Imatges de pÓgina

for marriage. The question is as much political as it is social. All civilised governments have so regarded it, and whoever knows anything of Hindu society may rest assured that it will not move in the matter, unless the lead is taken by the State. The nation, I believe, is degenerating in a palpable degree, and since it is not capable of helping itself, it is the duty of the State to send us help from without.

41. H. H. JASWANTSING, THAKORE SAHIB OF LIMBDI.-It '(Government) has a right to say that the public service shall not be open to people, who may have been married before a ·certain age. Such people may be excluded from higher University honours. Local Municipalities may be asked to lend their aid to the good cause, by introducing a system of registration, and the granting of licenses for marriage, under certain restrictions and so on... It is the female that, in India, directly or indirectly, offers the greatest resistance to the cause of social reform. To train her mind, to prepare it to receive enlightened notions, should be the first care, I think, of every reformer, and much of the difficulty he now feels in his laudable endeavours would be removed. If, therefore, Government, in its parental regard for the interests of its people, renders female education, in a manner, compulsory, as elementary education, I am told, is in Eng. land, it will confer a great boon on the people of India.


42. E. E. Lowis, OFFICIATING COMMISSIONER, DACCA DISTRICT.— The Secretary of the People's Association, Burrisaul, states that the Association approve of Mr. Malabari's suggestion that the Educational Department should give a few chapters in its school books, describing the evils of infant marriage in various forms.

43, J. F. K. HEWITT, COMMISSIONER, Chota NAGPUR DISTRICT.—What is really wanted is that the people should learn and know that the Shastras do not enjoin either custom, and that the priests and leaders of opinion, in the country, and the districts in which they live, are in favour of such customs being abolished. Let this be done by publishing a monthly paper in which these opinions are translated into the vernacular of the District to which the paper is to be sent, and let men of position be called on to declare “for” or “against," and let the names of the former he published. Branch associations should be formed to aid in this work, and every case of a widow marriage, or of first marriages when the ages of the parties were above the limit which the association might fix at which marriages are desirable, should be published under that head, for there is nothing after all like example in such matters. It is the bold ones who first lead the way, the timid ones will then soon follow. The association might include membership on the condition of each member pledging himself to carry on the objects of the association as far as lies in his power, by discouraging infant marriages and encouraging widow marriages. Government might aid the association with funds.

44. KAILASH CHANDRA BHATTACHARJI.—There ought to be, in all chief centres of population, associations of guardians pledging themselves to act in concert, for the purpose of raising the limit of marriageable age of girls. Correspondingly there should be associations of boys' guardians also, to promote and co-operate with the former.....

Among the priestly castes, there are to be found at present several Pandits of enlightened and liberal views, whose sympathies and co-opertion may be enlisted by a little management, and thus a good deal of orthodox opposition may be warded off, and the fear of social ostracism minimised.

45. MR. BEADON, COLLECTOR OF DINAGPORE.—Government might now help in the growing feeling against these practices. The seed has been sown, the soil was not prepared at the time, and the young plant has raised its head under all the disadvantages of having to contend with the deeply rooted weeds of prejudice, timidity, caste oppression, and phy.


sical desire. Left entirely to itself it may grow up strong and well, but it may also be of very slow growth, and result in only a sickly and dwarfed shrub. Assisted by Government on judicious lines, the result will undoubtedly be speedier, and the growth firmer.

46. BABU SYAMA MOHUN CHUCKERBUTTY.— Education will take centuries to make the people conscious of the injurious effects of infant marriage, and to finally put a stop to them. When the evils are so great and should be speedily removed, it is but just and proper that the legislature should interfere, and frame such a law as will meet the desired end.

47. BABU HORI MOHUN CHANDRA.-Some of my country men are of opinion that, direct legislative action should be taken in the matter, and it appears to me that such a would be quite consistent with the Institutes of Manu.....

The question is not whether it (Infant Marriage) is a religious ceremony or a social usage--though it is undoubtedly more of the latter than the former, but is the custom an outrage on humanity ? Is it productive of great evils in the community? Is it in short contrary to sound reason and morality ? If so the Government should be true to its pledge as parent, and protector of society, and fall back on the wise and statesmanlike minute of the Marquis of Wellesley "that it is one of the fundamental maxims of the British Government to consult the opinions, customs, and prejudices of the natives, but only when they are consistent with the principles of humanity, morality and reason."

The objection on the score of religion would probably never he heard of, if our Government were a Hindu Government.

An Act might be passed making education of males compulsory up to a certain age, varying according to the social grades of the pupils, and prohibiting marriage until their education is finished, exception being made in cases in which the Municipal, District, Local or Union Board certifies that to

fulfil the complete period of studentship would entail difficulties on the individuals or their families.

48. Indian AssociatION.—The Committee, after giving their best consideration, find that they can safely make one practical suggestion for discouraging infant marriages. The educational authorities can pass a rule declaring married students ineligible for senior and lower scholarships, a senior scholarship once obtained not being liable to forfeiture by subsequent marriage.

49. UTTERPAKAH PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION.-Approve three of Mr. Malabari's suggestions viz (1) the formation of voluntary associations of graduates &c., (2) the introduction of chapters describing the evils of early marriage in school text books, and (3) his scheme of a national association.

50. RAJ SHAHYE ASSOCIATION-It is desirable that the practice of selling girls under the name of marriage to the highest bidder, irrespective of all consideration of suitableness of the match, should be put a stop to by Government.

51. MYMENSING ASSOCIATION.--Approve of Mr. Malabari's suggestions regarding giving greater publicity to the Remarriage Act, and regarding the formation of a national association.

52. TIPPERAH PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION.--Recommend a rule to the effect that unmarried students only shall be eligible for Government scholarships.

53. BALASORE NATIOXAL SOCIETY.—The society approve of the recommendation that the money received from the bridegroom—the price of the girl disposed of—is not to belong to the seller, the parent or relation of the victim, but to be safely deposited in her name and for her exclusive use.

54. KUMAR PRAMATHA BHUSHANA DEVA, RAJA NALDANGA.—The practice of selling girls, regarded equally by the Shastras and the respectable Hindu Community as a despicable action, may very well be put a check to, by ruling .....


that the money received from the bridegroom is not to belong to the seller but to the girl.

55. BABU MENULAL CHATTERJEE.-Though Kulinism is on the decline, yet few marriages in Bengal take place, without imposing on the father of the bride a heavy fine for the sin of giving birth to daughters. Many a wealthy family in Bengal, which occupied once a conspicuous position in the front rank of society, and which was in fact the pride of the country, has by the mere accident of birth of daughters, been ruined and reduced to pauperism in consequence of their expensive marriages and the incidents which follow them The three superior forms of marriage contemplate a gift of the bride only, and nothing more than a declaration of the legislature that demands other than the gift of the bride will be illegal and treated as extortion and will not be countenanced by a Court of Justice, will materially help in checking the evil. There is room for legislation without offending the Shastras.

The demands of a father or other guardian of a bridegroom are very beavy, and comprise so many items that, on calculation, it is found to cover nearly all the costs incurred for the boy, commencing from the separation of the umbilical cord and ending with the last pice paid, up to the date of his marriage. These items or abwabs of the marriage are politely called respects for the family of the father of the bridegroom. This demand increases with the age of the bride. There are in which great difficulties are encountered in disposing of an aged daughter or sister.

Already cases are coming to courts for adjudication as to the legality of pon or price for the promised marriage, and such like matters. The highest court in the country is unable to put down attempts to make advantage of these contracts. It entertained doubts in decreeing a restoration of the pon even where the marriage broke off (I. L. R. 10 Cal. 1054.) In the absence of a prohibitory law, the Judges summarily regarded the custom of the country, and enforced a contract in every


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