Sati: Facts and Fiction — Meenakshi Jain

About this Course

This Course provides a detailed history of Sati in India. Sati is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to discussing social issues in India. During the British Raj, many harrowing tales of burning widows on pyres of their husbands became common in the West. Were these tales mere concoction of the British? Or was there any truth in them? How much of these legends are true?

Dr. Meenakshi Jain, for the first time, makes a detailed and comprehensive study of the issue and gives answers to many questions about Sati. Was it a religious obligation? Was Sati as an individual any different from what was understood of Sati Pratha? And just how common were the incidences of Sati. This Course will answer all of this and more.

What You’ll Learn

• You will learn whether Sati was a religious obligation in India, whether Sati was forced or voluntary and what was its place in Indian tradition? You will also learn the number of incidences of Sati across various regions of India.
• You will learn the early, medieval and modern accounts about Sati. You will learn the accounts of the missionaries and orientalists about Sati.
• You will learn what the Early British historians, administrators and thinkers thought about Sati, like John Grose, John Howell, Alexander Dow and Warren Hastings.
• You will learn how the Evangelical Movement in India was the primary culprit in creating the myth about Sati as the greatest horror story of India.
• You will learn about the relationship of Sati as a concept and the role of missionaries in them, through case studies of places like Bengal.

Chapter 1 - Sati: Debunking Common Misconceptions

1
1.1 – Was Sati a Religious Obligation?
2
1.2 – Incidence of Sati in Ancient India
3
1.3 – Incidence of Sati in Medieval India
4
1.4 – Incidence of Sati in Central and South India
5
1.5 – Incidence of Sati in Bengal
6
1.6 – Was Sati forced?
7
1.7 – Sati in the Indian Tradition
8
1.8 – Summary
9
Quiz 1
10 questions

Chapter 2 - Sati as described by Foreigners

1
2.1 – Early Accounts
2
2.2 – Medieval Accounts
3
2.3 – Modern Accounts
4
2.4 – Missionaries Vs. Orientalists
5
2.5 – Altering the Narrative
6
Quiz 2
10 questions

Chapter 3 - Early British Appreciation of Indian Civilization

1
3.1 – From John Grose to John Holwell
2
3.2 – From Alexander Dow to Warren Hastings
3
3.3 – The Orientalists
4
3.4 – The Asiatic Society
5
Quiz 3
15 questions

Chapter 4 - The Evangelical Movement

1
4.1 – Charles Grant and the Evangelicals
2
4.2 – Evangelical-Utilitarian Alliance
3
4.3 – The Serampore Missionaries
4
4.4 – Infanticide: A Manufactured Narrative
5
4.5 – From Montgomery to Marsh
6
Quiz 4
15 questions

Chapter 5 - Missionaries and Sati

1
5.1 – Recap
2
5.2 – Missionary Surveys
3
5.3 – Government Surveys
4
5.4 – The Case of Bengal
5
5.5 – Missionary Propaganda
6
Quiz 5
14 questions

Chapter 6 - Abolition of Sati

1
6.1 – Bentinck abolishes Sati
2
6.2 – Two Sides of Sati Debate
3
6.3 – Role of Indian Reformers
4
6.4 – Non-Conformist Voices
5
Quiz 6
9 questions
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