INDIA: Suttee Boom

Siva, the many-ratured and versatile god of destruction, is doing a land-office business in Jodhpur these days. Ever since the Hindu widow Sugan Kunwar Singh flung herself sacrificially—and illegally—into the flames of her husband's funeral pyre last October (TIME, Nov. 1), Jodhpur has been on a religious binge. Self-styled holy men from miles around have swarmed into town to cash in on the popular fervor. Hawkers in the city's crowded bazaar are peddling ballads and poems extolling the virtues of suttee, the accepted name for the widow's sacrifice. In Jodhpur's homes, emotional wives worship before cheap lithographs showing a...

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