March 31, 2010

"Suicide is generally considered taboo in Hinduism, the religion of most Indians, because it disrupts the cycle of reincarnation that is central to the soul’s progress...."

"But the willingness to die for a cause, as exemplified by Gandhi’s epic fasts during the struggle for independence, is seen as noble and worthy. Ancient warriors in Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India, would commit suicide if their commander was killed.... And the practice of sati, or widow burning, although outlawed, remains a potent symbol of wifely devotion."

19 comments:

Leather Daddy said...

A very similar thing nearly happened in 1979. A twink named Esman demanded that the New St. Mark's Baths devote at least two saunas and a partitioned locker area of at least 20 lockers for those interested in daddy-boy scenes. Bruce Mailman refused and Esman tried to kill himself by turning his leather jock into a noose and hanging himself from the hook where slings usually were installed.

traditionalguy said...

The final act of independence is to kill ones self, or so say the Existentialists that have rejected faith in the God who wrote the Bible. IMO it is only a B-grade mental illness that has to turn to suicide as its sacrament (see ,Jim Jones' cult). We should thank God for every new day and never lose hope in the promises written down for us in the Eighth Chapter of Romans.

TMink said...

Widow burning sounds very different than widow immolation.

Trey

Balfegor said...

I had thought that the old Nizamate of Hyderabad was gone forever, betrayed by the British, invaded, conquered, and annexed by India after partition, and then its constituent parts divided between the new provinces. But no, looks like they still want some measure of independence, even if only as a state in greater India. Quite surprising, really. Are the other old princely states agitating for separate recognition still? I vaguely recall that some of them have it in some form, and their old ruling houses receive civil list pensions or somesuch.

Rialby said...

This reminds me of the the quote from General Charles Napier who, upon seeing the practice of Sati, said the following:


You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours

Larry J said...

You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.

Which is precisely what we need to do to those who come to this country and try to impose their quaint customs like "honor killing."

"Sure, it may be your custom to kill a female relative who you believe has damaged the family's honor. It is our custom to execute murderers."

pm317 said...

Poverty, idealism turned to misguided heroism, and most of all, hopelessness collide resulting in irrational behavior.

Other than that, the atheist in me says I should be allowed to turn it off whenever I want to and when I feel like I had enough. Though I would not allow myself to say or feel that if I had children.

Telangana struggle is not partition related but has to do with disproportionate resources allocated to one region and not the other -- class warfare.

Geoff Matthews said...

Rialby,

I think that act alone by the British should excuse a lot of the excesses of Western Civ. I can't read that quote without getting a lump in my throat.

edutcher said...

Sir Charles knew how to lay it on the line, didn't he?

Any of his descendants running for political office in this country?

Alex said...

Poor deluded Hindus go to the same non-existence as the rest of us when we die. There is no afterlife.

bagoh20 said...

"Ancient warriors in Tamil Nadu, in southeastern India, would commit suicide if their commander was killed,"

That does not sound like a very effective tactic for warfare. Recruiting must be an uphill battle and rising through the ranks involves wearing a bigger target.

bagoh20 said...

"Poor deluded Hindus go to the same non-existence as the rest of us when we die. There is no afterlife."

After which life?

slarrow said...

Poor deluded Hindus go to the same non-existence as the rest of us when we die. There is no afterlife.

Really? Prove it.

ricpic said...

There is no afterlife.

Agreed. But so strong is the need to deny oblivion, that as they approach the end, many without the comfort of a belief in an afterlife convince themselves that they personally won't die. The other guy, yes. Of course I'm talking of other people. Me personally? I'm too strong for such silliness. And if you believe that I've got a bridge....

Penny said...

"Poverty, idealism turned to misguided heroism, and most of all, hopelessness collide resulting in irrational behavior."

Very true.

Even in our little corner of the world, it was evident how many people were drawn to Obama at election time because of his message of HOPE.

Nothing destroys the soul more than hopelessness.

While we may not understand what drove these young men, perhaps that's only because you and I don't live in a state of hopelessness.

PatCA said...

This "cause" is also supported by Islamists, so no wonder the NYT is so sympathetic.

Balfegor said...

Agreed. But so strong is the need to deny oblivion, that as they approach the end, many without the comfort of a belief in an afterlife convince themselves that they personally won't die.

Ah, yes. As Larkin put it:

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says no rational being
Can fear a thing it cannot feel, not seeing
that this is what we fear - no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round
.

OSweet said...

Whenever a wannabe Hindoo implies how superior they are for fasting or meditating, I ask them why they stop, why they don't fast or meditate until they die.
That would be dying for a cause, maximal devotion to a god, and would guarantee maximal merit in the afterlife, which they claim is nirvana or some other ultimate reward.
So dying asap under the right circumstances would be good for them, and good for us left behind: It'd reduce the surplus population and the aggregate pollution of self-inflated nonsense.

Bob said...

Custom is created by human and changes accordingly with human. When the custom was practice of sati at that time society was also like that. I agree this was worst rule but now it is changed.
Quran