Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India. Author(s): Lata Mani. Source: Cultural Critique, No. 7, The Nature and Context. Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India. By LATA MANI. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, Pp. xiv + $ (paper ). Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India, by Lata Mani,. Berkeley, University of California Press, Pp. xiv + This important book – a.

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Nielsen Book Data Bibliography Includes bibliographical references p. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. A scene, the most perfectly hellish that we ever saw, was presented as way was made for the woman to the pit, and its margin was left clear; she advanced to the edge facing her husband, and two or three times waved her right hand; she then hastily walked round the pit, and in one place I thought the flames caught her legs; having completed the circle, she again waved her hand as before, and then jumped into the fire.

The debate on sati circulating in Bengal and Britain between andincluded East India Company EIC officials, Hindu pundit s scholarsBengali bhadralok “respectable” class, urban-based and upper-castemunshi s teachers[End Page ] Christian missionaries, and members of Parliament, among others, but excluded entirely the voices of Indian women.

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This is the book that many have waited for. Bampton’s eyewitness account of sati performed by an “infatuated woman” recorded insome five years before the British colonial regime outlawed this “dreadful rite” inrepresents a common missionary discourse found in most accounts:.

Publisher’s Summary “Contentious Traditions” analyzes the debate on sati, or widow burning, in colonial India. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Between the first recorded colonial discussion of sati in and its abolition inthe EIC promulgated four circulars on the practice. This exclusion of woman as subject framed the patriarchal discourse both of British colonial officials and indigenous interlocutors.


Describe the connection issue. The history of widow burning is one of paradox. The Company saw customary practices as “degraded,” “superstitious,” and ensuring the “corrupt” power of Brahmin priests. Lata Mani’s Contentious Traditions is an examination of this debate.

Disciplines Anthropology Cultural Anthropology Asian. Journal of World History. Though the prohibition of widow burning in was heralded as a key step forward for women’s emancipation in modern India, Lata Mani argues that the women who were burned were marginal to the debate and that the controversy was coloonial definitions of Hindu tradition, the place of ritual in religious worship, the civilizing missions of colonialism and evangelism, and the proper role of the colonial state.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. The most prominent of the four, the Circular ofdistinguished “legal” from “illegal” sati based on specific and contradictory interpretations of Hindu scripture.

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Reviews “An important and disturbing book. University of California Press, c About the Book Contentious Traditions analyzes the debate on satior widow burning, in colonial India. Book titles OR Journal titles. While the chief players in the debate argued over the religious basis of sati and the fine points of scriptural interpretation, the testimonials of women at the funeral pyres consistently addressed the material hardships and societal expectations attached to widowhood.

Project MUSE – Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (review)

Physical description xiv, p. This was also the period of the Bengal “Renaissance,” associated with Roy’s social reform movement, depicted in Indian nationalist historiography as a modern bhadralok social force that eventually influenced the composition of later anti-colonial nationalist discourse. For Mani, marks a distinct shift in the structure and mission of the EIC from a trading company to that of a colonial, a revenue collecting state, the result of a “complex mediation structured by relations of domination and subordination” p.


Chapter 1 examines the production of colonial knowledge on the subject. Browse related items Start at call number: These three “publics” represent the discursive elements in the formation of colonial discourse on sati.

Bampton’s eyewitness account of sati performed by an “infatuated woman” recorded insome five years before the British colonial regime outlawed this “dreadful rite” inrepresents a common missionary discourse found in most accounts: Mani radically revises colonialist as well as nationalist historiography on the social reform of women’s status in the colonial period and clarifies the complex and contradictory character of missionary writings on India.

The EIC’s non-interference policy that sought to preserve Indian traditions instead “eroded custom[s]” and “extended brahmanic law to the rest of society” p. Mani presents the multiple forces, the discursive strategies implemented by both reformers and conservatives, in indigenous male discourse on sati. Lata Mani has reopened the archives on widow burning in colonial India.

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traditinos Skip to search Skip to main content. Find it at other libraries via WorldCat Limited preview. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. In this debate between and among EIC [End Page ] officials and indigenous male elite, “women are neither subjects nor Journal of World History