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The History of Suicide in India - An Introduction

The History of Suicide in India - An Introduction
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Item Code: ISA12
Author: Upendra Thakur
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 1963
ISBN: 8121503809
Pages: 247 (B & W Illus: 15)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0" X 6.0"
About the Book:

There is no human phenomenon which is more baffling than Suicide. It has always puzzled and intrigued the thinking mind that man, in a moment of frenzy, should kill himself and in one stroke end that mighty dream of his the life - which he has so selfishly built.

To this day, there is not a single undivided opinion on suicide. Some have commended it; others have condemned it. Even our ancient seers and philosophers have taken sides on the issue. But suicide has continued unabated and so also its implications on society.

Here is an illuminating book which has this unusual subject as the topic of its study and tackles it from every conceivable angle. In it, origins of suicide have been traced in history, both remote and recent; its religious manifestations have been discussed in detail; its modes, past and present, as current in various lands, have been outlined; views, for and against, have been presented and statistics quoted. More than all, it emphasizes the need for positive action in India in planning and executing measures to curb the evil of self-annihilation.

About the Author:

CONTENTS
Foreword
Preface
List of Illustrations
Abbreviations

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION : SOURCES

Origin of the word suicide
Views of modern sociologists
Suicide in relation to crime and law
A vital part of sociological study
Sources
Literary
Archaeological
Foreign Accounts
Accounts as detailed in East India Company records and modern works.

CHAPTER II
CAUSES AND INFLUENCES

Various causes of suicides
Causes and Factors as enumerated in ancient classical and mediaeval works
views of Kautilya and other lawgivers
Views of medical authorities
Contributions of Psychology, Sociology and Criminology
Instances cited
Causes arranged under various heads.

CHAPTER III
SUICIDES : KINDS AND METHODS
History of Suicide
References in Early Vedic and post-Vedic Literature analysed
Kinds of Suicides and views of the Dharmasastrakaras and later law-givers
Suicides in general
Historical and Religious suicide
Suicide in mediaeval age
Among the Rajputs
Avenging an injury by the Brahmanas
Various instances cited
Suicide among the Muslims
Modern trends
Suicide among the aboriginal tribes
A few instances
Religious suicides
Various theories advanced by classical writers
bhrgu-patana
Importance of suicide at Kasi, Prayaga and other places of pilgrimage
Significance of the vata-vrksa or "the tree of suicide" (Aksayavata) at Prayaga
Drowning at Triveni
Mahapathayatra or Mahaprasthana (the Great Journey)
Views for and against religious suicides
Reference in Ain-I-Akbari and the accounts of the Arab writers
A new aspect of suicide
Dying under the wheels of the Car of Jagannatha
Historical instances based on epigraphic evidences
Suicide among the Jainas, the Buddhists and the Saivas
The practice of Sallekhana
Various instances of this system
Different modes and methods enumerated
Punishment
Conclusions.

CHAPTER IV
SATI AND JAUHAR
History of the origin of the institution of sati
Practice widely prevalent among the ancient Greeks, Germans, Slavs, Egyptians and other ancient civilizations
The so-called widow-burning in Vedic age
References in Visnu and Vyasa-Samhitas
Sati among the Cathaei tribe in the Punjab in the 4th cent. B.C.
Instances in the Mahabharata, Visnu, Vayu and other Puranas
Sahamarana vs anumarana

Epigraphic instances
Other Instances
Reference in the Adigrantha, the sacred book of the Sikhs
The institution of Jauhar - Various theories regarding the origin of this mediaeval rite
Historic instances
End of Jauhar with the end of the Muslim rule
Sati in Muslims
Sati in modern India
Reports from 19th cent.
Calcutta Journals
Measures by Lord Bentick to put an end of Sati.
Opposition from various quarters
The Act declaring sati illegal finally passed on the 4th Dec. 1829
The practice, however, not yet fully extinct
The latest instances
Observations and Conclusions.

CHAPTER V
SUICIDE IN CONTEMPORARY CIVILISATIONS

A comparative study of suicide in Asiatic and western countries
Different methods employed in China
Japan, a country of suicides
Various modes and methods such as the famous Harakira, Shinju, Junshi, etc.
Novel method to check suicides introduced by the Post-War Japanese Government
Suicide, once a great urge among the people of Russia
Suicide in Burma and also among the Karens of Burma
In the western World
Different views and philosophies advanced by western thinkers, philosophers and reformers
Conclusions

Bibliography

Index.

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