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In the present state of female bringing-up and debasement, it would be unsafe to leave girls after a certain age without legitimate means of fulfilling what, to their understanding, is the aim and object of their lives.
75. LUXMON G. Rishi, DEPUTY EDUCATIONAL INSPECTOR, Basın DISTRICT.—The objectionable form of marrirge referred to in the concluding portion of Mr. Malabari's note I, ( marriage of grown up girls with boys) obtains nowhere, except among Hindus of Northern India who keep the zenana system. Among them the girl cannot be seen by the parents or relatives of the boy, the would-be husband of the girl : and if the boy be the son of a well-to-do person, the parents of the girl purposely conceal her real age, to secure the match and a well organized fatherin-law's house for her, no matter if she be older than the boy.
76. NARAYEN PRABHAKER PARASPE, HEAD MASTER, ANGLOVERNACULAR SCHOOL, RAJA DEULGAON.-It is true that a boy, if married before 12, is prevented from prosecuting his studies just 4 or 5 years after the wedding, when the girl generally becomes a woman. It will at the same time be admitted that, native boys feel a desire for sensual enjoyment at the age of 17. When a boy exceeds the 17th or 18th year
without means of enjoying carnal pleasure, he is driven to practise an unnatural way of satisfying his desires for sexual congress. The means adopted by the boys are the most detrimental to their health. The most pernicious habit I speak of, is very common among the school boys and the college students. The girl too is supposed to get the menses from 12 to 16, the first and the last years being rare cases of the first appearance of the menses. .........If a girl, especially a Brahmin girl, remain a virgin when she has menstruated, no one will accept her for a wife, and the consequences would be such as to render her life single. Similar difficulties are not found among the Mahrathas and other classes of Hindus, and their girls can be allowed to remain unmarried till they are full grown.
77. VISHNU MORESHWAR M. A., HEAD MASTER, HIGH School, AKOLA.-Infant marriage does often entail enforced widowhood,.........Of the two most objectionable forms of infant marriage which Mr. Malabari has noticed, i. e. of a young girl with an old man, and of a grown-up girl with a boy younger than herself, the second is pernicious; but I do not know how it can be prevented. It does not prevail in Maharashtra but, I learn, prevails in certain limited castes in Gujrat. As often the ill-assorted marriages are held for want of boys of proper ages as for the illicit purpose mentioned by Mr. Malabari, and it would be hard for Government to distinguish between the two cases.
78. BAJABA RAMCHANDRA PRADHAN, EDUCATIONAL INSPECTOR, HYDRABAD ASSIGNED DISTRICTS. —Ten years ago it was very rare to find a girl above the age of 8 years, who was not married. There are now many unmarried girls of 10 and 11 years in respectable families. Some of the girls married last year among the Brahmins and the other higher castes were, I know, 13 and 14 years old.... .It will be a mistake to suppose that any reform adopted by the higher castes, will not be taken up by the lower and less educated classes of the people.
79. SHRIRAM BHIKAJI JATAR B. A., DIRECTR OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, HYDRABAD ASSIGNED DISTRICTS.--I believe that his (Mr. Malabari's) discriptions of the evil effects of early marriage and widow celibacy have been overdrawn; but as the customs he criticises are undoubtedly pernicious, nothing is gained by going minutely into the observations and saying that the evil is not so great as he represents. All reasonable men admit the urgent necessity of some steps for the removal of the evil.
80. WAMAN NARAYEN BAPAT, TAHSILDAR, CHANDUR TALUK.-Even in the present state of things, every good has almost its inseparable factor of evil, and all that humanity is capable of, is to consider both the credit and debit side of every good and evil, and strike the balance if it can...
In India, for climatic reasons, women and men arrive at the age of puberty much sooner than elsewhere, and the average limit of puberty for women may be fixed at 13, and that for men at 16. All marriages below this limit may be classed as infant or improper marriages.
(This gentleman's elaborate arguments may be represented as follows : Evils of infant marriages according to Mr. Mala
REPLY. bari. 1. Enforced widowhood.
Infant marriage not responsible for the widowhood of those who have the misfortune of losing husbands of 16 and
upwards. 2. Absence of free-will.
The evil has small proportions. Mr. Malabari him
“ The argument of absence of the exercise of free-will may not commend itself readily to all practical
reformers 3. Hobson's choice owing to “ If castes and sub-castes
endogamy in the caste are to exist, one does not peror sub-caste.
ceive how late marriages will
prevent these evils." 4. Physical defects or moral “ So long as human nature taints.
is not prepared to forget its high descent and lofty destiny, it cannot traffic in human flesh, with that utter oblivion of the demands of decency, with which it enters into other contracts. Hence, in contracting marriages, much will always be left to chance, and little to deliberation and choice...... Children are naturally more exposed to observation than adults, and
less likely to assist in cheating. 5. The out-growing of hus
care is generally band or wife
taken to prevent this.” 6. Husbands becoming fit for These are
rare cases and the grave when the wife few and far between.”
becomes fit for his home. 7. Total or partial absence of 6. Married life has seldom a
physical adaptability or complaint to make on the temperament.
score of physical adaptabili
ty. As to disparity of temperament, in late marriages outward form will carry everything-adults have little patience for the exercise of cool judgment-and can hide their weakness from each other. In child marriages you can chisel off many of the angularities of temperament by a proper course of treatment. In late marriages one cannot be a disciplinarian, and at the same time a loving husband or wife. Mr. Malabari himself observes that infant minors turn out happy in a large majority of
8. Social alienation.
9. A too early consummation “ Too early” is vague. No
of marriage and its con- consummation takes place besequences.
fore puberty. Marriages are so arranged, that by the time the
boy is 16 the the wife is 13. 10. Breaking down of consti- " That consummation which tution.
takes place just when the parties have arrived at the age of puberty, is a direct call of
nature, and cannot be early or 11. Ushering in of disease.
late. Nature is generally credit
ed with being unerring and per12. Birth of sickly children. fect. In cases especially when
she writes in legible characters, and where it is impossible to misunderstand her, it is not
always possible to disregard 13. Necessity of feeding too her. If she is opposed or slight
ed she knows how to have her 14. Poverty.
revenge. It may be less direct,
longer in coming, but it is 15. Dependence.
none the less certain. In these timely consummations if it is nature that calls, we cannot be presumably wrong in res
16. A disorganised household ponding to her. Hence, we leading to sin.
should be disposed to argue that if Hindu children are comparatively more sickly and less robust, it should be the effect of causes other than
these wrongly called untimely 17. Premature death.
It will not do to forget that a strong physical constitution is the product not of one or two, but
of several causes combined. 18. Unprotected infants. Climate, food, habits, and a
host of other things go to form it as much as consummations
do." 19. The giving up of studies
Consummation not a day by the husband
too early. Therefore it tends to make the husband more steady, more tractable, and even more studying, than he would be
without it. 20. Over-population in poverty
“Begin early and end early, is a law of nature. If you begin early in begetting children, you must end it early also. Overpopulation is not yet one of India's standing grievances. If it is, it is the direct result of every well ordered Government, which disturbs nature's operations to restore equilibrium, by either preventing wars. famines, diseases &c., or by minimizing their mischief. In countries where marriages are late, progeny
is more numerous, longer lived, and spreads far
and wide and like a fig tree.” 21. Contracting of debts to
Overpopulation and poverty solemnize marriages with do not go together. England eclát.
is over populous but not poor. The Sahara Desert is poor,