Paul B Courtright, “The Death of an Immortal Goddess”: February 26, 2019
The goddess Sati, wife of Shiva, is remembered for self immolation in her father’s fire sacrifice, protesting his rejection of her husband’s share in its benefits. Since the advent of British colonial rule sati has served as the term for a Hindu wife who is immolated on the cremation fire of her deceased husband. After sati was abolished in Bengal in 1829 sati figured as an atrocity of a patriarchal regime appropriating religion for its legitimacy.
Examining sacred narratives and iconographies this lecture will explore perspectives which continue to haunt Hindu understandings of sacrifice, power and gender.