated the largest holocaust in history against Hindus."

The barbaric and inhuman invaders did record with glee their genocide on Hindus, because they felt all along that they were doing their duty; that killing, plundering, enslaving and razing Indian temples. It was standard practice for cruel warlords like Ghori and Ghazni to unleash the mass rape and enslavement of hundreds of thousands of women after the slaughter of all peace-loving innocent Hindu males. The tradition of sati, where Hindu women voluntarily cast themselves onto burning cremation grounds after their husbands’ death, gained widespread acceptance during the invasions.

The most famous instance took place when invaders overran Chittorgarh (Chittor) in 1568: rather than submit to the rape and slavery that would follow, eight thousand heroic Hindu women committed sati en masse.

The word "Sati-Pratha" (forcible widow burning) was coined by British and foreign Missionaries in India to de-mean Hindus... Hindus were victims of the crime. This is a typical case of perpetures of crime are glorified and victims are penalized. Just like any other durachara (black magic, astrology, mantravada etc) Sati might have been in practice among some ignorant Hindus.

"Sorry, I didn't know about these facts. I thought that Sati was part of your Sanatan Dharma"

"It is NOT. Shahnawaz, Lets absorb good things in all traditions. Things that are not relevant in today's society are anachara and superstitions. We can't use violence or force to change this. Our dharma is to learn the truth and teach the truth. When people become aware, they will naturally stop such practices. The historians (un-forgivable criminals) in India have done gross injustice to our culture for fist full of money...." I told him. 


(Courtesy - Udaylal Pai)

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