Imatges de pÓgina
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sorry stuff turned out every year, and then say if chivalry is not its own reward. Read any of our modern dramas or novels, and you will find them uninteresting, unless they deal with our past, or borrow from European sources. A Gujarati graduate and poet has tried recently to depict modern Hindu home-life, as attractively as possible. But all the attractions arise from what modern Hindu life sadly lacks. Even the name of his heroine-Kumudsundari-has a classical turn. She is certainly a loveable ideal, but no reality. Where is the Hinduani, wise and pure, who can quote Sakuntala and the Merchant of Venice, play on the sitar and the sarangi, and sing divinely ? Every educated Hindu would like to have such a Kumud-such a lotos---lovely maiden-for his wife. But where are these “phantoms of delight” in Hindu society? They exist in the brains of those who have read Kalidas and Shakespeare, but otherwise we know them not. And yet, alas ! there was a time when they were not unknown, when they adorned Aryan homes, and inspired the highest poetry and the highest art. But now, truly, the age of Aryan chivalry is gone! That of canting sophists, and heartless calculators, has succeeded! Our true seers are dead ; our blind guides of the blind remain !

“ The seer from the East was then in light.
The seer from the West was then in shade,
Ah! now 'tis changed. In conquering sunshine

bright
The man of the bold West now comes arrayed.

He of the mystic East is touch'd with night.” SIR T. MADAVA Row. Let us hope, however, that a brighter day is in store for us. There is no community which suffers more from self-inflicted, or self-accepted, or self-created and therefore avoidable, evils, than ours. Let us hold provincial conferences, and caste conferences, and send dele

gates annually to the Central Social Conference, to keep alive a constant agitation against social abuses. Let us employ our own missionaries, to create public opinion in favour of social reform, and let us all band ourselves like brothers, and work together in harmony, and shrink from no self-sacrifice until our end is achieved. Let us, my brethren, deserve success, and then, under God's providence, we are not likely to be baulked of it.

A HINDU LAWYER.— Yes, let us put forth our best energies and have an effective organisation. We must tackle the castes in right earnest, and induce those, which are ahead of the rest, to form theniselves into registered associations, so as to be able to enforce their penalties for violated pledges through a court of law. We should move the Legislature to amend that disgraceful provision regarding the age of consent in cases of rape. We should keep a watchful eye on our judge-made law, and spare no efforts to protect the rights of helpless women.

DEWAN BAHADUR RAGHUNATH Row. And what is to become of the child-widow? Is nothing to be done for her immediately? Do you not know, gentlemen, what a life she leads in our parts-privation of food, of clothing, and of even necessary comforts, observance of fasts which at times extend to 72 hours, enforced absence from every scene of festivity

; the enduring of execrations heaped upon her if she unwittingly or unfortunately comes in front of a man, a priest, or a bride ; these, I say, become the daily experiences of her life. I say you must agitate for the re-marriage with full Vedic rites of such widows at least. I have watched your discussion in silence, but I can't let it close without putting in a word for the child-widow.

A HINDU ANTIQUARY.—Become a missionary like me, my friend, and devote yourself to her cause, and you will not fail.

Sir T. MADAVA Row. I don't think there is any one here that has a word to say in favour of child-widowhood. But let us cut at its very root, and concentrate our efforts on the removal of its cause.

A HINDU SOCIAL REFORM MISSIONARY.-And now, dear brethren, allow me to offer a humble prayer to the Giver of all Good, for guidance and help. May He, Whose work is all Love, yet all Law,* teach us to fulfil His Law, and fill us with His Love! May He, “ Whose Essence is Sacrifice,"+ " Who sacrificed himself in created things, and created things in Himself”,1 may He inspire us with self-sacrifice, and turn it into power for good ! $ May He Who is full, Who remains full even if a full be taken from Him,ll may He give us a part of His own fulness of life, and help our unborn part to rise higher and higher, by good deeds, and pure thoughts, and holy communion ! O Holy One, Who art Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra, Agni, Vayu, Surya and Soma-0 Mighty One, regenerate our being, preserve our true life, deaden us unto sin, bountifully shower Thy grace upon us, warm us with Thy loving kindness, breathe into us a breath of Thine own purity, illumine us with Thine own light, and upheave us with Thine own force! Holy, All-merciful Father, guide our erring footsteps, as Thou didst guide our fathers' of old-forgive our backslidings, and incline Thine ear unto our cry for help! Help us, oh Light of the World, oh Life of Life, to do Thy will, to check the ebb of our national glory, and to spread Thy sunshine in our darkened homes ! Spirit of the Universe, Lord Supreme, accept our lowly prayer and bless Thy little children! Shánti !

All-Shánti! Shánti! Shánti ! ·

* Browning + Muir 1.-495. I Muir IV.-25. § Muir IV.-52. || Muir IV.-219.

CHAPTER I. STATEMENTS OF FACT ON THE SUBJECT

OF INFANT MARRIAGE.

SECTION I. MADRAS PRESIDENCY.

1. A. SANKARIAH B. A. PRESIDENT, HINDU SABHA, MADRAS.–Freedom to marry girls and widows at any age is not denied now, and was not denied at any time, and the agitators are not just and even honest in interfering with those who do not religiously, or socially, approve of that freedom.

2. K. KRISHNASWAMY RAO, CHIEF JUSTICE, TRAVANCORE.—The existence of the evils of infant-marriage and enforced widowhood......cannot be denied......

In countries where marriage is a matter of contract, and the bride has the right of choosing her own partner in pleasure and in sorrow, there will be no necessity for placing any restriction on the right to marry, but in India the protection of the interests of minor girls who are often victims of the caprice and sometimes of the avarice of their guardians, renders it necessary that some restriction must be imposed.

The practice of marrying boys to girls older than themselves seems to be confined to a very small section of low classes, in certain districts, among whom marriage after puberty is not prohibited. Marriage of girls being compulsory and the difficulties of procuring husbands of proper age of the same caste as that of the girl, seem to be the sole reason of the existing practice.

3. H. H. RAMA VARMA, MAHARAJAH OR TRAVANCORE. I do not for a moment doubt that the majority of these sensible men now consulted, will express their decided opinion against these horrible causes of much misery and biting af flictions', to their poor sisters and daughters.

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4. C. RAMCHANDRA AIYAR, SUB JUDGE, MADURA.--From my experience of 23 years of several districts in this Presidency, I am in a position to assure the Government that in spite of liberal education, and a painful consciousness on the part of the educated men of the evils of all sorts arising from it, infant marriage has become more numerous than ever, and I should say it has become the mania of the people at large. Even graduates of the University and educated men generally have been disposing of their infant girls of two or three years by marriage, simply from an apprehension that they could scarcely get rich boys or sons of rich men at a future time.

The fashion of the day is that infant girls of rich men are forced upon the sons of rich men with dowry of great value, and that, in a competition of this kind the boy's parents choose the infant who brings them the largest sum as dowry. That a reform in this direction is certainly needed, has been admitted on all hands; but nothing can be done and will be done by the Hindus, if they be left to themselves, even for a century to come. A few of the educated Hindus no doubt take real interest in effecting a reform in this matter, but their exertion is not enough to override the powerful opposition of the masses under the influence of their priests. To substantiate my assertion, I would respectfully ask the Government if there is today any graduate or educated man who as a father of infant girls has not got them married, while they were infants, or if there is any graduate or educated man who has had the moral courage of keeping his daughter unmarried till she had attained her puberty and then getting her married. No one will come forward to say that he has done so......

To render a gift made by a Brahman valid, his wife should sprinkle water on the betel which her husband passes to the donee. During the performance of religious ceremonies his wife is required to stand by, touching him with a holy grass. During the performance of Yogam, a sacrifice of sheep, cow &c., one end of the husband's cloth and one end of the wife's cloth are

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