“The burning of widows (called “suttee,” literally “faithful wife”), i.e. the cremation of wives on the occasion of their husband’s death, in India was also gradually restricted by the English. It is true that they at first tolerated this ritual, which Alexander the Great had discovered in the Punjab in 326 b.c., contenting themselves with official registration of the cases, but they finally made up their minds in 1829 to forbid the burning of widows. But in those regions of India not directly under the control of the English the importance of the prince continued to be measured by the number of wives who were cremated at his burial.”
The Point: Suttee had been around in India since the time of Alexander the Great. The ritual has a long history.