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Posted on 03/04/2009 9:22:07 PM PST by stolinsky
When the British gained control of India, they got rid of suttee, the Hindu custom of burning a widow alive on her husbands funeral pyre. This was done to express grief, and also so that the husbands family would not have to share the inheritance with the widow. The British commander-in-chief in India, General Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853), was informed that suttee was an ancient and accepted custom with a religious basis, and that suppressing it would cause resentment. (Sound familiar?) Unimpressed, Napier replied:
"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."
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