Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

trusted when they combine to reform public affairs. They lay themselves open to the suspicion that in the profession of public zeal, they find an agreeable cloak for the discouragement of private duty. It is because many native advocates of progress proclaim in public enlightened principles and urge liberal practices, the application of which to their domestic affairs they strenuously oppose, that I ventured in writing to you, to express the view that it was not the outside only of the platter, but the inner also, which requires attention."

*

In India more than in many other countries the battle of social reform must be first fought by those whom it immediately concerns. They have always the Government behind and with them, as a reserve of strength, when the hour has come to employ it; but it is for them, by their efforts, to hasten that bour.

75. HON'BLE SIR STEUART BAYLEY. At all events Government ought not to take the initiative. I think if a number of memorials from different associations all over the country, urging action and agreeing on a special line of action, were submitted, the hands of Government would be so far strengthen ed, that they might be justified in moving in the matter, and what I would suggest is that the associations all over the country which take an interest in the matter, be urged to adopt this method ......... I suppose the most hopeful outlook on this question is that the guidance of caste feeling will gradually fall into the hands of educated men who will lend their influence, and thus that of the caste, in support of the object you have in view....

* Mr. Telang in replying to Sir Auckland quotes the following from Herbert Spencer. « Submission whether to Government, to the dogmas of ecclesiastics, or to that code of bebavionr which society at large has set up, is essentially of the same nature, and the sentiment which induces resistance to the despotism of rulers, civil or spiritual, likewise induoes resistance to the despotism of the world's opinion.”

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

All the more earnestly would I encourage you to labour on in the cause by means of local committies, societies formed for the purpose of advocating and practising the reforms, by pamphlets and speeches, and all the machinery of organization which in other spheres the natives of India have not been slow to adopt.

76. MANOMOHAN GHOBE.--An association of the kind you have suggested may do a great deal of good...... A strong public opinion ought to be created, and our universities ought to be made to take the initiative.

77. S. N. TAGORE Esq., C.S.--The only remedy possible is to educate public opinion. For my own part, I am not opposed to any well-considered law fixing a limit of marriageable age, but I fear that public opinion is not yet prepared for any such change.

78. B. N. PITALE, SUPT. HOME DEPARTMENT GOVERNMENT OF BOMBAY.-At present Hindu society is in a state of dormancy; it is by extraneous efforts of philanthropists whose hearts writhe in agony at the sight of customs so repugnant to human nature, that a beginning could be made. Happy will be the day in the social and moral history of India, when these dark spots are effaced from its pages.

79. DINSHAW ARDESIR TALEYARKHAN.-It is best to point out an instance or two of what innate forces have the power of effecting ............ In certain parts of Kattywar, one of the Wania castes has bound itself by its own voluntarily framed rule not to give any girl in marriage before she is eleven............Somehow or other the minds of these caste people were touched by a number of child girls having become widows before this caste bandobast was adopted. Again a sect namad Rackwal Brahmins, through the exertions of many of its influential and enlightened leaders, has recently entered into an agreement not to permit a boy being given in marriage until he is 16 and a girl unless she is 9. - In the case of the

former there is an extra provision that the boy should have had an education up to a certain standard bofore the marriage would be allowed.

80. T. B. DANI, EDITOR OF THE ARYA VART.-Thisgentleman advocates, State interference on the ground that education will not remedy the evils in time. "It is impossible for education to spread to such an extent as to remedy the evils, before an utter destruction of the vitality of the whole community is made. It is a well-known fact that females have a greater voice in the matter of marriages, and that almost all females in the country are illiterate. There are millions and millions of males who are still illiterate."

81. SIRDAR GOPALBAO HARI DESHMUKH.--Matriculation or degree examinations, would if limited to bachelors, go a great way to prevent early marriages.

(He also advocates the use of “political influence as far as it may

be reasonable", and female education.)

82. Khan BAHADUR RUSTOMJI KARSHEDJI MODI.-If we have not the bold administrators of the old times of Company Bahadur, who were habituated to taking the bull by the horns, we have none the less wise, less able, or less sympathetic men at the helm of our affairs now, and if as I take it, owing to the altered times, they desire that some august decree that they may shape should be "broad-based” upon the people's will let us by all the means in our power obey their call—let us move the whole country in such noble cause from one end to the other send petition after petition, and show, in short, bý ovewhelming proof what the will of the people really is. There is no doubt that legislation which is far ahead of the intelligence and active sympathy of a people, however righteous and well meant it may be, has many chances of turning out a failure. But on the other hand, there is equally little doubt that when the ideas and practices of a community have, of themselves and unaided, attained the desired goal, legislation is too late, useless or nearly so. As has been truly said

[ocr errors]

the ideas and practices of a few advanced spirits of today become the common property of a succeeding generation. The true function of legislation, I believe, is to discern the signs and tendencies of the times, and opportunely to put itself at the head of a movement, when it commends itself to the light of right reason ; to so gently, if possible, yet none the less decisively, shape its course, smooth away difficulties, and generally guide its action, as to accelerate the attainment of the end in view. All signs tell me that the time is now ripe or nearly so for a decisive coup de grace to be given by our enlightened and merciful legislature to practices and customs which have no real foundation in Hindu religion, which are alike abhorrent to common sense and morality, are utterly prejudicial to the best interests of society at large, and which having already begun to give way and crumble under the silent but sure and powerful influence of public opinion, need but the necessary impetus of legislative condemnation to die the speedy death they deserve.

83. KESHAVLAL MADHOWDAS.—They (the Government) ought to make marriage legal for girls at any time of life beyond 12 years.

84. RUMANUJCHARI M. A. B. L., VICE PRINCIPAL MAHARAJA'S COLLEGE VIJIANAGRAM.--In all the other forms of slavery the law punishes both the seller and the buyer, and dissolves the relation originating from the unrighteons contract, but in the case of connubial slavery the real offenders are not looked upon as criminals at all, and the law is powerless to restore the enthralled to freedom by tearing asunder the fetters forged for her enslavement by the heartless greed of her parents. Can the infamous practice of selling infants be sanctioned under the cloak of matrimony? Can the sacred institution of wedlock, whose influence is highly beneficent and humanizing, be converted into a regular source of illicit profit, revolting to human feelings and brutalizing in its effects upon humanity.....

.I cannot congratulate the

1

British nation upon having restored mankind to freedom by the complete abolition of slavery, so long as they permit the most aggravated form of it to continue under their very noses.

85. BABU P. C. MUZOOMDAR.--Against the evil of infant marriages there is a steadily growing public opinion......... The difficulty is with the girls. The tremendous difficulties of the vexed question of courtship present themselves as soon as you let the tender sex grow up to a certain age. Young ladies institute the most crucial tests of competency in admitting the claims of any human being to their affections, and, when they are good enough to fall in love they belie those tests so flagrantly as to provoke the strongest revolt against the infallibility of their choice. Parents are in great bewilderment, therefore, when they have a bevy of spirited undergraduate daughters. How you manage it in the Parsi community I should like to know. Infant marriages are doomed, but the problem of finding out suitable matches for over-grown young ladies is as far from solution as ever. I have already alluded to the puritanism of Hindu conceptions. We cannot afford to have love letters, flirtations, rejections and amorous fancies in our households. If we can help it, we will not permit the importation of these usages. What then, are we to do? I would advocate betrothals long before marriage. The parents, according to Hindu notions, should propose and arrange the matches, but the daughter or son shall have the power to veto the selection. But if the selection once meet with the approval of parent and child, the match shall never be set aside, unless either of the contracting parties show a physical or moral unfitness.

86. K. N. RANE.-A conservative people like ours do not care to profit by the signs of the times, and their thick skin could be pricked only by the stern hand of law.

87. K. VENCATRAO Esq., FIRST GRADE PLEADER BELLARY.-It can be satisfactorily shown that the Shastras do not prohibit the postponement of the marriage of a girl till she

« AnteriorContinua »