Sati was a ritual of wife burning herself on the funeral pyre of husband Mughal emperor Humayun fist banned practice of Sati but could not implement the law strictly. The next emperor Akbar banned sati but to appease his hindu nobility allowed it. Mughal emperor Akbar had allowed Sati to take place only if the wife willingly wanted to follow it. But many times woman were forced to commit Sati or pushed into funeral pyre by her own relatives against the law.
Now lets see why the women did sati?
There were many reasons for that prime among them was
– Invasion by Muslim invaders threatened the honor of hindu women, they faced innumerable hardships like being sold as slaves etc to these invaders
– A widow was considered as liability for family after death of husband and hence forced to burn on funeral pyre of husband
– Society norms of that time
One day Akbar heard that one of his wife’s cousin sister was being forced to commit sati by her sons on the death of her husband. The lady in question was Rani Damayenti the daughter of Mota Raja Uadi Singh of Jodhpur and Rani Jasvant. Her husband was Raja Jai Mal of Mertha who died in 1583. Rani Damayenti refused to be burnt on her husbands funeral pyre but her sons and relatives forced her as they felt it was against their honor to allow their mother to live as a widow. Akbar got this news from his harem and rode all the way from agra to Ranathambore to save this lady from being forced to commit sati on her husband’s funeral pyre.
Ran Damayenti had 2 sons and one of them named Udai Singh(not Rana Udai Singh of Mewar) and a few other relatives wanted her to burn on her husband’s funeral pyre while she did not want to commit sati. Akbar who had banned forced sati got to hear this news and himself set out on his horse to stop this sati and rode non stop from Agra to Ranathambore to prevent this sati. Rani Damayenti had already been drugged and dragged to the funeral spot by her relatives and Akbar arrived just in time to stop the sati and save her life. Akbar wanted to execute the people who forced the lady to funeral pyre but later granted them reprive and merely imprisoned them for a short while.
Jehangir enforced strict orders and gave death penalty to whoever followed sati practice of burning brides. This practice was noted even by Alexander the great’s generals at the time he invaded India.
It is to be noted there that Akbar was married to Rani Rukmavati Bhai Sa the daughter of Rao Maldeo and sister of Mota Raja Udai Singh of Jodhpur aka Marwar. Later on Prince Salim aka Emperor Jehangir married Jodha Bai daughter of Mota Raja Udai Singh who gave birth to Prince Khurram aka Emperor Shah Jahan. Jai Mal was the nephew of Raja Bharamal of Amer current Jaipur and cousin brother of Hira Kunwari the mother of Prince Salim.