Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India. Author(s): Lata Mani. Source: Cultural Critique, No. 7, The Nature and Context. Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India. By LATA MANI. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, Pp. xiv + $ (paper ). Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India, by Lata Mani,. Berkeley, University of California Press, Pp. xiv + This important book – a.

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In this debate between and among EIC ihdia Page ] officials traditkons indigenous male elite, “women are neither subjects nor Though the prohibition of widow burning in was heralded as a key step forward for women’s emancipation in modern India, Lata Mani argues that the women who were burned were marginal to the debate and that the controversy was over definitions of Hindu tradition, un place of ritual in religious worship, the civilizing missions of colonialism and evangelism, and the proper role of the colonial state.

Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. The EIC’s non-interference policy that sought to preserve Indian traditions instead “eroded custom[s]” and “extended brahmanic law to the rest of society” p.

Between the first recorded colonial discussion of sati in and its abolition insatk EIC promulgated four circulars on the practice. Journal of World History Unsettling and illuminating, this is feminist scholarship at its best. Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p.

View freely available titles: This exclusion of woman as subject framed the patriarchal discourse both of British colonial officials and indigenous interlocutors. The most prominent of the four, the Circular ofdistinguished “legal” from “illegal” sati based on specific and contradictory interpretations of Hindu scripture.


University of California Press, c Sati, or “suttee” as it was spelled by Westerners, refers most commonly to a widow who immolates herself on her husband’s funeral pyre, as well as to the practice itself.

The traditlons on sati circulating in Bengal and Britain between andincluded East India Company EIC officials, Szti pundit s scholarsBengali bhadralok “respectable” class, urban-based and upper-castemunshi s teachers[End Page ] Christian missionaries, and members of Parliament, among others, but excluded entirely the voices of Indian women.

Reviews “An important and disturbing book. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Mani radically revises colonialist as well as nationalist historiography on the social reform of women’s status in the colonial period and clarifies the complex and contradictory character of missionary writings on India. The history of widow burning is one of paradox.

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EIC officials sought to discover Hindu scriptures, as opposed to customs, that they assumed were the basis for Hindu laws. Here, Mani focuses on four “sites” of bhadralok discourse: Book titles OR Journal titles.

While the chief players in the debate argued over the religious basis of sati and the fine points of scriptural interpretation, the testimonials of women at tradtions funeral pyres consistently addressed the material hardships and societal expectations attached to widowhood. Disciplines Anthropology Cultural Anthropology Asian.

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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Browse related items Start at call number: Contentious Traditions analyzes the debate on satior widow burning, in colonial India.


Contentious traditions : the debate on Sati in colonial India in SearchWorks catalog

Physical description xiv, p. Rent from DeepDyve Recommend. The debate, at least in relation to Mani’s historical analysis, appears to dissolve bythe year that Rammohun Roy, the “father of modern India,” died in England.

While the chief players in the debate argued over the religious basis of sati and the fine points of scriptural interpretation, the testimonials of women at the funeral pyres consistently addressed, the material hardships and societal expectations attached to widowhood. The history of widow coonial is one of paradox. Bampton’s eyewitness account of sati performed by an “infatuated woman” recorded insome five years before the British colonial regime in this “dreadful rite” inrepresents a common missionary discourse found in most accounts:.

Lata Mani has reopened the archives on widow burning in colonial India. A scene, the most perfectly hellish that we ever saw, was presented as way was made for the woman to the pit, and its margin was left clear; she advanced to the edge facing her husband, and two or contentiuos times waved her right hand; she then hastily walked round the pit, and in one place I thought the flames caught her legs; having completed the circle, she again waved her hand as before, and then jumped into the fire.

Nielsen Book Data Publication date ISBN hbk. Contact Contact Us Help. A landmark publication in several fields at once: The debate normalized the violence of sati and supported the misconception that it was a voluntary act of wifely devotion.