Ashes of Immortality

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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 158 x 235 x 23.11mm | 564g
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 0226885682
  • 9780226885681

Table of contents

List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Funereal Prelude A Burning in Bali A Question of Words Immortality: Time Reckoned The Truth about Women Speech as Instrument Sexual Colorings Living Satis Blue as Blood Trial by Fire Fire and the Fault of Karma Handprint, Dagger, and Lemon Mutilation and Voluntary Death Rhetoric of Protest Suicide Dizzying Heights of Violence The Trammels of Resentment A Rite of Exorcism The Offering of the Self The Fruits of One's Acts The Corporality of the Dead Death in the Telling Rite and Belief A Sati on the Shore of the Ganges (Stavorinus) A Sati in Surat (Durlabh Ram) The Dream as Proof The Transmission of the Deadly Vow Love in the Extreme Under the Spell of Sacrifice The Goddess's Body Sati Divine, Earthly Satis Cult and Apotheosis Shekhavati, an Endangered Region Belief and Mystification True and False Traditions Cross-Examination of a District The Rite, the Law, and the Custom Ritual and How to Use It A Sati in Poona Shared Passions Menstruation and the Final Oblation The Seasonal Fault A Foreword in Retrospect Notes Glossary Bibliography Index
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About Catherine Weinberger-Thomas

David Gordon White is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of several books, including The Alchemical Body, Kiss of the Yogini, and Sinister Yogis, all published by the University of Chicago Press.
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