Imatges de pÓgina

not remarry their widows on account of respectability of the family.

7. MR. JUGJIVANDASS (SURAT).—The Brahmins, Bannians, Jains, Tonis and a few other minor castes do not observe this custom (widow remarriage) generally under an impression that it is not allowed by the Shastras, presuming at the same time that by its adoption, distinction between higher and lower castes may cease to a great extent, and that the evil of poisoning or killing the husband of a wife who does not agree with him and who has a lover ready to take her, will easily find its way

8. SAKHARAM ARJUN.--The introduction of this pernicious custom (Enforced widowhood) in the Non-Brahminical classes is due to that rage for imitating their superiors which constantly seizes an inferior class, whether in politics or religion, in literature or art. In our own days the eagerness for indiscriminate adoption of the foibles, nay even the follies of our English rulers, which many of our countrymen display, is an illustration in point of this passion for imitating our superiors.

9. NAGINDAS TULSIDAS.-I am inclined to believe that this custom (Enforced widowhood) must have been introduced when the number of females was greater than that of males.

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10. BRITISH INDIAN ASSOCIATION.—The Committee readily admit that the law of the remarriage of Hindu widows has not proved so fruitful of result as could be wished by its advocates.

But this is not a matter for wonder. Young girls under 13 or 14 years of age can be easily given away in marriage, without consulting their wishes, because they are not in a

mental condition to judge for themselves; but the case is different when widows of 18 years and more have to be dealt with and who cannot but assert their will. In such cases eourtship is the only means of influencing their minds, and courtship implies a change of dress, manners, habits and customs of Hindu Society : in short a complete boulversement of the Hindu social fabric, which cannot readily be accomplished. Hence it is futile to expect a rapid change.


(DECCAN.) &c.

11. CHIEF SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, N. W. P. AND OUDH.-It has been pointed out by Mr. Mayne that the prohibition against the second marriage of women

... has no foundation either in early law or custom. It is probable, he thinks, that the change of usage on this point arose from the influence of Brahminical opinion, marriage coming to be looked upn as a Sacrament, the effect of which was indelible. This view seems quite in accordance with the rnles actually followed by most Hindus in the North-Western Provinces.

It seems clear that, comparing the two countries, (North West Provinces and Oudb, and England) there are more widows in the North-West Provinces and Oudh, because (1) a larger proportion of the women get married, and (2) they get married very much younger. Cæteris paribus, a woman who marries at 15 stands a much greater chance of being left awidow, than a woman who does not marry till 30 ; and as an Indian woman reaches a marriageable age earlier than a European, so she passes it soon er. Mr. White's inquiries (at the time of the Census) went to show that at 30 years of age she is

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generally an old woman, past the age for child-bearing and not likely to secure another husband. This most likely is the reason why......... the proportion of Hindu women living in widowhood only begins to get excessive in the fourth decade of life. Those left widows after 30 remain 80 for the rest of their lives, and this is a state of things which is likely to continue till some radical change in the national physique and constitution occurs, which may check the development and prolong the youth and vigour of the race.

Males remarry freely even in old age, but they do not seem to marry their second wives from among the widows of 30 and upwards.

The excess of widows seems due in the main to physical and social causes which are not peculiar to Hindus, and are probably inseparable from the ethnological and climatic conditions of the country.

The residuum of avoidable evil which can be safely set down to caste custom, is confined to the wealthier and more educated classes, who ought to be best able to help themselves without asking for Government interference.

12. MR. BAPUJEE HARI HEAD CLERK, OFFICE OF DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, BULDHANA.-Wedded to a child hardly capable of taking care of itself, a female child in a hundred cases out of 500, becomes a widow. She does not in many instances know whether she was ever married. She does not even realize the loss she has sustained in the death of her boyhusband. She does not comprehend the restrictions and privations, the usual lot of a Hindu widow, to which she is subjected. She does not comprehend the evil she has committed for which she is made to suffer all the rigors of widowhood. Her restrictions and privations grow more and more as she advances towards the dangerous state of widowed womanhood. Once at that age, and there is fear of fall, and what is the consequence of that fall but misery, imprisonment or untimely death. Shame is more formidable than death, it causes even the ill-gotten child to be thrown away or disposed


of in the way best known to a young Hindu widow. All these evils proceed from the evil and pernicious custom of early marriage. Prevention is better than cure. If infant marriage is stopped, the large number of India's widows will be diminished.



13. P. C. MoZOOM DAR, BRAHMO MISSIONARY.-With the exception of a few men who marry widows out of principle, or of a small percentage who are indifferent whether they marry maids or widows, there is a clearly defined and quite extensive objection in marriageable men to take a widow for wife. In as well as outside the Brahma Samaj one meets with this objection so repeatedly that the inference suggests itself-there must be some natural cause for it. All notions on the subject of the holiness of the marriage tie are so absolutely and constitutionally puritanic amongst Hindus, that in spite of the revolutionary training of the young men, they theoretically uphold widow marriage as a reform, but they will not themselves marry widows when their turn comes. The remarriage of widows as a separate movement has not the same moral interest for every practical reformer. It may do very well as part of a larger and more sweeping measure. To the genuinely orthodox, it is quite as revolutionary as the most radical movement, despite all quotations from the Dharma Shastras. To the genuinely heterodox it is too fractional to deserve so much shot and powder!

It seems to me, my dear sir, a wise economy of Providence that quite an appeciable number of men and women in every civilized people, whether in the shape of the widowed or the unmarried, should remain disentangled from the anxieties and trials of matrimony for the ministry of sorrow, suffering, and other wants of general society.

14. Rai H. C. SETH, (JHANSI).-Hindu sons and daughters being generally married at an age when they even do not get over the ordinary diseases of childhood, the result is that many girls become widows before they know what conjugal bliss is, and are forced to pass the best portion of their life in widowhood.

15. W. WORDSWORTH.-In India, where for ages the thoughts and habits of men have been controlled and dominated by religious ideas, it is easy to understand how the sacramental or mystical conception of marriage as a binding tie for time and eternity,and thə inferences which have been drawn from that conception, should have taken such deep root and possess such enduring vitality. In the primitive Christian society in which this temporal life was also darkened by the overpowering vision of the hereafter, the sacramental conception of marriage was among its earliest developments, and second marriages, as you know, were tolerated and barely tolerated, as concessions to human weakness. On this subject even St. {Paul in whom practical judgment went hand in hand with mysticism, uses language which strikes harshly on modern ears. If European society had ever been as completely moulded by theological beliefs and priestly rules as Hindu society has been, I am persuaded that remarriage, or at least the remarriage of women would have also been prohibited in Europe. If this had been done, European society would certainly have suffered, but not perhaps so much in the direction which you would be inclined to suppose.




1-KRISHNASWAMI RAO CHIEF JUSTICE TRAVANCORE.The laws now in force contain adequate provisions for the

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