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By M. Whitney Kelting

Even though in Hinduism it truly is in most cases used to consult widow immolation, the time period 'sati' skill 'true lady' - a feminine hero. Whitney Kelting has discovered that during Jainism satis look as topics of devotional hymns. This turns out paradoxical, on condition that Jain spirituality is to disengage oneself from worldly life and Jain devotionalism is generally directed towards these souls who've reached excellent detachment. in truth, despite the fact that, there's a significant corpus of renowned texts, a lot of them written through favourite scholar-monks among the sixteenth and 18th centuries, illustrating the pretty worldly virtues of committed Jain better halves. during this fieldwork-based research, Kelting explores the ways that Jain girls use sati narratives and rituals to appreciate wifehood as a decision, which those women's ongoing ritual practices regularly form. She makes a speciality of 8 recognized Jain sati narratives, recorded in either formal ritual contexts and in casual retellings, and in addition as learn aloud from revealed models. She reveals that one of many central services of Jain sati narratives is to give a contribution to a discourse of wifehood, which addresses the troubles of Jain laywomen in the Jain price process and gives a fertile context during which Jain ladies can discover their questions of advantage and piety.

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Additional resources for Heroic Wives Rituals, Stories and the Virtues of Jain Wifehood

Sample text

Because Jains accept that the materialization of one’s body results from one’s actions, they understand their bodies as forever in a process of becoming or, in an ideal life of karma reduction, unbecoming. Jain women use the opposing ideologies of wifehood and renunciation to create ruptures through which a woman can embody seemingly contradictory identities. Butler’s focus (1993) on the performativity of sex and the materialization of the body seems to evoke ways in which Jains already understand the nature of their own body practices.

Although Hindus blur the strict line between satı¯s and satı¯ma¯ta¯s that I am proposing here, the distinction between a satı¯ and a satı¯ma¯ta¯ is one with which Jains were quite familiar and a distinction they were careful to maintain. Jain satı¯s, because they never immolate themselves, are never satı¯ma¯ta¯s. But a satı¯ma¯ta¯ is always a satı¯, and the blurring even of these categories serves to illuminate the ways in which satı¯s are understood to be virtuous women of many sorts. There has been much written about “suttees,” satı¯, and satı¯ma¯ta¯s both in the British colonial period and in the postcolonial period.

What is relevant here is not whether Jain women have agency or not, nor is it the fact that Jain women see themselves as having choices; what matters, rather, is the ways in which they deploy concepts of agency and choice in their discussion of wifehood. ” While these statements clearly support the ideologies that make women responsible for the health and welfare of their families, they are also claims of agency. In making these claims, Jain wives negotiate a number of ways that Jains think about a husband’s health: (1) Jain karma theory suggests that the husband’s health is the result of his past acts; (2) Jains recognize that the medical connections between health practices and illness leave a husband’s behavior out of a woman’s control;51 (3) Jains recognize that the sociopolitical realities of their community restrict a woman’s ability to control her husband’s 28 HEROIC WIVES health practices; and (4) a wife is expected as a pativrata¯ to zealously fortify her position and her family’s well-being through ritual practices.

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