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The ritual was well-established by the 10th century CE.

During the British Raj, many reformers such as Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Jyotirao Phule fought for the betterment of women.

Raja Rammohan Roy's efforts led to the abolition of Sati under Governor-General William Cavendish-Bentinck in 1829.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's crusade for improvement in the situation of widows led to the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856.

Although the act was supposed to be voluntary on the widow's part, its practice is forbidden by the Hindu scriptures in Kali yuga, the current age.

Jauhar refers to the practice of voluntary immolation by wives and daughters of defeated warriors, in order to avoid capture and consequent molestation by the enemy.

Originally, women were allowed to undergo initiation and study the Veda's.

In the Dharmasutra of Harita, it is mentioned that: There are two types of women: those who become students of the Veda and those who marry immediately.Shivaji's mother, Jijabai, was queen regent because of her ability as a warrior and an administrator. In South India, many women administered villages, towns, and divisions, and ushered in new social and religious institutions.Traditions such as Sati, Jauhar, and Devadasi among some communities have been banned and are largely defunct in modern India.Peary Charan Sarkar, a former student of Hindu College, Calcutta and a member of "Young Bengal", set up the first free school for girls in India in 1847 in Barasat, a suburb of Calcutta (later the school was named Kalikrishna Girls' High School).While this might suggest that there was no positive British contribution during the Raj era, that is not entirely the case.However, some instances of these practices are still found in remote parts of India.

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