Letter: An Indian view of death by fire

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The Independent Online
Sir: Apropos your reports on Kiranjit Ahluwalia (20 and 21 July), it occurred to me that to the Western mind setting oneself or someone else alight may seem particularly bizarre or cruel; but to the Indian mind it is much less outre. It is not an uncommon method of committing suicide, particularly for women. In the cases of 'dowry deaths', women have been set alight.

It should also be remembered that sati is not a forgotten memory in Hindu minds, and that we cremate our dead. I'm only suggesting that Kiranjit Ahluwalia's action is at least as understandable as that of a person with a Western background seizing a knife in desperation.

Yours sincerely,


Rousdon, Devon

21 July