- Widow in an ashram at Varanasi
- "For the majority of these women, life is what some have described as a "living sati", a reference to the now outlawed practice of widow burning. A widow is sometimes called "pram" or creature, because it was only her husband's presence that gave her human status. They couldn't be present at the rituals and celebrations that form such an integral part of Indian life, such as marriage or birth ceremonies. In some cases even her shadow was considered polluting or offensive to "cleaner" members of society. Washer men wouldn't wash their clothes, no shopkeeper would sell things to them, they wouldn't be able to participate in any rituals, and so on, so it was considered a great sin." (Dheera Sujan)
Autrefois, en certaines régions du sous-continent, on leur demandait de périr sur le bûcher de leur défunt époux. Ces redoutables coutumes ont été abolies mais, si la femme a « conquis » le droit de demeurer vivante après la mort de l'homme (!), elle n'est alors plus rien, ou bien si peu de choses.
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