A life of ashes: Widows in India

Indian miniature painted c. 1800 depicting sati (suttee) or widow-burning (© Wikimedia.org)

The ancient Indian practice of “sati” or “suttee” — widow-burning — was banned under British colonial rule in 1829. But in modern-day India, the plight of a woman who loses her husband to death can still be a cruel fate that exposes a widow to isolation and discrimination. In some cases, the woman suffers such a loss of social status that she is referred to only as “it” or “creature”. Dheera Sujan, whose own mother was widowed in India when she was a child, looked into this problem.

Producer: Dheera Sujan

Broadcast: August 16, 2006