Imatges de pàgina

knit together, and they both move together wherever and on whatever purpose they may move. For all these purposes a betrothed infant girl is considered unqualified, till she attains her puberty, and her marriage is actually consummated........

If we go today to a college in any district we can hardly find unmarried Brahman boys of 12 or 13 years......

The belief that a girl attaining puberty before betrothal or marriage loses her caste...............bas no legal basis. To show that it is so, I have to refer to the community of Nambudri Brahmans of the West coast, among whom infant marriage is rare, and I should say never takes place............ In any illom or house of

or house of a Nambudri kaving such unmarried girls, the Patter Brahmans of Pal Ghat, as well as their brethren of the East coast, sit in a line with the Nambudris and take meals which are prepared by such girls.

A majority of boys (in colleges and schools) are Brahmans, and infant marriage is greatly among them, and to a fearful extent, and this vice has been copied by other caste people who try to imitate them in every respect.

5. O. SUBBARAYA AIYAR, B.A., B.L., THIRD JUDGE, APPELLATE COURT, ERNACOLLUM.-Referring to the census statistics of 1881, it will be found, on a comparison of figures, that the custom of early marriage is prevalent specially among the Brahmans. To quote from the census report,"some are married before seven and nearly all are married before 10." The figures suggest that between 6 and 7 is the average age of marriage for females among Brahmans. This has the natural result of a high percentage of widows, and we find that nearly 1/3rd of the Brahman women are widows......Out of a total of 80,000 widows under twenty, 60,000 belong to the Brahman caste, and 20,000 only to other castes.

Early marriages, brought about under the discriminating and fostering care of Hindu parents, have not failed to lead to happy unions, securing to the married couples social and domestic felicity ............I have heard from my European

friends that, even in England and other civilized countries, where freedom of choice and liberty of action are enjoyed in the highest degree by the contracting parties, marriage is a lottery in which more blanks are drawn than prizes.

6. S. SUBBRAMANIA Aiyar, Vakil, High Court. To be brief, Mr. Malabari has not exaggerated the evil effects of the pernicious practice of marrying boys and girls before they attain proper age, now obtaining among a large section of the Hindu community. The most orthodox cannot deny that the evil is a real evil having a most degenerating influence on the social, moral, intellectual, and physical well-being of society. It is however gratifying to find, that there is a strong reaction in the minds of the educated classes in this matter, and the percentage of such marriages is on the decrease.

7. CHENTSAL RAO, SUPERINTENDENT OF STATIONERY.According to custom which is regarded, I think, erroneously, as the law, every girl has to be married before she atttains her puberty, and if she is not so married she loses her caste. Girls in this country usually attain puberty at 12 or 13, and sometimes even so early as 11, so that the latest period up to which a girl can be safely kept unmarried is 10...... In my humble opinion it is far better that a boy of 16 or 17 marries a girl of 8 or 9, than that a youth of 21 or 22 years. marries a girl of 9 or 10.

As regards marriages of infant girls with old men, I certainly think it is a matter in which Government can interfere, without provoking the slightest suspicion in the minds of intelligent natives. I have known cases in which girls of 8 or 9 years have been given in marriage, for the sake of money, to men of 60 years, but such cases are so very few that the interference of Government is hardly called for. If Government is to interfere at all, it must be by legislating that such marriages are illegal.

In this part of the country, there are but very few casesin which older girls are married to younger men, and the matter hardly calls for legislation. I have heard of such marriages among the Goundens of Coimbature.

8. M. TILLAINNAYAGAM PILLAI, DEPUTY COLLECTOR, MADURA.—Infant marriage is largely practised more among the Brahmans than other castes. Komattis and high caste Vellalas have followed this example of the Brahmans. Early marriage is however almost unknown to the low caste Sudras, among whom remarriage of widows is also permitted......

When 9 per cent is the average of widows in the European countries, 21 is the percentage obtaining in India, and 31 the percentage among the Brahmans...

Instances are not wanting where young men have been spoiled by early marriage. Many have given up their studies, unable to find time for the same, having been burdened with the cares of conjugal life. They lose their spirits, and are bound down to their houses, and in fact become less useful to society than they would otherwise be. Early marriage is therefore an obstruction to the progress of society. I have heard a highly talented candidate for the University examination tell his friends that, he would have answered some of the questions better had he not been anxious about the condition of his sick child. If this is the case even with grown up men a raw youth married early and blessed with children, must feel worse under the circumstances. Besides, early marriage affects the general health of the married couple, and their progeny, and the result is, we have a weak and imbecile nation.

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A man approaching the grave can easily secure a girl of 9 or 10 years for his partner, provided he makes up his mind to pay a handsome price for the creature. A leper can in the same way easily secure the hand of a fair maid for money.

9. T. PATTABUIRAM, HEAD SERISHTADAR, TRICHINOPOLY COLLECTORATE.-Among all castes of Hindus other than Brahmans and Komattis, infant marriages are rare and exceptional and not the rule.....

... 4.83 ...6•06

The Brahmans bear the percentage of 4.94 to the whole population of India as detailed in the margin. Census Report Vol. I p. 308. The Brahman female population for Madras Presidency... 3.94 the whole of India is 6,606,000; of this Bombay Benga)

31 percent or 2,047,860, are widows, and 3) 14.83 213 per cent or 1,436,805 are unmarried.

4.94 Thus both unmarried and widowed females of the Brahman class come up to 52 per cent of the female Brahman population, while in Europe the single and widowed females come up to 67 per cent of the total female population there, or 141 per cent more (Census Report p. 94 Vol. I.)


10. MAHIPATRAM RUPRAM, C.I.E. PRINCIPAL, TRAINING COLLEGE, AHMEDABAD.--Now and then we see an infant girl married to a rich old man, for the sake of his money, and, in some castes, especially the Patidar caste in the Ahmedabad and Kaira Collectorates, and the Anavala Desai caste in the Surat Collectorate and Gaekwad territory in Southern Gujarat, a boy of 6 or 8 is frequently married to a girl of 12 or 16, though, seldom, I be. lieve, from any wicked designs. Generally such marriages are contracted from family pride. In other castes disparity of age also prevails to a more or less extent. Bridgrooms are several years younger than their brides. Little girls are sometimes married to old men also........

The harm done by the custom of infant marriage is really great, and Mr. Malabari has not at all overstated the mischief arising from it.

11. NANDAHANKAR, ASSISTANT JOINT ADMINISTRATOR, RAJPIPLA.--The baneful effects of early and ill assorted marriages, are in some cases felt and acknowledged even by the uneducated mass of Hindus; but so powerful is the hold which the doctrine of fatalism or predestination has on their minds that, unfortunate marriages are regarded rather as the inevitable decrees of fate, than the result of their own folly or indiscretion.

The custom is almost unknown among the aborigines of Gujrat; and among the upper class of Rajputs, the anxiety evinced by the parents to secure husbands for their daughters of a class higher and nobler than themselves, operates in some cases as a check upon this practice. Marrigeable girls among some sections of the Shravak Community, and a few sub-divisions of Brahmans, are regarded as marketable commodities, whose value rises with age. Girls 13 or 14 years of age are, when they are with their parents, regarded as a "bundle of snakes,” whose presence is attended with more or less risk, and hence their eagerness to keep them with their husbands, before their passions are developed ....

So long as the Hindus consider it an act of merit or honour to give away their daughters in marriage before they arrive at the age of puberty, so long as they are anxious to consuinmate marriage before their constitution is developed, so long as they are solicitous of marrying their sons in boyhood, and of taking part in the frolics and festivities attending the marriage of their sons and daughters, during the precarious terms of the lives of themselves or other aged members of their families, and so long as parents are eager to make money out of the marriages of their daughters, it is almost impossible to devise measures calculated to discourage child-marriages or ill-assorted unions, without offending the moral susceptibilities of the orthodox portion of the Hindu community.

Prolonged virginity among Hindu females is not visited with excommunication.


12. LALLUBHAI NANDLAL, NATIVE As8ISTANT TO THE COMMISSIONER, NORTHERN DIVISION.—There is such thing as marrying two infants together except on very rare occasions Among the higher caste people, girls are generally married from

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