CURSE OF SATI
A curse so powerful or a coincidence that has been continuing for 5 generations !
“Religion carries two sorts of people in two entirely opposite directions: the mild and gentle people it carries towards mercy and justice; the persecuting people it carries into fiendish sadistic cruelty. Mind you, though this may seem to justify the eighteenth-century Age of Reason in its contention that religion is nothing but an organized, gigantic fraud and a curse to the human race, nothing could be farther from the truth. It possesses these two aspects, the evil one of the two appealing to people capable of naïve hatred; but what is actually happening is that when you get natures stirred to their depths over questions which they feel to be overwhelmingly vital, you get the bad stirred up in them as well as the good; the mud as well as the water. It doesn’t seem to matter much which sect you have, for both types occur in all sects….” — Alfred North Whitehead, Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead
India, a country filled with various traditions and cultural activities spread across various religions and faiths. People proudly express this as Unity in Diversity. So many such cultural practices add beauty to India and its people, so many traditions sometimes have been life saving, or protecting humanity too. To take a few well known and heard examples, the way we welcome guests to our land and take care of them, the way of preserving languages and local dialects, the way of protecting the heritage foods by still continuing them, the small small changes that our mom does to prevent bacteria and disease causing viruses to enter our homes, the way we treat animals as our own family members etc.
I can go on listing plenty such great traditional practices that are making our lives better and helping us prosper, but at we say, every coin has two sides, there is a down side too. When faith becomes blind faith, and religious freedoms start affecting people’s lives, it is something that also comes up when the culture and tradition of India is spoken on big world forums. This makes us look down and feel really ashamed of what we have been doing. Such practices also form a big list. in fact the list of such bad traditions is far bigger than the one we discussed above , yes that’s our country’s state now ! We are not going to talk about them all, but instead a curse due to one such practice which has opened our eyes blinded by faith.
Sati (udankattai), a practice that has been followed blindly across the lands of this country. from north to south; and west to east. One can easily call this to be the highest form of faith blinding eyes of people, in the name of religion and trust, people have been forced to follow this forever haunting episodes several times in the past. Many of you might already know about this, to those who don’t know, its a tradition where wives after the death of their husbands, step in their death pyre alive with the husband’s bodies, recently we even had this in the plot of Padmavat(i) movie! This is the most stupidest practice in the name of tradition, where this patriarchal society has been oppressing the women and snatching their lives even when they were alive. On top, this activity has been named after a goddess! Now lets get into the curse due to this; there is a royal family in the village of Bhinai, Ajmer, Rajasthan, this place is also known as chaurasi(84) as the Mughal emperor gave control of surrounding 84 villages to this royal family.
The palace of the royal family is still standing majestically in Bhinai, is also rented out for visits of tourists, has a huge library with millions of books on various topics which was the collection of the royal king. The royal family is known for it kindness and generosity of treating their subjects, they are still carrying out their helping activities. But there is one fact, that makes this place a mystery to many, that is this royal family has been headed by women for the most part of their last 5 generations, yes you read it right. There is(was) a curse on the family by Sati, that for 5 generations, the male head of the family wont live beyond 50 years, and this has been continuing for past 5 generations and everyone died before 50, now the present generation is the one after the curse, and he crossed his 50! They call it a curse, it may be curse or a coincidence, but the family has seen heavy losses, but still keeps up its glory and its faith, but not blindly !
Rajmata Jahanvi Devi, the proponent of preserving heritage for posterity, think herself as the custodian to carry forward the legacy to the next generation says, “It was a double shock, one of assuming responsibilities as the head of the family and the other combined with family litigation over the property. Gradually, after letting off with the litigation which I won persistently, the other challenge faced was restructuring the property which was in bad shape being into feudal turmoil for long. I have always been in favor of preserving the heritage, and it has to be. We as the older and present generation have a sense of duty and a great responsibility that is to hand over the legacy to the coming generation; this is the prime objective propelled me to conserve the property. Though preserving it in old shape is a herculean task as it involves a great deal of attention to details and finding an artist is again other hindrance one has to face, and off- course how one can’t avoid huge investment involved in it. But at a slow pace, I continued doing things and have restored 70% of the palace. The next on my to-do list is to preserve Durbar hall which has intricate frescoes on walls and ceilings which are painted in gold”
That’s the story of the practice, the faith, the horror, the curse and the legacy !
Taking this time to just stress on a point, there is a very thin line between faith and blind faith, once u slip the other side, there is no way out. We have been seeing so many horrors in our generation just because of blindly believing everything preached by everyone!