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Death By Fire: Sati, Dowry Death and Female Infanticide in Modern India

Sen, Mala

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ISBN 10: 0297607243 / ISBN 13: 9780297607243
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2001
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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1st edition, 8vo, 270pp, VG+/Fine Copy in VG+/Fine DJ. Bookseller Inventory # 29878

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Death By Fire: Sati, Dowry Death and Female ...

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition

About this title


Although banned by the British in 1929, sati cases have reappeared recently, most notably the incident involving Roop Kanwar in 1987. A careful study of Roop Kanwar, Indian society and values, and the role of politics in positioning women in modern India.

From the Back Cover:

The Indian village of Deorala in Rajasthan, the northwestern Indian state that borders Pakistan, is neither remote nor feudal in the strictest sense. A tarmac road links the population of 10,000 to neighboring villages and towns, there is running water and electricity, and the villagers have had television for more than twenty years. On September 4, 1987, Deorala found itself in the center of a furor that awoke age-old conflicts in Indian society. Before a crowd of several thousand people, mostly men, a young woman dressed in her bridal finery was burned alive on her husband's funeral pyre. The apparent revival of an ancient tradition opened old wounds in Indian society and focused world attention on the status and treatment of women in modern India.

The ancient practice of sati-the self-immolation of a woman on her husband's funeral pyre-was outlawed by the British administration in India in 1829, and sati was widely believed to have died out. The fate of 18-year-old Roop Kanwar changed that perception. Mala Sen explores the reality of life and death for women in modern India in a study that is both illuminating and terrifying. The book is part journey through the India that the author knows and loves, and part exploration of the enigma that India still remains in the minds of many. Starting with Kanwar, Sen enters the worlds of three women: a goddess, a burned bride, and a woman accused of killing her daughter, and shows how, in this society in which ancient and modern apparently co-exist comfortably, there is increasingly cause for real alarm. She creates an image of a state in which political turmoil is constantly at the surface, and in which the role of women is constantly being redefined.

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