Self-immolation, as one might know, is suicide by burning oneself to death. A popular worldwide hobby from USA to South Korea showing us that great minds think alike.
|Nothing connects people like similar ideas on suicide.|
The idea of Sati was something we all expect from our wives when we pass this mortal coil, that is, to kill herself in a painful, horrid way in the public, traumatizing little children forever.
|You scored major points if you do it outside a school during lunch break.|
Alas, such a burning love doesn't mean infinite pain threshold to burning the fuck up. And naturally, the widows often tried to flee the flames and put out the fire on her by jumping into rivers or whatever else was avaible, including pots with urine.
But in India, a widow not burning up was more offensive to indians than a crudely drawn picture of mohammed with bare tits are to muslims in Mekka, and thus the widow showed shameful display and her husband's honor was shamed. Now, Indians are a pretty helpful bunch, (which is probably why their favorite job is tech support and call centers) and to save the couple from disgrace, they would gladly help out the widow. Like one time when a widow rebelled against the system and doused her flames, a bunch of nice random people passing by chased her around as if they were in a hilarious benny hill chase scene.
(cue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK6TXMsvgQg for effect)
Unfortunatly for the widow, this wasn't an Adam Sandler movie, and when they finally caught up with the fleeing pile of shame and dishonor, they helpfully broke her legs (and arms, because why not?) and tossed her into the flames.
|They still prefered burning painfully to death than being in an Adam Sandler movie. They did what we all would do.|
Of course, often the widow wouldn't even get close to leaving the inferno, as it was common to encourage the grieving and deathly afraid woman with understanding and deeply empathic words of encouragment in form of severe beatings with wooden canes and other handy comforting blunt weapons, or sometimes, they just cut out the middleman and tied her down to the pyre. Saving everyone from a bit of sweat.
|"Hey thanks for helping me out with this, guys!"|
However, indians was pretty fierce about their ancient tradition, and didn't give two shits about british imposed laws because fuck 'em. So the widow burning kept going. When India finally got independent in 1947, they actually started to bother enforcing the laws (and banning it several times again because some people just don't listen, latest ban being in 1981. You just can't keep them grieving widows down from blazing glory!).
Latest publicly known suttee committed was all the way back to 1999.
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