Imatges de pÓgina


by the time the age has approached. It seems reasonable therefore that a man should marry after he has commenced the 16

of his

and before the 20th year, or some time after that.....

The marriage of a girl, both according to the Shastras and according as it stands to reason should be performed after the girl has commenced the 8th year of her age, and before she has completed the 12th. The marriage of a girl performed as is some times now the case, in her very young age before she has commenced the 6 year of her age is against the majority of the Shrutis and the Smritis, and is also not consistent with reason.


17. BABU KEDARESSUR Roy,J UDGE SMALL CAUSE COURT, DACCA.-A girl at the age of 8 years is considered by the Hindu Shastras as marriageable, and the act of making her over to a bridegroom is thought as attended with virtues to her parents, similar to those which attended the making over of Gauri (Doorga) by her father to Siva; and the age of 12th year of a girl is considered as the age of puberty before which she must be married, or perdition shall befall her parents and ancestors. A deviation from this rule may sometimes he observed among the Brahmin Kulins of Bengal who marry their girls either earlier than 8th or later than 12th year of their age, when they find it difficult to procure conveniently a bridegroom descended from a family with whom inter-marriage is allowed by the laws of Kulinism, but such instances are rare, and tolerated as being according to the popular and time hallowed laws of Kulinism,

18. BABU HORI MOHUN CHANDRA, PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO THE COMMISSIONER RAJSHAHYA DISTRICT.-In chap. üi (of Manu) which deals with every minute detail of the marriage ceremony of the twice born, I nowhere find the marriageable age of males fixed.

In verse 89 chap. IX, I find that a "damsel though marriageable may stay at home till her death, if a suitable bridegroom cannot be found.”

We find that this custom is frequently observed in the present age by many families unable to get bridegrooms of suitable position, or when they are unable to meet the demands of the bridegroom's parents or guardians.

Verse 90 says. "Three years let a damsel wait, though she he marriageable ; but after that term, let her choose for herself a bridegroom of equal rank".

In verse 93 I find the following sentence. "He who takes to wife a damsel of full age &ca.” The words in the original text for a “damsel of full age' mean a girl who has begun to menstruate. Here it appears that a girl may be married after she menstruates.

KUMAR PRAMOTHA BHUSHANA DEVA, RAJA OF NALDANGA.–Of all the female characters delineated in the great Epics, none appears to have entered into matrimonial bonds, before she had attained the age of discretion. The first symptom of deviation from this most healthy social practice is observed in the............... Manava Dharma Shastra. This Sanhita does not countenance early marriage of males, but girls, according to this Shastra, should be married before puberty............ The father being considered as only blameable in the event of his failing to marry his daughter before puberty, it is evident that the Hindu population at that time had be come sparse, owing to pestilence, civil war, or foreign invagion, and that the Hindus had been obliged to have recourse to early marriage for the speedy multiplication of species....... No Shastra attaches religious blame to the party marrying after puberty.




(DECCAN.) &c.

20. LUXMON G. RISHI, DEPUTY EDUCATIONAL INSPECTOR, BASIN DISTRICT.—Infant marriage, especially of the girl-for a man can marry at any age—is not enjoined by Hindu religion; and the Hindu girls of Northern India, nay even the hhig caste Brahmin girls on that side, grow to the age of 20 or 30 before they are married, or lead a life of celibacy till they are fit for the grave; and no priestly class puts them or their parents under the ban of excommunication. If the Shastras enforce marriage proper on a girl when she is 12 years of age, or at least before she sees her menses, why, as stated above, are the Hindu girls of Northern India and their parents not excommnnicated ?



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21. M. RAMPRASAD TIVARI, MUNICIPAL COMMISSIONER (MYSORE).-The propositions by the Madras Association headed by the talented Diwan Bahadur Raghunath Row, are quite reasonable and allowed by early authorities viz, that we should not marry a girl under 10 years and a buy under 15 years, and that a girl can be remarried if she unfortunately loses the betrothed before consummation.

22. PROFESSOR Max MÜLLER.—That infant marriage has no sanction whatever from either Sruti or Smriti I told you from the very first, and I see that no pandit now ventures to gainsay that. Manu wishes a young man to marry when he may become a Grihastha i. e. when he is about 24 years of age. As to the girl, she is to marry when she is fit for it, and that

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may vary in different climates. But an engagement between infants is never contemplated by any legal authority, much less are the sufferings of widowhood contemplated by Sruti or Smriti, on a girl whose polygamous husband dies before she has even seen him. That argument has been treated with so much learning by your own scholars and lawyers that nothing more need be said on it. The study of Sanskrit, even by so called Mlekkhas like myself, begins to bear fruit. You remember how in the case of Suttee, the Shastris quoted passages from a lost Sánkhâ of the Veda, intended to show that widows should be burnt with their husbands. They actually tampered with a passage from their own sacred Veda, and not till I published the passage from the Asvalayana Grihya Sutras, forbidding widow burning, would they become silent. With regard to the proper age for marriage, I published the important passages in my Hibbert Lectures in 1878 p. 352-3, and as these lectures are being translated under your auspicies, I doubt whether any Shastri now will dare to invoke either Sruti or Smriti in support of infant marriage. But, of course, they will invoke the authority of Akara or Desadharma, unless they remember that custom and local law have no authority when. ever they conflict with Sruti or Smriti.




1. K. KRISHNASWAMI RAO, CHIEF JUSTICE, TRAVANCORE. I would prohibit the marriage of males after the

age of 50.

The legislation I propose has the support of the Shastras, for according to them none who is more than 50 years old

should marry.



2. C. RAMCHANDRA AIYAR, SUB-JUDGE, MADURA. I would respectfully suggest that a simple prospective legislation be passed, providing that a betrothed infant girl losing her husband before consummation of the marriage or nuptials, shall not be considered a widow, and shall not be entitled to claim the rights of a widow under the Hindu law, but shall be treated as a maiden of her parents having all the rights as such under the Hindu law....

I would further suggest the renewal of the old Hindu law now considered by the Hindus as obsolete, that a boy should marry after passing through the period of studentship.

3. S. SUBRAMANIA AIYAR. I do not think that Government will be well advised to interfere actively with such usages by legislation. At the same time I do not see any objection to indirect encouragement on the part of Government. I certainly think with Mr. Malabari, that the restriction to confer university honours to unmarried men will have a deterrent effect on early marriages. I would even go a little further, and recommend that no boy under 16 be allowed to appear for any university or public examination, if he is married.

4. R. RAGUNATH RAO.--I am sure the government would not sanction anything against Hindu law, if they prohibited marriages of girls of less than 10 years, and encouraged those of developed maidens.

The Sastras of the Hindus do not sanction marriages of elder women to younger men. Government may prohibit such marriages also.

5. T. PATTABHIKAM.-Until caste becomes a thing of the past, there is no hope of preventing the marriage of girls before years of discretion among Brahmans.....

An enactenent laying down a rule that money received from the (aged) bridegroom, save and except that which is paid for the marriage expenditure, should be safely deposited in the bride's name and exclusively for her use, will, I believe, not only be a great boon to the poor infant victim, but will also serve


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