Reviving sati


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VHP reviving 'sati'

DH News Service

The practice of 'sati` abolished by William Bentinck in 1828 is being revived by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the 52nd Hindu
calendar century beginning next month which it declared as the 'Hindu centenary`.

International vice-president of the VHP Acharya Giriraj Kishore who once reacted to the Roop Kanwar case by saying that
''Hindu dharma has no space for sati`` was now defending the practice: ''There is nothing wrong if any woman who cannot bear
the separation from her husband opts to join him in his funeral pyre.``

The VHP leader said the revival of 'sati` would not be out of tune with the VHP`s ideology of establishing Hindu Rashtra.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy launched his reform movement against the heinous practice in the 18th century. The spirit of humanism
that inspired the social reformer to take up cudgels against such dogmatic beliefs is now being negated by the likes of
Dharmendra Maharaj, the priest who presided over the ritual of self-immolation committed by Roop Kanwar upon the death of
her husband in Rajasthan. Dharmendra Maharaj of Jaipur, is in no mean a position within the hierarchy of the religious
parliament. He is the president of the Sansad`s Kendriya Margadarshan Samiti, the steering committee of the religious
parliament. It was he who moved the resolution at the Sansad here to implement the agenda of the Hindu Rashtra and gave the
call to the Bharatiya Janata Party to work towards forming Hindu Rashtra.

When this correspondent asked Acharya Giriraj Kishore why Dharmendra Maharaj had such an important position in the
religious parliament, he evaded a direct answer.

Most of the 50-odd sadhvis who participated in the parliament consisting of about 5,000 sadhus, strongly disapproved of the
revival of the practice of 'sati`. Sadhvi Meerama of the Ramanuj Sampraday had categorically opposed the practice. Having
been an ascetic for the past 40 years, she now condemns 'sati` as a brutal act.

Sadhvi Paramanandamayi of the Bharat Sewashram`s women`s wing also condemned it and observed that, ''Very often such
heinous acts are committed to extort the property of the widows.``

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Last updated: February 23, 2000 .