Age of Kali – On Sati And History


“Despite my general opposition to the British Raj, I very much like Sir Charles Napier’s reply to Indians defending suttee: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.” – Masked Avenger

I figured that this was a good time to deal with an interesting part of history. Let us say this. Atheists know precious little about Indian culture or Hinduism. What we know about Islam in general is rather appalling and Hinduism? Well let us just say that when I started out? When I looked for “Ex-Hindu Atheists” the only place I found was the then silent Nirmukhta. I started writing because I saw no one else represent a group of atheists who are small but who do have a different view on the issues and different issues with the views.

I am an atheist. A pretty strong one. However? I also grew up Hindu. It is part of me. My girlfriend (Hera) still goes to the Temple and believes even if I do not. And I do not begrudge her or bemoan her faith. I think if we know the truth about our old religions we can take on the wisdom and ignore the ignorance. And one such is Sati.

Sati to me is a puzzling thing to discuss.

We often bring up the argument of Charles Napier when discussing a culture whose ideas we do not adhere to. In this case? Executions for a Sudanese woman who is considered an apostate. I find the very notion abhorrent but frankly? The adherence to Charles Napier is just as abhorrent.

This is where a small point of contention arises. People often quote Sati as an evil of Hinduism. And the only phrase they know off is from Charles Napier so it appears as if it was only Brits who found the practice “terrible” while ignoring many Hindu reformers throughout Indian history who were involved in it.  Indeed, Christianity and Missionary workers against Hinduism love to promote the notion of Sati being an entrenched evil and universally accepted.

Sati was not widespread during Charles Napier’s era. It was part of a practice akin to Seppuku (I must point out? A practice that is highly romanticised and even fetishised among western audiences). During sieges, as a city fell the women would immolate themselves on a funeral pyre while the men fought to the death in funeral clothes. It was akin to total warfare. And here is the thing. Sati was not a widespread Hindu practice. At no point in its history was it ever universal in Hinduism. Even the literature is clear that Southern Hindus considered the practice as rare and an oddity when it occurred and usually among immigrants to the region. Many Southern Hindu states had bans predating the arrival of the British. In one case the rulers of Travancore asked why the British let the practice occur.

The biggest drivers of the Sati ban was not Brits but Indians. There were a tonne of Indian reformers including Gandhi and Nehru and Ambedkar but most importantly? Raja Ram Mohan Roy. They had bigger pushes to eliminate Sati.

A simple way to look at this are by reading the “idealised” Hindu societies of the epics. The Mahabaratha and Ramayana.

The Ramayana is an older book. It is pre-Biblical dating back to 700 BCE at the earliest. Not one instance of Sati is mentioned despite heroes dying and their wives living on as Widows. Same for the villains. Mandodari and Tara (Ravana’s Wives) explicitly live on after his death. Only in later additions to the book and expansions of the story do we see a single instance of Sati in one case Sita’s Aunt and in another case Ravana’s Daughter in Law (Kushadwaja’s Wife and Indrajit’s Wife) in different additions. Widows expressed the will to die but did so out of love. Despite all portrayals in what western audiences know, Hindu villains tend to be subtle. Ravana for instance? Was a religious man (monster?) and was considered a good and wise king. What his flaw was? Was the flaw of the Trojans. Indeed the Ramayana and the story of Troy has a lot of similar motifs down to the Damsel in Distress. Both stories are among the oldest stories that still are told today of Damsel’s in Distress. Seriously? Ravana wants Sita, sees two brothers who looked like bumpkins and kidnaps one’s wife on his flying chariot causing both of them to go on a epic rampage through his Kingdom supported by a variety of side characters including one that can change size at will. That’s really his crime. His crime was to kidnap a man’s wife.

I want Christians to claim that this is Hindu Propaganda

The Mahabaratha has only one instance of something akin to Sati. Madri, the wife of Pandu kills herself on his pyre but she does so out of guilt and the practice is explicitly forbidden. Pandu was cursed to die if he had sex. Madri had sex knowing he would die from it. She killed herself from guilt. The sages sought to stop her begging her to not jump into the fire claiming that this was an act of pointlessness. In later newer rewritings. The wives of Vasu and some of those of Krishna choose to die but these are later additions. Like 1000 years later additions.

The funny thing with Sati is? That it was so old a practice that it died out once before. It was considered silly among early Vedic Hindus with funerary rites indicating that a widow should return to her family and even remarry. The funeral goods of a Hindu man would be placed in the care of his wife who would take them back along with her jewellery to her family and if she could? She could remarry. The practice was clearly stated within the dialogue of Hinduism. The practice was a “sati” too. Her identity as a wife was “burned” with her husband’s body. In western culture? It would be like burying your wedding dress and ring since those were the identifiers of your marital status. Not her actual being. The early commentary on the Vedas (1000 BCE) are very candid about the practice being purely symbolic. It could be that the practice of Sati was eliminated from Hinduism at one point already.

From around 500 AD to 1300 AD we see a rise in the glorification of real Sati. The probable trigger may have been Greek. Lest we forget? The Greeks also had a practice of widow burning and there were Greek influences in India. It’s where the name’s of Amritsar (Ambrosia and Amrita are very similar substances in Greek and Hindu theology) and Sikandar and Iskander (Alexander) come from. The Mauryan dynasty married Greeks from the Seulecid successor states and the practice may have restarted due to similarities in theology with wife burning being a royal practice that was adopted in the general population.

The elimination of Sati began before 1857 which was when India came under direct rule. The British logged 500 to 600 cases a year. In a population of 300 million. That is a rather small number. The reason was there were already drives in place to eliminate it. The British just codified it into a universal law. India was a series of balkanised states at this point so the law was different in different parts. Many southern independent states already had standing bans on it.

Throughout Hindu history there are repeated people speaking out against it. Even during it’s hey day during 1000 AD (note… Long before the British Arrived) there were theological arguments pointing out Sati as an inferior choice. It is quite simple. The reward for Sati is Heaven. The reward for living is Morksha. Transcendence beats Heaven in Hinduism.

And the modern Sati still exists, except they live. It is called Jitvit and a symbol of how religion can change. A jitvit is a sati who refused to be burned and it is considered a bigger sacrifice because they are trading heaven for earth. Hindus created the notion an a theological stance to oppose the religious push of Sati.

To you it may be appearing to dance through hoops but we must remember? Dancing through hoops gave us Sati in the first place. This was just a way for Hindus to demonstrate why they survived and consumed all invaders. Why Indian culture is so robust and prone to amalgamating others. It is flexible and has a deep habit off irreverence, discourse and philosophy. It is a pragmatic faith. Old rituals for horses still remain, now used to bless cars and motorcycles. It is dancing through hoops that allowed us to ban slavery in the west. Every damn religion dances through the hoops to make ancient theology fit modern life. It is just that Hindus have thrived for more than 3000 years and have gotten better at it. I jest that Indians are the only group of people who can take astronomy and modern computers and use it to play astrologer. Hindus survive in this way despite modernity. The Hindu priests even have telephone and Skype ceremonies to bless people. Their iPhones ring to devotional music.

The earliest pushes against Sati date back to a pre-biblical time where Hindu commentators spoke out against it and indeed about the rarity of the practice in Hindu texts. In the end the stronghold of Sati Was Bengal. And the biggest driver of the destruction of Sati there was Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Who began his work in 1810. 20 years before the British got in on the action and 40 years before the total ban. It wasn’t fear of the noose that killed Sati. It was Indians. It was at his behest the law was created.

Since Independence there have been just 40 known cases of Sati. In a country of 1.2 billion people and it is still illegal. Even to promote it. And I completely agree with that stance. It is a dangerous and poisonous part of Hindu history but we aren’t going to learn anything or oppose it by listening to Charles Napier.

Less than 1 per year. One can argue that women who commit suicide in the USA or the UK after the death of a loved one are committing Sati too. Remember, Sati was seen as an act of love. A lover killing herself to be with her tragically dead husband. Stories of Sati, even the most recent one are spoke of as if they were tragic loves. Romeo and Juliet.

The problem with Sati is the same as Seppuku. The practice was demonised to show the barbarism of Indians and justify colonialism. Seppuku was done to lionise the Japanese. Seppuku made them honourable and brave. Sati was portrayed as the Sati of Around the World in 80 Days. Of savage beings in a savage that robbed women of their agency by a society that placed women on a pedestal.

So remember, when you speak of Sati. It isn’t the Sati of Around the World in 80 days. Of Victorian villains who needed civilisation with the Maxim gun. By all accounts? Roop Kanwar (the last known Sati) walked onto the pyre willingly. If we can conceive young men from the Islamic faith going on suicidal and self destructive runs. If we can consider Japanese men committing suicide for honour in an equally painful way. Why do we not consider Satis as the same? Is it because women are weak?

Sati is dead as it should be. I do not bemoan its loss. I think it was a bad part of Hindu culture, that lionised female sacrifice from a period of Hinduism that place blame on women for all of man’s sins. The idea of forced Sati does exist within Hindu literature during the mid and late part of the height of Sati but it was opposed by anti-Sati activists in Hinduism who wrote from the standpoint of humanist ideals and a rejection of dogma. And would you like to know the biggest joke?

The biggest pro-forced Sati proponent in Indian literature was Tryambakayajvan. It is a female name. A woman was one of the most strong opponents of the Hindu reform to finally stamp out Sati as a practice.

But please don’t bring it up as some sort of sign of Western Enlightenment over a practice that was fought for a greater period of time than the religion and culture that actually broke it. It wasn’t white men or Christianity who destroyed it but Hindus and Indian men and women who long opposed the practice. The first anti-sati statements pre-date Christianity.

And I will leave with these words on the practice of Sati

“it is a path followed by the ignorant. It is a mere freak of madness, a path of ignorance, an enterprise of recklessness, a view of baseness, a sign of utter thoughtlessness and a blunder or folly that one should resign life on the death of the father, brother, friend or the husband. Are you not unique? If you believe in gods do you not agree that you are so bereft of purpose to be created to be doomed on the pyre? Are your gods that cruel to torment you and punish you for something that you cannot control? What wife is to blame over the death of a husband by accident or disease or war? It is bad luck, health and kings to blame for those, not women. What sins must you have committed for so many to be punished this way? If life leaves us not of itself, we must not resign it. For this leaving of life, if we examine it, is merely for our own interest because we cannot bear our own pain. What pain we may think of as terminal will cure with time. It is pain that defines us as human beings and to endure this pain can make us grow stronger. In time, the pain will pass and we will laugh and smile again. Live. If the gods exist then that is the best advice I can think of that will honour them the most. The gods are not cruel”

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Comments

  1. mahalaoeveryone says

    Really?

    Atheist my jodphurs!

    This is just a revisionist apologetic that if you’re on south asian discussion boards enough, you can recognize the hand of the “internet hindu” basically a RSS shakha on IT duty.

    The “atheist” handle is just an attempt give a illusion of non-bias to a argument style very recognizable.

    No praise to the British but yes it is because of their coming “hindu reformers” felt ashamed enough about the practice to start protesting.

    And your examples of tons of indian reformers?

    All were western educated/influenced including Raja Ram Mohan Roy (very influenced by christianity, you’re ignorant if you don’t know this, or trying to pull the wool over people’s eye).

    Even the mention of Travancore (a coastal kingdom early on influenced by christians and europeans) bolsters the argument of non-hindu morality shaming hindus into finally doing something.

    This might of been the one thing the British did right (wish they weren’t imperialist racist bastards, but power corrupts absolutely).

  2. qwints says

    I don’t think a religion can take credit for stopping an atrocity it came up with in the first place.

  3. says

    Considering that during the same time periods, the British were enslaving and killing young women for the crime of daring to have children without first belonging to a man as well as other ‘crimes’, it’s really rather difficult to believe that Britain was a ‘reformer’ in this case.

  4. says

    As well as considering that during this same time period, the British were often enslaving young Indian women as well… and come to think of it, shortly before this time period, they were often committing genocides of indigenous people in places they ‘colonized’, it’s really hard to give them credit for ‘abolishing’ an already rare and dying practice.

  5. says

    @1. Er… this is one of the largest ex-Hindu atheist blogs out there. So… No? It is just a proper historical look from someone who paid a bit more attention. And considering I have quoted Valmiki (1000 BCE to 750 BCE) one notices that it pre-dates the British.

    And please… the RSS would not demonstrate this level of knowledge and frank understanding of Hinduism. Nor of Christianity or Islam.

    I just merely did my homework and think that atheists are better served by the truth.

    But sure.. One of the largest ex-Hindu atheist blogs out there is run by the RSS! What a joke! Jesus Christ on a stick! If I had RSS funding I would be a lot better off!

  6. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Considering that during the same time periods, the British were enslaving and killing young women for the crime of daring to have children without first belonging to a man

    Having bastard children was socially disapproved of in Britain, but I don’t think it was ever actually a crime punished by death,even under the Commonwealth. Even the social disapproval was also class-related: aristocrats and gentry who could support their bastards were not disapproved of particularly.
    British disapproval of suttee was also not absolute: see this poem by Kipling: http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/last_suttee.html

  7. mastmaker says

    I am from South India, and as far as I know, Sati was rarely practiced in South India, and in those instances where it was practiced, it was by a dead warrior’s wife. I don’t think the practice was ever universal.

    I think Avicenna has handled the subject well, and only addition I could think of is this: The probable reason for the practice of Sati coming to prominence, is the same as the reason for child marriages becoming widespread: Avoiding the shame to family due to the affairs/seduction/rape of unmarried/widowed women. Patriarchy at work!

  8. says

    But please don’t bring it up as some sort of sign of Western Enlightenment

    Oh hell no. Now there is a practice that needs to be stamped out too.

    @1 Your final parenthetical expression makes sense, but the rest is just noise. And Making Shit Up™.

    @2 That is quite possibly the most idiotic and easily falsifiable thing I’ve seen today. Congratulations.

  9. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    how many babies did they just unearth from a septic tank again?

    That was in independent Ireland, actually, Withinthisstate.
    Certain, Thomas Coram’s Foundlings’ hospital and its equivalents and successors set out to raise the children in their care without disadvantage or stigma.

  10. Holms says

    @12
    You said British. Try calling an Irish Republican that they are British and see how they react.

    Hint: run.

  11. Holms says

    Oops, meant to hit preview rather than submit.

    Additionally, I would not characterise the neglect of foster children as ’rounding up and killing’ them. Especially since you initially said that the mothers were being killed, but then cited the deaths of their fostered children.

  12. cartomancer says

    It’s a bit of a stretch trying to pin a rise in the prevalence of this custom from 500-1300 AD on direct Greek influences – especially Seleucid ones. The Seleucid dynasty collapsed in 63BC when Pompey the Great conquered what remained of their Empire in Syria. Between Pompey’s conquests and 500AD the lands between Greece and India were ruled by the Parthians, Bactrians, Sassanids, Osroenian Syrians and many others. And while most of these peoples preserved some Greek cultural influences among their many other idiosyncracies, there was no fresh infusion of Greek culture to the Indian subcontinent around 500AD that might have led to a change in attitudes to widows and funeral customs. Maybe a little bit of Byzantine influence through trade, but hardly a renaissance of Hellenism.

    At best one could say that a melting pot of existing cultural notions threw up a renewed interest in archaic sati customs, but after 800 years of cultural intermixing it would be a considerable stretch to see anything distinctly Greek in this. The Greek-derived elements would have become an integral part of native Indian culture after such a length of time.

  13. RJW says

    @1

    Another thing that the British ‘did right’ was to introduce democracy and other Western imperialist concepts to India–complete racist bastards weren’t they?

  14. RJW says

    @15

    Yes, indeed a stretch,why glibly attribute the custom to European influences?

    Many of the civilisations listed had a common Indo-European cultural origin, so who really knows who to ‘blame’.

  15. says

    Holms –

    Of course you wouldn’t characterize the slaughter of foster children as ’rounding up and killing them’. Crimes committed by whites in western cultures are always, well, ‘white-washed’, aren’t they? The mothers were enslaved, and yes, some of them killed, and the children starved and neglected with the deliberate intent of killing them. And of course, you should at some point take a look at what the ‘British Empire’ did to aboriginal cultures (especially Australia) if you think they actually ‘disapproved’ of burning people alive.

    As for the British ‘introducing’ democracy, that’s kind of a funny thing to claim about something that called itself the ‘British Empire’ and ruled rather like despots, don’t you think?

  16. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    I’ve always loved that quote and thought it was spot on. In a metaphorical sense if not necessarily a factual one.

    Also read and enjoyed rewarding ‘Around the world in 80 Days’ too.

    But thankyou, Avicenna, for such an informative and thought provoking post. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it but it was well-written and interesting and makes a good case.

  17. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    ^ For clarity that quote = the “Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.” one. Which I gather was Napier’s and maybe from the famous Around the World in 80 days’ novel?

  18. Holms says

    Crimes committed by whites in western cultures are always, well, ‘white-washed’, aren’t they?

    Perhaps in other cases, but here because ‘execution’ and ‘neglect’ are two different concepts and you are trying to conflate them. Also, the point remains that the case you cite was in independant Ireland. Oh and it does not appear that it is being whitewashed at all, there appears to be plenty of outrage, made all the more remarkable given how steeped in Catholicism that nation is.

  19. says

    @Holms you really aren’t paying the slightest bit of attention, are you? ‘Independent Ireland’ my ass, Ireland still isn’t independent of the British Empire.

    And ‘different concepts’ really? I mean, are you serious? For real? They executed the children via neglect, because to them children are non-people. I mean, if I gave you the choice between a quick double-tap to the head execution style or being locked in a room with filthy water and no food until you expired, really, which would you choose? You think calling it neglect rather than execution actually makes it LESS horrifying? As for ‘plenty of outrage’, really? You actually think the church is going to suffer for this at all? It’s already falling off the news radar, and there are already people, like you, trying to white-wash it as ‘well it really wasn’t all that bad now, it’s not like they ‘executed’ them, right?’

    Even after slavery was abolished by the British empire, they still practiced it, they just called them ‘servants’ instead of slaves. Still raped and beat them though. For that matter, still raping and beating them.

    Bothered to look up yet what they did to the aboriginal cultures of their territories?

    Going to acknowledge that somewhere around 90% of the cultural warfare issues in Africa and the middle east are a result of the British Empire drawing arbitrary lines on a map and calling them ‘borders’?

    Think at any point you might try learning from history at all? Try googling the phrase ‘terra nullius’. It’s a lot like ‘manifest destiny’. You might also try googling ‘stolen generation’.

  20. Holms says

    @Holms you really aren’t paying the slightest bit of attention, are you?

    Incorrect.

    ‘Independent Ireland’ my ass, Ireland still isn’t independent of the British Empire.

    Try not to say that should you visit the Irish Republic, you might get your face rearranged.

    And ‘different concepts’ really?

    Yes.

    I mean, are you serious?

    Yes.

    For real?

    Yes.

    They executed the children via neglect, because to them children are non-people.

    Incorrect. They killed those children, but not all killing is execution. Sometimes, it is neglect.

    I mean, if I gave you the choice between a quick double-tap to the head execution style or being locked in a room with filthy water and no food until you expired, really, which would you choose?

    I have no idea.

    You think calling it neglect rather than execution actually makes it LESS horrifying?

    No. I am not differentiating between neglectful death and execution to make it less icky, I am differentiating between them because they are different things. The key difference is that execution requires intent to kill, while neglect requires apathy. This does not make them less dead nor the incident less horrible, I simply dislike misrepresenting things. You accuse me of trying to soften the blow, but I accuse you of the opposite: you are deliberately conflating the two words to make the sorry fucking saga more dramatic. I am not using a euphamism, you are using a dysphamism.

    As for ‘plenty of outrage’, really?

    Really.

    You actually think the church is going to suffer for this at all?

    Huh? I actually have no idea if it will or not.

    It’s already falling off the news radar, and there are already people, like you, trying to white-wash it as ‘well it really wasn’t all that bad now, it’s not like they ‘executed’ them, right?’

    Using the correct words to describe the events is not whitewashing, it’s accuracy.

    Even after slavery was abolished by the British empire, they still practiced it, they just called them ‘servants’ instead of slaves. Still raped and beat them though. For that matter, still raping and beating them.

    I see you have a bit of a fixation here. Remember, we’re only wandering this far afield because someone objected to your first reply in which you characterised Britain as ‘enslaving and killing (later ‘executing’)’ women who had kids out of marriage / kids who were born out of wedlock… which led to you characterising these 800 dead kids as executions just to support your claim. All of which is in reply to a post that was not giving the British any credit for ending the practice of Sati anyway. Remember the post to which we are replying?

    Bothered to look up yet what they did to the aboriginal cultures of their territories?

    Even further afield in your completely unnecessary efforts to strip the British of credit for ending Sati. Again, I say unnecessary because the post was all about stripping them of credit for it in the first place. Also, I am Australian and thus likely know that history better than you.

    Going to acknowledge that somewhere around 90% of the cultural warfare issues in Africa and the middle east are a result of the British Empire drawing arbitrary lines on a map and calling them ‘borders’?

    90% British caused? No. Now you are displaying your single issue fanaticism here. You appear to have no idea just how many European powers carved pieces out of Africa for their own profit. Initially, Portugal; everyone else was late to the plunder, with France and Britain eventually taking about a third of the continent each. Again, I’m not trying to give the Brits a free pass, I’m just trying to be accurate.

    Think at any point you might try learning from history at all? Try googling the phrase ‘terra nullius’. It’s a lot like ‘manifest destiny’. You might also try googling ‘stolen generation’.

    Regarding Australian history, I may actually know more than you, because I have actually had an interest in history for some years and have lived here all my life. Regarding African history, I may not know a great deal, but it is apparent that you know less thanks to your habit of viewing everything through your anti-England filter.

    P.S. I think my response to you was much more reasonable than what you deserve. Is it possible for you to go a single post without an insults and sneering?

  21. RJW says

    @22

    “Ireland still isn’t independent of the British Empire.”

    What British Empire, are you one of those American fantasists who think that the British Empire still exists? The UK is governed by Brussels these days.

    “Going to acknowledge that somewhere around 90% of the cultural warfare issues in Africa and the middle east are a result of the British Empire drawing arbitrary lines on a map and calling them ‘borders’?”

    90%, how did you calculate that figure? Various ethnic and religious groups in the ME and Africa had been massacring each other long before the British ever colonised either area.

    @23 Holms, agreed. The British left a far better legacy than any other imperial power.

  22. says

    @Holms

    Yeah, the Irish have some denial about their cultural similarities to the British. So do the Scots. It’s like a Siamese and a Ragdoll trying to explain to a frog that they really aren’t the same sort of thing at all.

    Yes, Holms, they executed those children. Neglect was the weapon they used. They wanted the children gone, and so got rid of them. They did exactly what they INTENDED to do. Are you actually trying to claim that starving 800 children to death and throwing them into a septic tank was done by accident?

    The British didn’t end Sati. Avicenna explained to you how claiming the British ended Sati is false. It’s like claiming the British ended the Native American practice of human sacrifice. Sure, the Native Americans haven’t sacrificed any humans since being genocided by the British colonists, but that ignores the fact it was rare to the point of unheard off long before they came along.

    I see you have no interest in learning anything from history. As an Australian, it is clear that you would prefer what was done to the people who lived in Australia before the British came along be forgotten, as to do otherwise might force you to recognize some of your own privilege. If you ‘knew’ the history, you’d know what was done to the Aboriginals. You aren’t much different than the fundies who claim that what was done to the Native Americans was in their best interest because it ‘civilized’ them. I’m happy to insult and sneer at the people who would white-wash the atrocities committed, as they deserve no less. I can’t wait to hear your white-washing of things like the Convincing Ground Massacre, or Gwydir River, or Gippsland, or Lake Minimup, or Goulbolba Hill, or… I’d go on, but I think I made my point.

    The British Empire practiced genocide. I can totally see exactly how someone could claim that’s a ‘much better’ legacy than other Imperial powers. NO imperial power has ever left a legacy that can really be considered ‘good’.

  23. Holms says

    I’m questioning the wisdom in attempting to communicate with you.

    Your paragraph 1 ignores the fact that the Irish Republic IS NOT ENGLISH by saying that they are English, because you know better than they do about their own identity, they’re just in denial.

    P2 Simply ignores everything contrary to your narrative. You’ve now said that the deaths are explicitly intentional because, well, you say so. No explanation given for why the death toll was less than 100% for these babies if their deaths were planned. Maybe some of the older toddlers overpowered their captors! …No. It’s clear that the catholic ‘carers’ had a duty of care, failed it in extreme fashion, and thereby caused direct harm. Textbook negligence, which is not execution because they are different things separated primarily by intent. Not that you’ll pay any attention whatsoever, but there it is.

    P3 continues arguing against a position occupied by no one. Seriously, no one here is objecting to Avicenna’s post, and the post was specifically about pointing out that the ‘Britain ended Sati’ narrative is overblown. But then, I pointed that out in my previous post too, so fuck knows why you insist on pretending that I am defending the old narrative.

    P4 continues the trend of arguing against a position that is entirely your own invention, but this time it is possibly due to my own ambiguous wording. In my previous reply, I didn’t say much about Australian colonial history, other than to say 1) that it was not especially germane to an article on Indian self immolation, except as ammunition against the British in general; and 2) that I was Australian, which is the bit that perhaps needs elaboration. I am Australian, therefore I am well aware of those points you made regarding the colonisation of Australia. The stolen generation and terra nullius are both well known and heavily shameful, with plenty of lesser known events to add to the turmoil. We had school lessons on that stuff! There have been big reconciliation talks relatively recently! This shit has been on public news! You are lecturing someone that already knows.

    With that said, your tirade mystefies me. For some reason, you have assumed that I am / have ever defended any of it. You may as well be talking to someone else, a phantom me of your own devising, with views and posts entirely independant of what I have written. How about I just stand aside while you converse with yourself? You say your lines, I’ll say my lines, but then you’ll ignore my lines and just feel free to attribute any old bollocks to me and pretend those are my real views. You don’t need me to participate when you are simply inventing my position as you go along, so, adios.

    P.S.
    At least you dropped the blatant falsehoods regarding Africa! I’ll take that as a victory, since it is apparent to me that you got that 90% figure, and African colonisation in general, from your own arse.

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