Imatges de pàgina
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late female education to the utmost extent possible, so that the females may have sufficient enlightenment to realize their present degraded position, and sufficient moral courage to assert their right to remarry if they choose to do so.

9. NARAYEN BHIKAJI, DEPUTY COLLECTOR, NASIK.-I am strongly of opinion that a law be passed that no widow below the age of 35 shall be shaved by a barber without the written permission of a Punch given by them after noting down the voluntary desire of the woman concerned.

The law............ should like the Gambling Act be made applicable to towns and villages on application of the inhabitants of the class whom the same affects.

10. GOPALRAO HURRY, DIWAN OF RUTLAM.-In my opinion it is necessary to amend the Widow Marriage Act so far as to declare (that) any public proceeding adopted by caste or others to excommunicate and molest any remarried couple or their friends is illegal and penal under Chap. XXI. and XXII: of the Indian Penal Code.

11. K. C. BEDARKAR, L.L.B., DEPUTY REGISTRAR, HIGH COURT.—The motto of reformers for some years to come must be agitation and discussion by means of organized bodies in every part of India. The subject must be brought home to the old and to the young, to the orthodox and to the heterodox. Constant familiarity with the question and the evils of prohibition of the marriage of widows must in course of a little more time lead to a healthier and better state of things.......

I should not be disinclined if the Government made a fresh section 351 (I. P. C.) by declaring that “no Hindu widow under the age of 25 should be deemed to have given her consent to shave unless it be in writing signed or marked by her before a Magistrate and attested by the latter." I think the people are to a certain extent prepared to view such a measure with secret approbation, if not more, and Government might properly aid the cause by its introduction.

12. HURRICHUND SADASIV HATE A.M.I.C.E.--Enforced widowhood is, as a general rule, the result of early marriages, and as soon as the practice of early marriages is done away with, it will mitigate many of the serious evils of perpetual widowhood.

Several texts of the Shastras will be found in favour of widow remarriage. These texts should be collected and the opinions of learned Pandits both orthodox and of the new school versed in the Shastras obtained. These opinions should be extensively circulated and the scruples of the female sex on the point be thus overcome. Government may very humanely put a stop to the present barbarous custom of getting young widows at least under 30 years of age, shaved.

13. RANCHODLAL K. DESAI.-As the commission of adultery by the unfortunate widows leads them to commit suicides and infanticides either before or after birth, the Government may well be pleased to rule that the adultery by and with a widow shall be criminally punishable. This sugges. tion, if accepted by the Government, will lead ymany widows to perform marriages instead of committing adultery secretly without caring for caste-excommunication.

14. VEERCHAND DIPCHAND.-The best thing which I am inclined to recommend for the present is for Government and the public to come forward, and open as many foundling hospitals as the funds at their disposal permit, and this measure will apparently do away to a certain extent with the evil arising from the prohibition of widow remarriage.

15. DIVAN BAHADUR MANIBHAI JASBHAI, (DIWAN OF C'UTCH.)-The idea of establishing a national (association for social reforms suggested by Mr. Malabari is excellent and has my hearty approval.

16. M. G. RANADE, Poona.-A reform in the early marriage law would prove very helpful in preventing early widowhood. The interposition of independent non-official

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gentlemen as intermediaries to ascertain whether the young widow understands the full misery of her situation, will go a great way to alleviate her lot.

17. VENKAT RANGO KATTI.--An effectual suppression of the shaving of widows is paving the road for widow remarriage .... Sections 320 and325 (of the Penal Code) contain ample provision for our present purpose. It is therefore only necessary that Government pass a general order not longer than 2 lines directing the attention of Magistrates to the serious crime of shaving a woman and ordering them to take complaints against it brought by any body whatever

No trace of a shaved widow can be found before Buddhism

.... That faith required the shaving of its religious persons, men or women. Such widows in those days as had no attraction for this world turned Sanyasis of their own accord by getting their head shaved and wearing red cloth, and went to live in Viharas or monasteries. This custom was regarded at the time by the Indian nation as a great improvement on the former social condition inasmuch as it granted equal rights to women with men in religious matters. When the Vedic religion revived through the efforts of Kumarilabhatta and others who drove Buddhism to foreign lands, this custom was borrowed from it by the astute Brahmins along with other good customs, with the double purpose of making their own religion more attractive to the masses and exposing the dark side of the banished religion to the world. Shaving of widows, therefore, may be considered to date from the 4th or 5th century A.D., as part of the present Hindu religion.

18. R. G. BHANDARKAR, PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT, DECCAN COLLEGE.-Indirectly Government will greatly help the cause (of widow remarriage) if it pushes on vigorously the education of girls and especially their higher education. It grieves me, however, to find that the present generation of educated natives are not so enthusiastic about the elevation of women as they are about many other things ; while it is almost disappointing to find that the lower strata of the body actually oppose any scheme that has for its object the amelioration of their condition.

19. NAGINDAS TULSIDAS.—It just strikes me that if bigamy, polygamy and remarriage be prohibited to males of the castes who obstinately refuse remarriage to widows, the object of Government will be attained sooner. But this, again, will necessitate legislation which Government may or many not be willing to undertake. It further occurs to me that Government may do much by requiring and diffusing information on the point.

20. LAKHMIDAS KHIMJI.-If the formidable, most pernicious and tyrannical power of excommunicating 'is taken away from the caste in the matter of widow remarriages by declaring it to be an offence in the caste or any of its members, to excommunicate or join in excommunicating any persons marrying a widow, or taking part in the widow remarriage ceremonies, or having intercourse with parties contracting such marriages, it would be a great boon conferred on the poor widows suffering under it.

21. LALSHANKAR UMIYASHANKAR.- ( a ) Vernacular - translations of Act XV of 1856 should be published and largely distributed gratis.

(6) Government should strictly warn the officials to take all precautionary measures to assist and protect the remarriage party in all possible manners.

(c) As long as the persecution is very active, Government officers should give preference to remarried candidates (i.e., candidates who have married widows appa rently) in filling up places for which they may be qualified.

(d) The proposed associations should be recognized and registered by law, and some penalty should be prescribed for one, who, after joining the association in a specified manner, breaks the rules thereof. It may be said that many will not join the association owing to such a provision of law. But I

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think it is better to have a few members who would adhere to the rules than to have many who would do nothing, and leave the body at any time they please. The rules may vary according to circumstances, but if the associationists be legally bound to observe their rules, mutual confidence among the members will increase and much good will result.

22. ATMARAM PANDURANG.-Much can be effected by the exercise of personal influence by the officers of State, from His Excellency downwards, on heads of castes and leaders of native society, to facilitate the introduction of the required reforms in their several communities. As an illustration of what I mean, I beg to refer Government to the line of conduct followed in such matters by so high and judicious an authority as the late Sir J. Malcolm, as described in Vol. II. of his Memoir of Central India, 3rd Edition. As regards the present case, I may observe that the mere fact of Government asking for opinions on Mr. Malabari's 'Notes' has so far influenced some of those who were fiercely opposed, for instance, to widow marriage that they freely allow themselves to he talked to on the subject.........and admit that the matter is worth considering. I may

also mention that some of these gentlemen who only a few years ago would not tolerate the presence of a respectable remarried Hindu lady at Government House, simply because she was a widow before, do not now feel any such objection to her presence, and the change of feeling is due to the sole fact that Government do not think the worse of a respectable Hindu lady for her remarriage, and in their invitations to Government House make no distinction on that account. I therefore believe that much unfounded prejudice and unreasoning opposition can be overcome in this manner. 23. PANDIT NARAYEN KESSOW VAIDYA.-The first

step to be atteinpted is the appointment of a Commission........ The next step is to remodel our girls' schools on the model chalked out for us in 1867 by the late veteran lady of worldwide renown Miss Mary Carpenter.... The police returns under

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