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Year : 2002  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 331

Epidemiology of burns among married women in India.

Correspondence Address:
V Kumar

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 12571402

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Keywords: Adult, Burns, epidemiology,Female, Homicide, statistics &numerical data,Human, India, epidemiology,Suicide, statistics &numerical data,

How to cite this article:
Kumar V. Epidemiology of burns among married women in India. J Postgrad Med 2002;48:331

How to cite this URL:
Kumar V. Epidemiology of burns among married women in India. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2002 [cited 2023 Sep 27];48:331. Available from:


Homicidal burning of married females is common in India. In India about 20,000 murders are committed every year of which women constitute about 10-15% of the total victims. Jha observed marital disharmony as a root cause for several cases of burns.[1] Sinha observed that many women might have been killed in the villages, but these cases were never reported to the police.[2 ]Ahuja in his study of violence against women noticed that the number of female victims of homicide was high in comparison to male victims.[ 3]

Suicidal burns in married females are increasing probably out of desperation due to marital disharmony, dowry harassment etc. In historical times some states in India approved suicide under certain circumstances e.g. ‘Sati’ and ‘Johar’.[4][,5] The highest incidence of suicides by burning is found in Asian and African women[6] and are common in females especially between 13 - 50 yrs. of age.[1] Singh et al while studying the patterns of suicides in Delhi, stated that the number of female suicides (494) predominated over male suicides (476) and the most common method adopted was burning (39.8%).[7] Dasgupta and Tripathi reported 23% of suicidal deaths by burning in married females.[8]

Arora and Antia quoted in their study of treatment of burns that about 3000 accidental burn cases per year were admitted to the various public hospitals in the city of Bombay.[9] Sakhare analysed 656 deaths of married females due to burning and reported 140 deaths as accidental in nature.[10]Reddy stated that the clothes of women might catch fire accidentally while cooking. In such cases burns were usually found on the front of thighs, abdomen chest and face.[11] Socio-economic factors contributing to the injuries include the use of wood fires of cooking for warming the body during cold, loose indigenous garments, huts with thatched roofs and petrol hoarding.

 :: References Top

1.Jha SS. Burns mortality in Bombay. Burns 1981;8:118-22.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Sinha SK. Bride burning cases in Bihar go unreported. The Times of India 1987;7.   Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Ahuja R. Violence against women: A Sociological perspective. In: A Symposium on Violence against women 1987;Lucknow.   Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Dasgupta SM, Tripathi CB. Burnt Wife Syndrome. Annals Acad. Med 1984;13:37-42  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Sakhare S. Analytical study of 1200 suspicious deaths of newly married women in Vidharbha region of Maharashtra state in India. In: Women’s Decade World Conference 1985;Nairobi, Kenya.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Lovett HV. Social policy to 1858. In Dowell, Mahajan VD, editors. Cambridge History of India. Delhi: S. Chand and Co. 1932;6:131.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Tripathi RP. The rise and fall of the Mughal Empire. Allahabad Central Book Depot. 1966:290.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Modan B, Nissenkorn I, Lewkowski SR. Comparative epidemiologic aspects of suicide and attempted suicide in Israel. Am J Epidemiol 1970;91:393-9.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Singh B, Ganeshan D, Chattopadhyay PK. Pattern of suicides in Delhi: A study of the cases reported at the Police Morgue, Delhi. Med. Sci. Law 1982;22:195-8.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Arora S, Antia NH. The treatment of burns: The treatment of burns in a district hospital. Burns 1977;4:49-51.   Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Reddy KSN. The essentials of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology 22nd ed. Hyderabad: Devi KS;1988:276.  Back to cited text no. 11    

This article has been cited by
1 Epidemiology of suicide by burns in the province of Isfahan, Iran
Lati AR, Joghataei MT, Adli YR, et al.
JOURNAL OF BURN CARE & RESEARCH. 2007; 28 (2): 307-311
2 Burn patterns of Asian ethnic minorities living in West Yorkshire, UK
Rawlins JM, Khan AA, Shenton AF, Sharpe DT
BURNS. 2006; 32 (1): 97-103


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