Homework: Women, Purity, and Sati in the Mughal Empire.

Tonight for homework, please read and annotate the secondary and primary source you received in class today (Women and Sati in Mughal India).  After reading and analyzing the text, please respond to the following discussion points:

Why was sati more prevalent in high-caste communities?  What were the social and religious justifications for sati?

Consider the primary source you have regarding sati.  What limitations does it have as a source?  Do you think an Indian source would have the same limitations, or would there be other issues to consider when evaluating a similar type of source?

Do you think a female author would have approached the discussion of sati in the same way as a male author?  Why or why not?  Consider the first description of a widow participating in sati in the primary source.  What do you think would have motivated her to carry out this act?  How might she have understood her actions? Can you understand why she might have participated in this act?

Having also read Women in the Ottoman Empire, do you notice any significant similarities in the social role of women in the Gunpowder Empires?

Remember, normal commenting rules apply: one good comment addressing ALL of the discussion points can earn up to 95%, while a comment and response to someone else’s discussion can earn you full credit.

(If you would like a link to the primary source document on the Ottoman empire and gender, please look at the previous entry on this blog. I’ll try to link to it directly in a bit, but for some reason I can’t edit WordPress on my computer right now, and am thus writing this update on my phone, which is less than ideal.)

Nevermind, everything is working now and I’ve gone back and added in the necessary links!

85 thoughts on “Homework: Women, Purity, and Sati in the Mughal Empire.

  1. Sati is more prevalent in high-caste families because the wife in a high caste family can afford not to re marry because her parents were well off and can afford to take care of her unlike in the lower classes were the parents arranged marriages more for economic advantages the women would just be a financial burden. In the laws of Manu it states that a Hindu women must remain sati upon the death of her husband.The primary source is from the point of view of an outsider I think a better primary source would be from an Indian because this is a common cultural practice to them unlike a primary source from a European where this is an unheard of cultural practice.I feel like a female author would have approached the discussion in a different way because she would feel more directly effected and she would not be the one being honored but be the one honoring someone else.I think that the widows husbands family motivated her to partake in the act in the primary source. She understood her actions by learning at a young age what happens if your husband dies and what the importance of doing that is. She partook in this act because it was religious ritual and she wanted to honor her husband.In all the gunpowder empires women are given less power than the men and the men are the head of the household and society.


  2. Sati was more prevalent for high class women because their families could afford it if the woman did not re-marry after their husband’s death. In the laws of Manu women are to remain sati after their husband’s death which means they remain loyal and act as if their husbands were still alive. I think an Indian point of view would be much better because it it’s an Indian practice. Sati would also be radically differently from a woman’s point of view because she would have a greater understanding of what sati means.


  3. Sati was more prevalent in high caste society because the girls performing it were from wealthy families who could provide for themselves without her having to remarry.
    The primary source is limited by he ac that it was written by a European who was no accustomed to he practice of Sati so to them it seemed cruel.
    If the source had been written by a girl that was about to perform Sati or a girl that had seen Sati performed, then she may have talked about how it is an honor, or possibly how it was an unfair tradition. There also would no limitations to the source because it would be written by a girl that is part of the culture. I think a girl performing Sati would be have understood her actions to be honorable. Even if she didn’t want to die, she still could have seen it as he “right” thing to do.


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