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Gender and History in Modern South Asia # 1 - Essay Example

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The colonial history in India is one of the most diverse because it shows many similarities and contradictions in the policies that were instituted by the colonial government. The people of India during this period received colonial policies in different way with some accepting…
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Gender and History in Modern South Asia Essay # 1
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Gender and History in Modern South Asia # 1

Download file to see previous pages... This paper seeks to assess an essay by Lata Mani, in a bid to discuss the parallels between the contemporary scholarship and official colonial knowledge in a bid to show that colonial policies were not always put in place with an understanding of the wishes of the local population.
Mani states that one of the reasons that the colonial government abolished the right known as sati was as a result of the belief that it was an inhuman practice that did not put into consideration the rights of the women who underwent it.1 Colonial officials believed that sati was done because the family of women’s husbands did not wish to be saddled with the upkeep of widows. Furthermore, it was believed that these families did not wish widows to contest their husbands’ estates and this was a reason why they were coerced to undergo the right. The result was that the colonial government came to believe that the women who underwent sati were coerced to do so by greedy relatives and members of the Brahmin caste who were called upon to officiate the occasion. Colonial officials wished to institute laws that were designed to ensure that women were protected against what they saw as the depravity of the whole practice of sati, hence the move to abolish it. However, contemporary scholarship shows that despite there being some cases of women being coerced to undergo sati, a significant number of them went willingly and there were instances where despite being held back by their relatives, they fought their way to the pyre so that they could go with their husbands. In addition, contemporary scholarship shows that some people within the local population were also opposed to sati and made arguments that mirrored those of colonial officials. Contemporary scholars are shown to believe that the sati would have eventually have come to an end in India without the intervention of the colonial ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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