Bentinck, Lord William Cavendish
Bentinck, Lord William Cavendish(bĕn`tingk, –tĭk), 1774–1839, British administrator in India. He served in the Napoleonic Wars and was (1803–7) governor of Madras. He was appointed governor-general of Bengal in 1827, assuming the title governor-general of India in 1833. Bentinck was strongly influenced by British utilitarianism and introduced many reforms in the interest of the people. He admitted Indians to important office, fostered communication and education, and revised the system of landholding. He also abolished sutteesuttee
[Skt. sati=faithful wife], former Indian funeral practice in which the widow immolated herself on her husband's funeral pyre. The practice of killing a favorite wife on her husband's grave has been found in many parts of the world; it was followed by such peoples
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, former Indian religious sect of murderers and robbers, also called Phansigars [stranglers]. Membership was primarily hereditary and included both Hindus and Muslims, but all were devotees of the Hindu goddess Kali and committed their murders as sacrifices to her.
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See biography by J. Rosselli (1974).