Sati is still practiced!
You must be thinking Raja Ram Mohan Roy had protested and carried out the propaganda against this inhumane activity long ago, and finally, in 1829 he won the cause when Lord William Bentick passed the law to abolish the custom of Sati. So, how does sati still exist?
Time Travel to the era of the 1800’s:
“Sound of squeaking cry and yelp is heard at distant, as the sound approaches there is an interment being carried out. The street is filled with pundit chanting some mantra and village men in dhoti and cotton kurta barefoot carrying the body wrapped in a shroud on their shoulders.
As they move ahead there’s a group of women in white saree accompanying them carrying a beaten up version of paalki with a woman in it, the only movement of breath in her body tells she is alive. They reach the ground where rituals are to be performed, as the body is being set to be cremated the wife of the deceased is made to sit on the pyre and soon it is put on fire putting an end to her breath.” Many villagers attend this as something which has to be done and women accepted it as their fate.
A woman is taught from the beginning she has to accompany her spouse in every walk of life without questioning him. At that time there were many scholars who did not consider it as an act of valor but as an act of violence. Social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy showed a different aspect of this practice and raised voice against the practice.
Sati according to Wikipedia is an obsolete funeral custom where a widow immolates herself on her husband’s pyre or takes her own life in another fashion shortly after her husband’s death.
But in simple terms, it is depriving a woman of her living rights. It is believed as soon as her husband’s heart stops beating so shall hers. Why no man ever faced sati?
Time travel back to the present era of the 2000s:
Being in the 21st century where everything has advanced and people call themselves as modern civilians who are open to various ideas and reject various prejudices, still practice sati unknowingly.
The majority of the populace believes in age-old philosophy,
“Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not herself but as relative to him.”
A widow is seen as a sign of inauspiciousness even in the 21st century. Still, there are many people who harbor the belief that a widow should not be allowed to participate in auspicious function like blessing the married couple or any in any other scene. She is asked to clear the frame as has lost her husband and holds no individual value. Sati is kept alive today in one way or the other.
Here is an excerpt from a very talented young writer and the ambassador for Postcards for Peace, Gurmehar Kaur’s, Small Acts of Freedom “The real world stops existing and my whole world shrinks itself into the tent of her dupatta; it is my temporary home.
Some days my world is light green, some days it is yellow. It used to have stars and sequins and lace once upon a time, and on those days my world would be a rainbow, the sun passing through my prism of safety. The colorful dupattas have gone, replaced by plain beige, white and occasionally plain yellow and with that is gone my colorful world.”
The only difference is earlier she was burnt to ashes but now the norms and customs of widowhood slowly and gradually burn her identity. She is asked not to participate in any rituals. Bright hues are reduced to unpigmented attire. She is at times deprived of the legal rights and is expected to observe mourning rights.
She is made to believe all her life her husband is her ultimate source of happiness and when he departs she should let go off all her happiness and reduce herself to a body that just knows how to breathe without living. She is constantly made to feel as an incomplete being, whom only a male can complete.
Why since past so many centuries a woman is leg cuffed by the male-dominated society allowing her to take restrained steps. Customs have been made and abolished and again some new customs are made that camouflage the old ideology that makes it look lukewarm from afar, but are still strict and boiling hot if observed closely.
“A bright hue in her wardrobe can be a sign of protest against the life she is asked to live. Similarly looking at her with a raised eyebrow to refrain her from participating in life can be a sign of sati practice.”