Imatges de pÓgina
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protection of a widow. If against her will, she is compelled to go through the melancholy ceremony of tonsure, the offenders will be liable to prosecution on charges of assault, causing hurt, using criminal force, &c., under the Indian Penal Code. Ample provision is made in Act XV of 1856 for the marriage of widows and for the protectien of their civil rights. She is also protected from wanton insults, resulting from the offensive and unnecessary publication of bulls of excommunication, by the judgment of the Madras High Court in Empress versus Sri Sankarachary Swami. If widows have unredressed grievances, their existence is entirely due to their reluctance to bring them to public notice.

2. M. TILLAINAYAGAM PILLAI.—I find the authorities on the subject to be contradictory; those against early marriage and in favour of remarriage of widows preponderating....

The following facts may, I think, be traced from the Sastras. In earlier days marriages appear to have been performed after women attained puberty or discretion, and remarriage of widows was an orthodox institution. Marriageable age

for women was then reduced to 12 or 10 or 8, and an attempt at stopping the remarriage of widows was made by holding out to them hopes of heaven if they continued unmarried, and led a virtuous life after the death of their husbands. This was probably found to be not a sufficient in. ducement, to prevent remarriage of widows. It was then restricted firet to childless widows and then to virgin widows and finally absolutely prohibited, and even death with her husband was prescribed. Even after all this widow marriage appears to have been practised. But the married couple occupied an inferior position in society.

The days of faith in the divine origin of these anthorities are fust vanishing. They are being believed to be human laws and marriage a human institution. If any Sastra, which

a is intended for the promoti on of human happiness, does not produce that end, but is on the other hand, found to be productive of evil, it may well be revised and a better law calc ulated to secure that end, may be substituted.

SECTION II. BOMBAY PRESIDENCY.

3. K. C. BEDARKAR LL. B. DEPUTY REGISTRAR, HIGH Court.-I am content with expressing my conviction that those who say widow remarriage is not forbidden by the Shastras are correct .... I would beg leave to draw attention to Sections 350, 352, 109, 89 and 90 of the Indian Penal Code. I think that the

provisions of these sections are quite sufficient to put a stop to the forcible shaving of women, who have the misfortune to lose their husbands, provided the peoplc themselves have the courage to invoke their aid..........It must, however, be admitted that there are great difficulties in the way of going to law. The task of ascertaining whether the consent to shave is given voluntarily or otherwise would be stupendous. Perjury would be unscrupulously resorted to in torturing the woman's inclination into her voluntary consent.

4. TIRMALRAO VENKATESH.-Supposing the dates and numbers of all Regulations and Acts passed up to now by the Government of India and all the Local Governments, together with the different sections in them, repcaling former enactments, and stating the extent of country over which each enactment was intended to have force, were effaced, and the bare enact. ments, many of which are contrary to the others, placed in the hands of lawyers, who may in no way be personally acquainted with the order and arrangement of the Regulations and Acts, they would become quite confused, and would not know which Regulation or Act was rescinded and which was in force ; and yet the counsel of one party would take hold of one enactment, and that of the adverse party of a contrary one, and the Judge

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would be at a loss as to which of the two enactments he was to follow. and there would be confusion every where. Such is exactly the state of the present Hindu law books. If the Legislature were to collect all Hindu law books, examine them, and declare which of them are to be acted upon, which modified and which rejected, it would be conferring a great benefit on the country.........Many native pleaders are of this opinion

5. RANCHODLAL K. DESAI.-It may now be taken as a point beyond dispute that the Hiudu Shastras allow of the marriage of widows.

6. KALIANRAI H. DESAI OF BROACH.--Notwithstanding the feeble endeavours of Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagur and Vishnu Shastri Pandit, and their few followers, both here and elsewhere, Oriental Scholarship in India is unanimous in the condemnation of widow remarriage as an institution not recognized by the Shastras.

7. VARJEEVANDASS MADOWDASS.--I believe that the remarriage of widows is prohibited in the religious books of the Hindus and as long as this belief is entertained by the people interested, I think it will be unwise that Government should interfere in the matter.

8. VENKAT RANGO KATTI.--The reformers allege that many of the authorities adduced by their opponents are fabrications and that the single authority of Parashara whose Smriti is declared to be supreme in the Kali age, allowing widow remarriage in five cases of emergency is enough for their purpose. The oppositionists set forth this very authority to oppose remarriage by changing the last word “ Vidhiyate” (is allowed) to “ Navidyate" (is not allowed) and assert that it is their reading which is correct......... If we consult the Dharma Sindhu.... .... we find that the author dismisses the subject of widow remarriage by stating in a very few words that it is. prohibited in the Kali age.

Widow marriage is objected to by some writers of the Dharma Shastra on the principle that a thing once bestowed on

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others cannot be given again. But these writers have at the same time given permission to girls themselves to choose their own husbands when they have none to give them away. (This gentleman gives an account of Rughunathrao's discussion with the Pandits one of whom adduced a verse from the Babhravya Smriti stating that the girl whose husband dies after Saptapaddi (the concluding ceremony of marriage) should not be given to another in the Kali age and refused to accept Raghunathrao's array of authorities in favour of widow remarriage on the ground that none of them specifically opposed the above text. Another explained away Parashara's text by stating that it was applicable to the portion of the Kali age which passed before the sacrifice of Janamejaya, as well as to cases in subsequent times wherein a husband died in the interval between marriage proper and Saptapaddi, and that at all other times Babhravya and other prohibitory authorities must be followed.)

9.-R. G. BHANDARKAR.--The Hindu Shastras do not make Suttee compulsory. Manu and Yajnavalkya, the principal law-givers, make no mention of it whatever. It is only some of the minor law-books that prescribe it, and they even make it optional, the other course open to women being perpetual widowhood. On the other hand there are distinct texts prohibiting the immolation of widows of the Brabmin caste and one law-book allows even remarriage. So that the general spirit of the Hindu Shastras is in favour of perpetual widowhood, self-immolation being allowed but not enjoined. And the practice was in keeping with this spirit.

10. CHATURBHOOJ MORARJI.-Remarriage (of widows) is expressly prohibited by our Aryan religion. There are only two duties enjoined for widows, the first is Sayyapalana (falling away from bed i.e. celibacy) and the other is Anugamana (dying after as of a widow) of these two Sayyapalana is the chief one. Sayyapalana only has been enjoined in the Smritis of Manu and others.

11. GUNGADHAR SHASTRI DATAR OF POONA. -After the death of King Dasharatha his three wives led a life of

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abstinence and protected their sons and subjects. Purshuram's. mother Renuka burnt herself as a Sati. It is also evident that there did not exist, besides these two alternatives the third alternative of widows again marrying themselves. The above incidents are taken from the Purans. In recent times also, in the Kali yug itself, Ahilyabai's daughter burnt herself

a Sati. As to how Ahilyabai herself led a life of abstinence and managed the affairs of her state will be known from a perusal of Malcolm's History of Central India....... In the discussions held some years ago on this subject before the Jagadguru Shrimat Shankar-acharya and in the discussions lately held before Shriman Madhav-acharya, it was decided that the remarriage of widows was contrary to the Hindu Shastras, and that therefore a Brahmin who married a widow became an outcaste with whom as well as with the widow so married no intercourse should be held in matters of religion.

12. PANDIT GATTULAL.-As for the aphorism of Parashara “ that (the husband being) lost, dead, banished, being impotent and outcaste,” &c. the form 997 is not possible, because the word prêt does not terminate in and therefore

it getting 346 by dissolving the Sandhi, and the negative particle in 37941 being construed as conveying the meaning of siunilarity, the aphorism applies to a girl betrothed.

13. GOKULDAS KAHANDASS PAREKH.--As things now stand, in several matters the legal and social position of an adulterous widow is superior to that of a remarrying one......... Her Myjesty's Privy Council and the High Courts of Bombay and Calcutta have all laid down that adultery does not divest the widow of interest once vested in her (I. L. R. 5 Cal. 776 ; 13 B. L. R. 14; I Bom. H. C. R. A. C. 25) while the widow Remarriage Act effects that divesture (See Section 2 Act XV of 1856.) Then again an adulterous widow is entitled to retain the custody and guardianship of her children while the remarrying widow is deprived of them.

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