Imatges de pÓgina

as a wholesome check against inhumane parents thus sacrificing and selling their female children for their own benefit. It is a fit subject for the interference of Government.

6. MAHIPATRAM RUPRAM.-I beg to suggest the enactenent of a Marriage Act, which shonld contain the following points.

1. Compulsory registration of all births in municipal offices in cities and towns, and in the Taluka Local Boards' offices in the villages.

2. The Municipal and Taluka Local Boards' offices to give certificates of birth to each party, containing the names of the child and parents.

3. No marriages to be allowed to take place without a license from Municipal authorities in towns and cities, and from Local Fund Boards in the villages. These boards to give marriage certificates.

4. Certificates of births to be shown along with an application for a License.

5. The Municipal and Local Fund Commissioners to be authorized to fix the minimum ages of brides and bridegrooms before which no license can be given, and to raise the same from time to time as they may think proper.

6. Nominal marriages such as take places among the Kadwa Kunbis in Gujarat at an interval of 12 years, in which a girl is married to a bunch of flowers &c., may be exempted from the age rule, but in such cases all second marriages must take place under the rule.......

The Hindu law forbids the taking of money or any other gratification or reward by parents or guardians, from bridegrooms or their relations, for marrying their daughters. In this respect some legislative action may be taken to protect the interests of infant girls.

7. JOTEERAO GOVINDRAO PHULAY.-Government should rule that, boys under 19 years of age and girls under 11, should not be allowed to marry. In case they do, some reasonable

tax may be levied on the parents of the parties married, and the money thus obtained should be used in the education of the middle and lower classes of Hindus.

8. NARAYEN BHIKAJI, DEPUTY COLLECTOR, NASIK.-I beg to state that the marriage system among the Hindus does require a little reform, and shall be glad to see an act passed by Government :

1stly. That no boy before the age of 16 and no girl before the age of 11 be betrothed, on pain of a fine not exceeding Rs. 1000, recoverable with distress and sale of the offenders property. This ruling is not opposed to the present custom followed by the educated men, and therefore will not be objected to.

2ndly. That no old man, that is a person about 40 years of age, should marry a girl below the age of 12, and then too (ie. at 12) without her written consent recorded before Punch to be appointed for the purpose. Girls of the age of 12 have sense enough to express their assent or dissent about the husbands selected for them by their parents. (This law to be made applicable to towns and villages on application of the inhabitants.)

9. K. C. BEDARKAR.-If India has to wait till public opinion is sufficiently educated to be able to effect radical changes, it may have to wait till Doomsday.

Under the peculiar circumstances of India, I think, that the interference of the State, where it advances general welfare, would not be out of place, and legislation tending to check infant marriages will undoubtedly advance general welfare.

As to whether State interference should be direct or indirect, I am decidedly of opinion that it should be direct......

The interference of the State, I think, may safely go to the extent of their enacting that no marriage of a girl under 13 or of a boy under 17, shall be legal in any part of British India in any caste or community. An interference to this extent will neither be violent, nor abrupt, nor open to serious

religious objection. I dare say a storm will be raised at first, but it will soon subside, leaving the social atmosphere clearer and healthier. In castes in which infant marriages are most frequent, and in which infants of the most tender age are married, instances can be found of girls remaining unmarried till 14, and sometimes 15, and I can think of no authenticated instances in which they have led to excommunication. And as to instances of boys remaining unmarried till 20, they can be found in the best and wealthiest families all over India.

10. TRIMALRAO VENKATESH.-Nothing short of stringent legislative enactments can stop infant marriages and all the attendant evils.

Enactment proposed by this gentleman.

I. No boy, until he is 20 and no girl until she is 12 years old, shall marry or be married.

II. No man shall during the life-time of his first wife marry another woman, unless the first wife has not borne any children up to 10, or has borne only girls up to 12, or all of her children have died up to 15, years from the time of her commencing to live with her husband, or it is proved that she has committed adultery. Even then, he is to make full provision for the maintenance of the first wife &c.

III. No man who may have one or more sons, and whose wife has just died, and who has passed the age of 45 years, shall marry a virgin girl, unless he leaves a written permission, permitting, in case of his death, his new wife to remarry some other person, if she is minded to do so, provided that he may remarry a widow of any age.

No amount of education, persuation, and lecturing will be able to improve matters. Uuless the legislature takes the matters into its own hands, and makes suitable provisions, matters will continue to remain as they are at present.

11. HURRICHUND SADASIVJI SATE.-Government might show its disapproval of the practice (Infant Marriage) in strong terms, and even go further, and legislate that no

marriage contracted can legally be binding, before the age of 12 in case of girls and 17 in that of boys. This measure will meet with general approval.

To check the inhuman practice of the marriage of an infant girl of 9 or 10 years with an old man of 50 and upwardsGovernment may well follow the excellent suggestion of, Mr. Malabari,

12. RANCHODLAL K. DESAI.-The government may without detriment to the efficiency of the Police or the Military service, be pleased to rule that candidates for employment in either of these Departments shall generally be selected from those who have remained unmarried until the completion of their 21st birth-day, and have preserved their good character till then......

In my humble opinion the best course for checking this obnoxious practice, is to lay down that the marriage of a minor girl with an old man of 40 and upwards, is an offence, and that the money paid by the bridegroom in consideration of such a marriage is recoverable back.

As the guardianship of all minors is by law vested in the principal Civil Court of the District in which the minor resides, the parent or brother of the minor girl may justly be restrained in their improper actions in giving away the minor in marriage, by the Government or by the principal Civil Court, and consequently the Government will, I humbly think, be justified in taking a direct step to check the evil.

13. KALIANRAI H. DESAI, OF BROACH.-The only thing that is, in my humble opinion, calculated to effectually check the evil, is the observance of the Brahmachari Ashram, by those on whom the Shastras strictly enjoin it after performance of the thread investiture ceremony. As regards those who are debarred from their very birth from undergoing this ceremony, it is only sufficient that the boys should remain unmarried till they complete their 17th year........

True to my Hindu instincts, I, for one am against keeping girls unmarried after they have reached their 12th year, and I think that boys would, without an adequately vigilant discipline, inevitably fall into dangerous and vicious habits, if kept single for a long time after the completion of their 16th or 17th year.

14. PREMCHUND ROYCHUND.-Let a law be made that no girl under 13 should be married, and that there should be a difference of at least three years between the ages of the bride and the bridegroom, the latter having the seniority of age.

15. NARAYEN GANESH CHANDRAVARKAR.-There is no fear now that action on the part of Government in any shape whatever may be misunderstood and may give rise to political dangers, for with the diffusion of knowledge, on one hand, and the gradual displacement of the older people by a new and more enlightened generation of natives, on the other, the Hindu community have come to perceive the evils of the custom of early marriage.....

What seems to me a better and more practicable modification of Mr. Malabari's proposal is that, Government might begin for the present, by declaring that all scholarships and prizes with which the universities, colleges, and schools are endowed should be held by and awarded to none but the unmarried. Such a declaration is not likely to offend any one. It will be a safe and good beginning to make.

16. DIWAN BAHADUR MANI BHAI JUSBHAI.-I recognize the general principle that in a social matter like marriage, legislative dictation is undesirable. I propose to obviate this difficulty, by providing that legislative action should come into play only on due application from the community concerned. There is ample warrant for this procedure; the Parsi Matrimonial Regulations and the Khoja Successation Bill were all conceived in this spirit, which might well be applied to the case of a Hindu Infant Marriage Law. There is however one particular in which a difference will have to be made in the

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