The Invention Of Tradition Through Scripture Essay

The Invention Of Tradition Through Scripture Essay

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IV. Mani and the invention of tradition through scripture
A. The re-interpretation of tradition by British officials resided in the articulation of scripture (Pg. 89). Thus, the re-invention of culture and tradition became the defining feature of the debate on sati, as opposed to women’s rights. Through this women became the symbol for tradition, but were still denied their own agency throughout the debate.
1. Women become emblematic of tradition, thus the reworking of tradition was largely conducted though debating the rights and status of women in society (Pg. 90)
2. Scriptural interpretation
a) Throughout the discourse on sati scripture overrode custom and held greater weight (Pg. 88)
b) Scripture was used on both sides of the debate, from Indian who supported sati and the British who did not to substantiate their claims (Pg. 88)
c) The re-evaluation of Indian tradition that resided alone was compatible with the modern economy (Pg. 88)
d) Thus, we can infer that the re-creation of Indian tradition was a tool in which to modernize the nation and create a more systematized form of governance.
3. The production of scripture was strategic; it reinforced and worked alongside the idea of a scale of civilizations. It also privileged Brahmanic scriptures, and can be characterized as a mode of understanding Indian society.
a) The basis in which sati was rooted in scripture was produced though the interaction with a few natives (Pg. 90)
b) Warren Hastings made these texts the basis of personal law, although they pertained more to rules of social behavior (Pg. 90-91)
c) Advocates for and against sati grounded their case in a discussion of Brahmanic scriptures (Pg. 110)
d) The use of scripture was strategic (Pg. 110), one side ...

... middle of paper ... which British men could save the degraded Indian woman.
4. Therefore, we can see that in a contemporary perspective, minority women are still without agency, as said agency is ascribed to culture, instead of the woman.

VI. Conclusion
A. In analyzing Metcalf, Mani and Volpp, we can discern that the Indian women were denied all forms of agency and subjectivity in terms of the debate on sati.
B. Instead, sati was debated in terms of difference between Indians and the British, and in terms of tradition through scriptures.
C. Therefore women within the discourse of sati were simply rendered sites upon which the debate could take place, rather than the subject of the debate.
D. The idea of women as victims of their culture and tradition has manifested within a contemporary discourse, in which minority women are still denied agency as it is credited to their culture.

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