BHUBANNESWAR, INDIA — A Hindu woman has committed suicide after two astrologers predicted she would become a widow.

Saswati Mishra, 19, jumped to her death from the fifth floor of a building in Bhubanneswar, capital of the eastern state of Orissa.

Two astrologers warned her that her husband would die in a few years.

Her suicide note said she had complete faith in astrology and was killing herself because she was destined to lose her husband.

An astrologer she consulted before getting married warned her that her husband would die within a few years.

"She refused to get married, citing the prediction," her husband, Ramesh Mishra, said. She consented after her parents convinced her astrology was not scientific.

"But she was always depressed and called me every hour on my mobile phone to find out whether I was alive or not," Mr Mishra said.

She consulted another astrologer three months after her marriage. He repeated the earlier prediction.

"Saswati then told me not to leave the house. I tried to talk her out of it but she insisted she had no other option but suicide," the husband said.


Before you dismiss this pathetic young bride's anxiety as overblown superstition, remember that this story comes from India, where women's roles in Hindu society are very narrowly defined.

In a land where all young girls must marry, where brides are regarded as property, where wives cannot return to their families, and where widows once fueled their husband's pyres — to become a widow is to become something like a ghost — homeless, unseen, shunned and pitied.


Burning Brides:
New York Times, Jan 15, 1989
  A Middle Eastern solution to the problem of divorce — immoliation.