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Though never a significant practice in statistical terms, sati (widow burning) played a pivotal role in British representations of India. While the East India Company negotiated its new role in India (1757–84), some writers and artists who had extensive personal experience in India (like John Zephaniah Holwell and Eyles Irwin) experimented with a non-judgmental stance. They tried to suspend their European beliefs and become disinterested observers of the sati ceremony, echoing the sentimental stance of the impartial spectator postulated in the moral philosophy of Adam Smith. However, this impartial stance never gained wide acceptance, and after the 1780s the British strongly objected to the custom on partial grounds.