Ashes of Immortality: Widow-burning in India

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This work attempts to see the satis - the Hindu custom of women sacrificing themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands - through Hindu eyes, providing an experiential and psychoanalytic account of ritual self-sacrifice and self-mutilation in South Asia. Based on 15 years of fieldwork in northern India, where the state-banned practice of satis re-emerged in the 1970s, as well as textual analysis, Catherine Weinberger-Thomas constructs a radically new interpretation of satis. She shows that their self-immolation transcends gender, caste and class, region and history, representing for the Hindus a path to immortality.