Author ORCID Identifier
Widow immolation, India, Sati, Citizenship, Personhood, Agency, Charan Shah, Penal Code
Charan Shah's 1999 death was widely considered to be the first sati, or widow immolation, to have occurred in India in over twenty years. Media coverage of the event focused on procedural minutiae-her sari, her demeanor-and ultimately, several progressive commentators came to the counterintuitive conclusion that the ritually anomalous nature of Charan's death confirmed its voluntary, secular, and noncriminal nature. This article argues that the "unlabeling" of Charan's death, like those of other women between 1999 and 2006, reflects a tension between the nonindividuated, impervious model of personhood exemplified by sati and the particularized citizen-subject of liberal-democratic politics in India.
PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review
Deepa Das Acevedo, Changing the Subject of Sati, 43 PoLAR 37 (2020).
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