ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sati in Kaliyuga

NEARLY twenty years ago in 1968, at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla, I made my first public presentation on sati. It was subsequently delivered as a Rammohan Roy Bicentennial Lecture at the Nehru Museum and Library, and further revised for my book, At the Edge of Psychology.1 A few years later, an empirical refutation of my position was attempted as part of a broader critique by Sanjukta Gupta and Richard Gombrich. The critique and my reply to it was published in a symposium.2 Since then I have on and off spoken in the public fora on sati and, also, tried to keep in touch with social activists worried about the occasional instances of sati in the country. At least one group of them have used my essay as a text. After the death of Roop Kanwar at Deorala, Rajasthan, on September 4, 1987, I have published two briefer essays, not so much on sati as on modern India's present response to it.3 During the twenty years, in the context of sati. I did not bear of Imrana Quadeer, Zoya Hasan, Sujata Patel and Krishna Kumar.4 It is possible that none of them was born early enough for us to hear of his or her interest in sati, and that all of them have reached adulthood at about the time Roop Kanwar died. In that case I plead guilty to the charge of suspecting that all these wor-" thies have jumped on the band wagon of the urban, decultured Indian bourgeoisie to win some easy applause at bargain price. Nevertheless, the fact remains that they have systematically distorted my position on sati. In case your readers have not read my essays on sati but only the diatribes against me, I wish to state the following:

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