brother Jagmohan died. His wife Alakamanjari had to observe Sahagamana (that
is, she was to be burnt alive with the dead body).All arrangements were made for
cremation. All the relatives gathered. Alakamanjari put on a laced-sari and there was
Kumkum on her forehead. (A mark of Kumkum or vermilion on the forehead
is considered sacred by a Hindu wife; it is an indication that her husband is alive.) Her
hair was disheveled. Fear was written upon her face. The corpse was brought to the
cremation ground. Rammohan begged his sister-in-law not to observe Suttee.
Relatives objected to Rammohans words. They bound her to the corpse and placed her
on the funeral pyre with the corpse. The pyre was set on fire.
Alakamanjari screamed and cried in fear, but she was not set free. Poor woman! She was
burnt to ashes along with her husband. All the relatives praised her shouting Maha
Sati! Maha Sati! (a great wife) and went back.
This heart-rending sight of his sister-in- laws Suttee made a deep
impression on Rammohans mind. Then and there he took a vow to put an end to this
dreadful. Custom. Some people believed that the scriptures said that the wife should die
along with her husband. Rammohan referred to all the sacred books. But, nowhere was it
laid down that the wife should perform Suttee. This custom had come into
practice in some age. Some people who knew it was wrong did not have the courage to
condiment. The brave Rammohan took up this difficult task.
But his task was not easy. Lakhs of people had faith in Suttee system. Many people
opposed Rammohan and abused him. Some even tried to murder him. But Rammohan did not
flinch. Even the people of the West, who saw all this wondered, when even the government
was afraid to interfere in this matter, Rammohan risked his life and fought against this
evil practice. In the end, he won and the government made Suttee a crime.
Along with fight for the abolition of Suttee, Rammohan started a revolution
for womens education and womens right to property. He showed that woman
enjoyed equal freedom with man according to Hinduism.