INDIA: Widow's Way

Suttee, the old Hindu custom of widow's suicide on the funeral pyre, has been banned in India since 1829; today it occurs rarely and then only in inaccessible villages in backward regions. No one had expected to see the rite performed in the large, well-kept Rajasthan capital of Jaipur (pop. 175,000). One day last week Shroff Ballabhdas, a prosperous banker and coin appraiser of Jaipur, died. His fair and dainty widow Chhimi, 35, mother of five children, put on her many jewels, donned her finest mauve silk sari and announced that she would throw herself on her husband's pyre.

Word spread...

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