Imatges de pÓgina

tion of at least 2000 Rs. worth of estate in favour of the bride, distinctly apart from any claims of her relations during her life-time.

65. VISHNU MORLESHWAR MAHAJANI M. A. HEAD MASTER AKOLA.-All that the Government should do is to indirectly help the movement forward, and provided the aid does not assume the form of any restriction, it will be welcomed by a large section of the community. In this direction, district and other high officers can do much if they gain the confidence of the leaders of the native society..... ... We must make efforts......... We must form associations, and if we get the sympathy of our English friends so much the better.

66. SHRIKRISHNA NARHAR, EXTRA ASSISTANT COMMISBIONOR ELLICHPUR.-If however Government is at all minded to take part in this matter, the proper course would be to convene together all the spiritual heads of the Hindus, and ask their consent to a few and fundamental reforms. Persons should not be denominated heads merly because they have wealth or temporal power, but should be carefully selected from among those who really possess great religious influence over the people at large. Such, for instance are the Shankar Achuria, the Madhavacharya, the Ramanuyacharya, the Pandits of Benares, Nassik, Nagpur, Pandharpur, Poona, Mathura, and other places which are great Brahminical centres. If such an important diet were called into existence and proposals submitted to them, the legislation will have a very great moral support, and the populace will very easily acquiesce......... I am what Mr. Malabari calls a let-alone-is out and out, and put forward the above proposal only on the supposition that the Government of India are anxious to move in the matter.

67. SHRIRAM BHIKAJI JATAR, B. A., DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, HYDRABAD Assigned DISTRICTS.-I entirely agree with Mr. Malabari in what he says regarding the beneficial effects of “friendly sympathy” and “personal interest” on the part of the executive officers of Government. Of course no definite rules can be laid down; but much good is

likely to be done to the cause of social reform if men who evince moral courage, and break through a pernicious but long standing custom are especially encouraged by Government. If the conduct of such men be considered equivalent to meritorious services to the State and rewarded accordingly, the appreciation on the part of Government will be a great recompense to them for the social persecutions which they have to undergo.....

The suggestion made in the last paragraph regarding a “National association” has my hearty approval; but in my opinion the most effectual means for carrying out social reforms is the spread of education.

68. HARI MORESHWAR SHEVADE HEAD MASTER A. V. SCHOOL MALKAPUR.-The educated should before all others proceed to establish a national reform association, and enlist sympathizers. The agitation of public opinion by newspaper and monthly magazine writers, impressive representations from the chair and the pulpit, and the departments of education inserting lessons on the subject throughout the serial Readers, should be among the preliminary stps............Our reformers must take the example of the Scottish Missionaries who are labouring so hard for the cause of Christianity all over this country.

69. WAMAN NARAYEN BAPAT TEHSILDAR, CHANDUB TALUK.-The most obnoxious of early marriages are marriages of girls of 12 with dotards of 50 and 60. These can never be too sufficiently condemmed. They are brought about by wretches of fathers and mothers of viction girls from mercenary motives. Here you may strike as hard and deep as you can... In all such marriages Government should rule that the girls must be at least 12. At this age a girl can choose and express her choice. Government should appoint a respectable punch in each caste to see that the girl consents of her own free will, and that such consent should be recorded.........Every caste is simply unanimous in its abhorence of these vile bargains and will go with Government, not against it.

€ 70. RAGĦUNATH B. TALVALKAR B. A. HEAD MASTER HIGH SCHOOL AMRAOTT.---Feinale enlightenment is an indispensable condition. The real obstacle to reforms of this kind is neither religion nor caste. Both have begun to loosen their hold upon us. It is in the family and among the relations.



71. The HON'BLE MR. J. GIBBS C.S.I. C.I.E.-Nothing but the constant hammering at all classes, but especially at the leaders of the different religious sects, can do good. The remedy in itself is easy. Let each leading man determine that he will not allow such marriages (child marriages) in his family, and in a few years the custom will die out... ... ... You most bring public opinion to bear through the Press, and you must if possible, get expressions of opinion from men in high official positions as a background to work on.

72. MAHADEO GOVIND RANADE M. A. L. L, B.-Our deliberate conviction, however, has grown upon us with every effort, that it is only a religious revival that can furnish sufficient moral strength to work out the complex social problemas which demand our attention. Mere considerations of expediency or economical calculations of gains or losses, can never nerve a community to undertake and carry through social reforms-especially a community like ours, so spell bound by custom and authority. Our people feel, and feel earnestly, that some of our social customs are fraught with evil, but as this evil is of a temporal character, they think that it does not justify a breach of commands divine, for such breach involves a higher "penalty............People find fault with us, even abuse us, for half-beartedness, for our apparent want of fire and enthusiasm. God only knows that in our household We are perpetually at war with our dearest and nearest, we struggle and strive to do our best, and have perforce to stop at


many points when we fear the strain will cause a rupture. This is our present situation. We do not think either Parsi of European philanthropists can make any impression upon our society. Empires come and go, dynasties change, but our society remains unconcerned. These are my views on the general question.*

As regards the two notes, I go in fully with you that time has now come for a determined effort to secure legislative and executive sanction to a moderate limit of minimum age being fixed, below which early marriages should be discouraged. Three years ago, we started a movement here (Poona) to fix the boys' age at 17 or 18 and the girls' at 10 or 11. These limits are not all that we should wish, but as a commencement we must carry the more cultivated sentiment of the people with

Once this is done, we might by gradual steps raise the limit in due time........ .I agree with you that in order to stimulate the discussion of the subject, a motion might be brought in the Senate of the University prescribing bachelorship as one of the requisite qualifications for the Matriculation Examination. The Educational Department might be also moved in the matter.

73. A. MACKENZIE Esq., SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT OF INDIA.—You cannot scold or legislate the people at large into setting aside caste prejudices, but I do think you can make it to some extent "fashionable" to despise them. Get then, all the leading native gentlemen, whose education has already taught them the folly and wickedness of infant marriage and enforced widowhood, to band themselves into a national association for the propagation of sound ideas on these subjects. Education is after all the true and common basis for Indian nationality. Make it the object of the association to encourage and support all who hold similar views. Get all the leading official and non-official Europeans to affiliate themselves as sympathisers and well-wishers-Raise funds for compiling vernacular tracts on the subject, letting it be known far and wide, how influential the movement really is. Hold meetings periodically at all large centres to induce young men especially to join and pledge themselves to advance its aims; and you will I feel sanguine give a great and lasting impulse to the reforms you so much desire to bring about.

* ( This was written on August 18, 1884. The opinion given to Government is dated 12th February 1885.) *: 4

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I have observed, with great interest and satisfaction, Mr. Justice Pinhey's Judgment refusing to import into Indian legal practice the English “order for restitution of conjugal rights" in cases of unconsummated infant marriages. When there has never been voluntary cession, no question of restitution can arise. If the decision is up-held in appeal (it was not) it will throw an effectual shield over many virgin-wives. There is however this practical difficulty—that few of them will be educated sufficiently to know their rights, and still fewer of them will care or venture to assert them.

74. HON'BLE SIR AUCKLAND COLVIN K.C.M.G.-The first thing to be done is to obtain from a large consensus of opinion amongst educated and influential natives a declaration hostile to these customs. If, as I understand from you, they rest on insecure legal bases, assistance should be given by natives interested in the matter, with the view of obtaining test decisions.......... You need not to be reminded that, in matters of this kind, the Government cannot help you unless and until you help yourselves...

Try and get up, in each province, societies having for their aim the object you are advocating, encourage discussion, however bitter in its tone against you personally; and be no respecter of persons. Plain misrepresentations are best met by plain truths.

I am one of those who think, and have no hesitation in saying--that societies which will not make any combined effort to reform their own short-comings are not to be much

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