[Marxism] forwarded from Rahul Mahajan on Sati

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 12 11:12:50 MDT 2005


>Opposition to Sati, culminating in passage of an ordinance against it by 
>the British, was galvanized by Raja Rammohun Roy, a "native." He had a 
>great deal of difficulty interesting the British in doing anything about 
>it, since their instinctive approach (later codified as overt colonial 
>policy) was not to interfere with the cultural traditions of colonized 
>people, indeed sometimes to strengthen them subtly, so that nothing would 
>cause trouble that might get in the way of economic reconfiguration for 
>surplus-extraction.
>
>Like so much of the narrative of civilizing imperialism, this notion of 
>the British anti-sati crusade is largely mythological. I am at a loss to 
>understand why Spivak didn't mention Roy and chose to repeat this 
>particular myth; it's especially puzzling since every educated Bengali 
>knows about him.
>


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