Suttee is epistemologically the feminine of sat, or true, and hence it is a generic term for a chaste woman; sati is the more popular spelling. The term has come to denote the custom of widow immolation on her husband's funeral pyre, by force or by her own volition. The custom was begun by the Aryans when they settled in northern India. With the advent of the Mughals, the custom became more popular when, in order to save their honor, the war widows of the Rajput families performed collective immolation-suttee (also known as jauhar).

There were norms laid down for the ritual, and in Yallajeeyam, one finds instructions about the methods and practitioners of the custom. What began as a means to ...

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