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12. LALSHANKAR UMIASHANKAR.-The following appear to me to be the chief causes (of Infant Marriage). 1. Family pride. The sooner a boy is married the nobler
is considered his family. 2. The parental duty to marry their children to continue
the progeny is considered 80 supreme, that they (the parents) try to relieve themselves of this duty as
soon as possible. 3. The fear that if any bodily or mental defect is found
in a boy at an advanced age, it would be difficult to
get a bride for him. 4. The desire of ignorant parents that before their death
they should see their children married, and enjoy the
pleasure peculiar to infant marriages. 5. The notion of social disgrace to keep a girl, after
puberty, unmarried. 6. On account of castes and sub-divisions therein, the
sphere of selection is very narrow. It becomes narrower in the case of elder girls. The difficulty of finding out a suitable husband thus increases with the age of the bride; every parent therefore tries the earliest opportunity to find out a suitable bridgroom.
Infant marriage is the result of this competition. 7. In cases where a bride is in fact sold for money, her
guardians, often, to make their gain sure, celebrate
the marriage as early as possible. 13. GOVINDRAO BABAJI JOSHI OF BARODA. It does not appear from the Hindu Law books that the custom of early marriage existed in ancient times. If it were, therefore, asked as to how the custom originated, it appears to me that it must have come into vague under the Mahomadan rule. In these times, journeys to distant places were attended with dangers, and people must have been obliged to give their daughters in marriage in their own or neighbouring villages, instead of
seeking alliances for them in remote parts of the country. In course of time, the anxiety on the part of the parents to secure suitable matches for their sons and daughters in their limited communities, may have led to the practice of early marriage, which gradually moving along the stream of time, has extended to our own period.
14. GOKALDAS KAHANDAS PAREKH.-The causes of Infant Marriage ) are as under.
(a) Non-calculation of the effects, and in, difference to the results of early marriages.
(6) Very small caste subdivisions, limiting the number of brides and bridegrooms for one's selection.
(e) Gratification of vanity in reference to the caste by the betrothal and marriage of the children while mere infants...... A large number (even in a subdivision of caste) would be anavailable to a person for marriage by being related in the agnatic line, however distant, or by being within the sixth degree in the cognatic line.
The circumstance that a man's son is betrothed while yet a baby in the cradle, is considered popularly an indication of his high position in the caste, and that another man was not able to get his son betrothed so early is an indication to the contrary.
SECTION III. BENGAL PRESIDENCY.
15. BABU KEDARESSUR Roy, SMALL CAUSE COURT JUDGE, DACCA.-A father dies leaving his son, who in consequence becomes helpless ; the widowed mother seeks for redress in a suitable marriage of the boy, that her son may be placed under the guardianship of a fathor-in-law, who may be able to educate him. This is also done during the life-time of a father, who is unable to bear the expenses consequent on the education of his son. Numerous instances of this nature may be found in all the Government Colleges and Schools.
16. KAILASHCHANDRA BHATTACHARJI.-There is generally no anxiety on the part of the parents to marry their boys too early, say under 10 years, except under very peculiar circumstances, arising out of two rather extreme causes viz too much poverty or too much riches.
17. JESSORE INDIAN ASSOCIATION.- The Hindu law of succession does not allow the daughter to inherit her paternal estate, when she has her brother. She has to live entirely on the mercy of her brother for support, and if she incurs his displeasure, her position is extremely miserable. This anxiety always broods in the mind of her father, who, therefore, considers it his prime duty to unite her to a deserving husband in his own life time.
18. KUMAR PRAMATHA BHUSHANVA, DEVA, RAJA OF NALDUNGA.--The paralysis of social organism in India, is due to the fact that, whilst education has done and is doing much to elevate the minds of our men, the women portion of the community is well nigh where it was, centuries back. Women wield great power in domestic relations, and so long as their minds are not elevated by education to appreciate our refined ideas, any radical social change is the last thing that we can hope for.
SECTION IV. NORTH-WEST PROVINCES AND OUDH, THE PUNJAB, CENTRAL PROVINCES, BURMA, ASSAM, COORG, HYDRABAD
19. HONOURABLE D. G. BARKLEY, MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, OF THE PUNJAB GOVERNMENT.—In the Punjab such marriages (of girls to boys who are their juniors) may arise from either of two causes. The caste of the girl's parents may be such that they have found it difficult to obtain what they consider a suitable match for their daughter, and they may therefore have to agree to marry her to a boy of proper caste who is younger than the girl, rather than leave her unmarried. Or the girl may have been betrothed to an elder brother who has died, and popular opinion may be so strongly in favour of the claim of the family of the intended husband, when there is a younger brother to whom the girl could be given, that the parents may feel it impossible to resist the claim.
20. DEWAN RAMNATH DISTRICT JUDGE, HOSHIARPUR.Public interference of any kind will not meet generally with. satisfaction, as long as the idea prevails that it is a sin to keep a girl unmarried, after she is 10 years of age.
21. KANWAR BEKRAMA SixG BAHADUR, AHLUWALIA, C.S.I.-With regard to the question of early marriage, I beg to state that its prevalence is to be ascribed to the general feeling among the people, that it is one of their great responsibilities to get their children (especially daughters) settled in life, to save them from all future anxieties about having a proper home. But no doubt it sometimes happens, that the death of an infant husband comes as a great calamity.
22. RAI MULRAJ M. A., EXTRA ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER GURDASPUR, PANJAB.—It is no good denying the fact that many Hindus marry their girls at an early age, because they think that their religion requires them to do so.
Most people however marry their sons and daughters at an early age, because they think it is required by the custom of the country. Almost all Hindus have a dread of a girl arriving at the age of puberty, before marriage............Early marriage is not unfrequently the necessary and unavodable result of. infant betrothal.
23. BAJABA RAMCHANDRA PRADHAN, EDUCATIONAL INSPECTOR HYDRABAD ASSIGNED DISTRICT.-The custom of early, marriages among the Mahrattas does not seem to be of a very ancient date. It had its origin in the times of their prosperity and became general during the latter days of the Peshwas. It attained its height in the early years of British rule in Western India, when the people first tasted peace......... When education had not taken root, and the disturbing ideas of reform were not known.
SECTION V. EXTRACTS FROM OPINIONS
GIVEN TO MR. MALABARI.
24. KESHAVLAL MADHAVDAS, (RUTLAM.)--At one time, there was great prosperity in India and abundance of food so that no one cared for increase in the number of family members. This gave rise to the custom of early marriages as well as numerous holidays, festivals, and caste dinners.
25. Pandit BADRI DUTT Joshi, POLITICAL PENSIONER ALMORA.-Your idea" that it (infant marriage may have been forced upon the people under the first Mahomedan invasion " is likely true, but I am rather inclined to think that, the physical weakness produced by the evil led to the Hindus losing their country.... .......Previous to the time of the coming of the Mahomedans, there must have been a time at which disaffection in the country, or rather civil war among the different classes of people to make each influential over another, may be thought to have taken place, and with it the violation of the codes and precepts...
..which by the time the Mahomedans came, must have so deteriorated the Hindus a8 (sic) led to their yielding to the invaders without the least opposition.
26. Rai H. C. SETH, (JHANSI).--In fact, so much internal pressure and adverse influence is exercised that sometimes with good reasons, educated Hindus have to submit and give up their laudable enterprise in despair. This mischievous impulse comes mostly from the females, who always have an extraordinary influence in directing family affairs. Such is not the case in India alone, but all over the world.
27. HON'BLE MR. DAYARAM JETHMUL.-I hear even now several infant marriages are being negotiated among families of standing and position. I also informed you in a former letter of the fearful expenditure required for these marriages, and a regular chain of transfers of bridal presents, which contributed mainly, if not solely, to early marriages. (Vide also this gen- . tleman's opinion in chap. IV.)