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marriages proper on a girl at 10 years of age, but extends the limit to 11 under a penance, if it be found inconvenient to solemnige it at the age of 10. The Dharma Sindhu, another modern work on Hindu law, says :-"For girls, nine and ten are middling good ages, eleven a bad age, and twelve is one requiring the observance of penance to wipe away the sin.” ( See chap. iii). Further on the author of the Dharma Sindhu says :-“If a girl resides under the roof of her father unmarried up to 12 years of age, her father commits the sin of killing an unborn child. The girl at that age should marry herself without the intervention of her father."
15. RAM SHASTRI.-A reference to the Shastras ( 1. Nirnaya
Sindhu 2 Sanskar Mayakh, 3 Sanskar Kaustubh, 4 Prayog Parijat, 5 Mitakshara, 6 Smrityarthsar, 7 Madan Pa-. rijat, 8 Parashar Madhao, 9 Sanskar Ratna Mala, 10 Kalanirnya,
11 Purushartha Chintamoni, 12 Asharadinkarodyot, 13 Piyashadhara, 14 Jyotirinband &c.) shows that a boy can be married after he is 11 years old and till youth lasts ; and that for the marriage of a girl, the 5th and 6th years of her age are not proper, that the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th years are proper, that the 11th and 12th years and the further period till the appearence of the menses are improper, and that they cannot be married after the menses have appeared. “The girl who sees the menses in her father's house (before marriage ) is impure ; her father is guilty of bhorunmahatya. that is killing of the embryo. She is considered to be a vrishali or Shudra female. The Brahman who marries her is weak in intellect; no trust should be placed in him, and nobody should dine with him, and he should be considered as the husband of a Shudra woman.”
The Shastros do not sanction the marriage of an old man with a girl. Youth and good health are the chief requisites of a bridegroom. It is stated in the Prayaschitta Hemodari that a man above 50 should not marry. The bride should always be younger than the bridegroom
16. PANDIT GUTTULAL.- Many wise persons believing that the real menstrual period commences from the 11th or the 12th, year consider the 10th as the latest marriagiable year. In support of this, there is the following in the Purans. “A girl is called a Gowri in the 8th year of her age, a Rohini in the 9 th year, a Kanya in the 10th year, and after that a Rajasvala, that is one having the menses.
The menses are found in women in their 11th or 12th year. If the flower does not disclose itself out, still it exists within. One goes to the Nak world by giving a Gowri in marriage, to the Vaikunth by giving a Rohini, to the Brahma world by giving a Kanya, and the Raurav hell by giving a rajasvala."
In the Brahma Puran, in the Gautami Mahatmya, it is stated : “a father should try his best to perform the marriage of his daughter from the 4th year of her age upwards, till before the completion of the 10th year”.........Still the marriage of a girl should not be performed before the completion of her 6th year, as there is a prohibition against it in the following and other verses.
“A girl should not be married before she is 6 years old, because in the first two years of her age she is enjoyed by the god Som, in the next two years by Gandharv, and then in the next 2 years by Nal.”
Manu says.--"A man aged 30 should marry a good looking girl aged 12 years, and a man aged 16 should marry a girl aged 8 years. By marrying a girl before this time, a man neglects his religion.'
The time for a man's marriage is not assigned with the same precision as that for a girl's marriage. The thirty years' age &ca., mentioned is not suited to be carried into practice in the present times. It is objectionable, if the present period of man's life be taken into consideration......
There is every possibility of there being occasions for a man's fall on account of the breaking of the abstinence vow,
by the time the age has approached. It seems reasonable therefore that a man should marry after he has commenced the 16
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.
SECTION III. BENGAL PRESIDENCY.
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. ii (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.
19. 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 invasion, 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.
SECTION IV. NOPTH-WEST PROVINCES AND OUDH, THE PUNJAB, CENTRAL PROVINCES, BURMA, ASSAM, COORG, HYDRABAD
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 ?
SECTION V. EXTRACTS FROM OPINIONS
GIVEN TO MR. MALABARI.
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 froid 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