Devapriyaji - True History Analaysed

Members Login
    Remember Me  


Status: Offline
Posts: 7329



TT took a year almost for me to obtain ^ sanction to introduce this bill into the local Council. Then it was referred to the select committee and it finally emerged in a satisfactory form with many workable provisions. Even though 1 longed to see the evil uprooted, still I was not in com- plete possession of all the details which I elicited only during its discussion in the select committee. In this connection I desire to express my deep debt of gratitude to the then president C. V. S. Narasimha Raju Garu, for his invaluable help to me to draft a workable act. Even though he belongs to the conservative school, he not only sympathised but also fully co-operated with me in all my efforts for the promotion of moral and social reform. After all I was 

only a babe legislator and even though I had the facts and the ideas, still I had to learn many of the techniques of legislation from my elders in which they ungrudgingly instructed me.


The devadasis from time immemorial had been enjoying Inam-lands for their service in the temples. Some of those lands were in their own names and in their enjoyment while, some being endowments to the temples the Devadasis were only given a portion of the produce in lieu of their service, and a few temples gave them monthly cash payment. 

Even though there have been provisions in the Indian Penal Code sections 372 and 373 to punish dedication of minor girls to the temple it was made inoperable in most cases because of the temples continuing their service. 

Therefore the object of my bill was to totally abolish the system. It must be gratifying to the Indian public to learn that the native state of Mysore having realised the enormity of the evil, has done away with the system even as early as 1909 which was not possible in British India, inspite of the agitation and the demand for legislation from the enlightened section of the Hindu public for the last 60 years and more (a detailed histoiy of the agitation has been published by me in pamphlet form and is freely available at No. 6 Rundall’s Road, Vepery, Madras.) 

The bill was passed into law* February 1929 and the Government has since issued orders to the various collectors in the districts to enfranchise the various devadasi inams and thus free the devadasis from the obligation of service. 

While legislation for the prevention of child marriage met with much opposition throughout the country, my attempt to abolish the devadasi service in the temples had the cordial support of all sections of the people. I take this opportunity to record with a feeling of joy and satisfaction that I had all sympathy and support from the press, the platform and the public, more than hundred men and women associations have met and supported my bill and many memorialsand petitions from the enlightened and reformed section of the aggrieved communities themselves asking me to proceed with my legislation have been sent to me, many public bodies such as the district municipalities and local boards, mass gatherings of men and women have sent me their approval. Even though the recognised leaders of the Hindu community had been condemning the system both through their writings and on the public platforms, yet the evil practice continued because of its associations with the temples. The vested interests had been jealously guarding the so-called rights of the temples in the name of sanctity while they were profaning the sacredness of the temple itself by their unholy practices and by their selfish appropriation of the temple income to unworthy objects. 

The late leader of the non-brahmin party, the Raja of Panagal had the courage to challenge the so-called rights and enacted a measure called the “ Hindu religious endowment act ” to control and direct the management of the temples for the good of the public. As the above act has been put into practice and as the Government could therefore not take shelter under the plea of religious neutrality, I was able to introduce my bill as an amendment to that act. The appreciation of that measure by those depressed communities who have been clamouring for this reform could be seen from the text of the address of welcome given to me on 3rd November 1929 during my visit to Bczwada. 

We the members of the Andhra Desa Kalavantalu community, beg your permission to av^ail ourselves of the opportunity granted to us by divine dispensation, to express our spontaneous and effervescing feeling of deepseated gratitude and unfailing love and ceaseless and worthy sense ol pride for the almost superhuman efforts backed by indefatigable energy you have been bestowing on a cause, well worth the effort of any noble hero. This community, long enchained in the thralls of a narrow superstition and shut off from the inadiating influence of the pure flame of social freedom has long been weltering in the mire of ignorance and treading in the path of social degeneration. In the dark and impenetrable gloom in which the whole community was enmossed, you have ■brought the lamp of freedom, by setting your heart to the sole purpose of social liberation and by your unceasing and laborious efforts, the meshes which for long held the community in social oblivion have been rent asunder and the community has been^awakened from the sleep of ages/' 

I am quoting below a sample of the many letters which I have been receiving from reform associations of the Devadasi community throughout the presidency. 

Dear Madam, 

The news that your resolution regarding “ Cochin Devadasis has met with warm and kind reception in the Madras Council, in as much as it has been carried witliout a division, has given us unbounded pleasure. We have publicly demonstrated our jubilations by conducting a procession to the Local Tirumala Devaswami where a vow was also paid in honour of your success. ’ 

The general public never failed to show their appreciation of my reform work whenever occassions arose. I quote l)elow one of the many such innumerable addresses presented to me. 

Erode Municipality 


We the Chairman and the Municipal Council of Erode offer you a most hearty welcome to this town. We are glad to have you in our midst on this occasion of our visit to this town to preside over the ladies conference. It is a matter of pride for all of us that you are the first elected Deputy President of a legislature in the whole world. You have not only discharged your duty ably but you have proved how women can compete on terms of absolute equality with men in every walk of life when opportunities are giv^m to them. The work that you have (lone in the Legislative Council in the cause of the 

emancipation of women is one of which we can be justly proud. As an . ilJiistiation of tlje great work that you hnv^e done as a h we shall only mention the war that you waged against tlie dedication of girls to temples, a system which has been, and still is, a standing disgrace to India in general^ and to the Hindu womanhood in particular, 

\\)ur feailcss fight against the superstitions and Of sciirandsm cd orlliodoxy h:is filled us with great adminlion. Vour tircdcss ( tfoi ts in the Legislature in destroying the Devadasi system and in [mtting down the system ot ]irf>stitution will alw^tys be gratefully remembered by your h llow cill/ens. 

W(' take thi< oj»poitunily oi tendering you our most rcspe'ctful cnngr<ilulaitnn and wi h you longlife, health and hap['Iai:ss.” 

Ganclhiji wrote in 'Young India’ as follows : 

“ 1 heal tily endt;rse the \vi iter’s proposal. Indeed I do not think that the propi>sfd J( gislation will be in advance ol public opinion. The whole of the enlightened public p pin Pen that is vocal is against the retention of tlie-system in any shape 01 form. The o[anion of the parties roncv rnt'd in tlic immoral ti alfic cannot count, just as the opinion of keepers ol c^pium dens will not count in favour of (heir retention, if public opinion is otherwise against them. The Devadasi system is a blot upon those who couutenanci^ it. It would have died long ago but for the sur-inetiess of the public. Public conscience in this country somdiow or other lies dormant. It oft«i feels the awfulness of many a wrong, but is too often indifferent or too lazy to move. But if some active spirit like Dr. Reddi moves, that conscience is prepared to lend such support as indifferences can summon up. I am therefore of opinion that Dr Reddi’s proposal is in no way premature. Such legislation might well have been brought earlier. In any case I hope that she will receive the hearty support of all lovers of purity in religious and general social life.” Has he not rightly diagnosed the disease ? 

Since I came to know of him intimately on the occasion of his visit to South India in tlic year 1928, 1 have been attracted to him and I am convinced to-day that he alone can cure the Hindu Society of all its ills.. 

When 1 introdu'ced my amendment to the Hindu Religious Endowment Act to enfranchise the Inam holding Devadasis and thus to remove the root cause of Dedication, 1 did not know that the above Act docs not include certain temples within its operation, e.g., the Madras Temples and also the temples getting a very small income of Rs. 300 or so. 

I was also not aware that there is a class of Devadasis outside the temples who dedicate their girls not for service in the temples but with the sole object of making them trade on vice. 

Therefore to complete my legislation for the eradication of the evil I introduced a supplementary bill (see appendix C) which legislation owing to the dilatory motion of the Government has been indefinitely postponed. No doubt, I strongly opposed the 

motion for circulation for the following reasons : — 



Status: Offline
Posts: 7329

Sir, I oppo5?e this dilatory motion because the principle of this Bill has already been accepted by this Council. A resolution was passed by this Council in 1Q27. * This Council recommends to the Government to undertake legislation or if, for any reason it is not possible to recommend to the Central Government to undertake legislation at a very early date,! emphasize the words ‘ at a very early date ’ to put a stop to the practice of dedicating young giils or women to Hindu temples which has resulted in exposing them to immoral life.’ 

This Council unanimously passed that resolution. If hon. Members here who represent all parties and classes ol people, do not voice the opinion of the public in this presidency, I do not really know who else would voice the feelings of the public better. Having accepted that resolution I do not know why the Government should, at this stage, when 1 want legislation to be enacted to put a stop to the prav’lice of dedicating young girls to Hindu Temples, come foiward with this dilatory motion. This Council will be dissolved in a few months and the effect will be that rny Bill will not be passed during the lifetime of this Council. This is not the first time that a motion of this nature is moved in the legislature. 


We find that there has been insistent agitation in this country for a legislation of this kind. 

I have evidence to show that the Government of India have been actively interesting themselves in this (luesUon since the year 1906, when they had to sign the International Convention. Again in the year 1912 this question was discussed in the Imperial Legislative Council, At that time they called for a report from the various Local Govenimei\ls on the matter. If history is gone through and if only the hon. the Law Member will go through the opinions expressed by the Local Governments on this question, most of the Local Govenunents will be found to have been unanimously in favour of legislation to put down dedication. Then again. Sir, in the year 1912, three members of the old Imperial Legislative Council, Messrs. Maneckji Dadahoy, Mudliolkar and Madge, brought three different Bills with more or less the same object as my bill, that is, to abolish this evil system. The Government of India then referred tlie whole question to I.ocal Governments, and on receii^ of those opinions, brought forward a Governrncrit Bill in September 1913 which was referred to a select committee for repoit. The select cx.mmillee repented in March 1914, but owing to the iiiU rvention of the War, this Bill was not proceeded with. Then again, Sir, in the yt'ar 1922, Sir Hari Singh Gour br(»ughtia a re.eolulion in the Legislative Assembly. It was unanimously sup[)orted. 

At the time when that rcsolulion was dLscu .sod,'"! do not want to read that reso]uti<ni, because it was praclb cally the same as mine which was passed by this Council — there w^ere people there like Mr. Siva Rao and Sir A. P. Patro who defended the institution of Devadasi'f.’* 

But then the whole Assembly ridiculed them and passed the resolution unanimously. That resolution of Dr. Gour to have sections 372 and 373 of the Indian Penal Code amended, Nvas adopted by the Assembly.” 

The hon, the President'. 

“ I am not able to follow the jeJvivancy of the question of raising the age of consent, to this motion.” 

Dr S, MutJinhksJuri Rcdd'i : 

“Nf), Sir, sections 372 and 373 of the Indian Penal Code relate to the dedication of minor girls. 

Those sections were aTiervled after the resolution of Dr. Gout* was adopted. I atu only n^entioning that to show that the public opinion of the country was quite in favour of such a measure. Then, the hon. 

Mr. Ratndas Partulu moved a resolution in the Council ofStatiinthe ye^r 1927 whidi was also unanimously accepted. At ihal time the hon. the Law MernSer who was in sympalliy wiih this object, ask -d Mr. Ramdas Pantulu to bring in a Bill. N )w, Sir, even in the Bombay Council, there is a m^Asri'.c for the provtniion of de<lication which is going to become lav. Mr. M. R. Jayakar also has now given xmtlce of a similar bill like mine in tlie Assembly 1 he Madras Cuum'i! having accepted the principL* and h passed h'gislation to dispense with tie' SOT vicof? oi the in rn h )ldi:jg (Lvada'^is in temples, should accept tlii-5 Ihd A i‘hoat any furtli }r delay. This dilatory molio.x wll! uidy -1 lay the p is-lnc ul this bill, and lliere is no likfl.ho.>d oi its law dur’ug the lilt, time of this Cv iincii 

Sir, My bill is a \e}y hnn\b!e one, so far as its provisions gt>. It only maD's the dedication of girls illegal. 

This ha'* already been done l>y lire Penal Code, hut the Penal Cede hts i).en evad -d. Then the orthodv)x opinion was that minor girls on]}* vh raid be dedicated to the temjdes ; i c., gbls below the ago ot 12. But the people who ha'-e been addicted to ihe cusPun and who take their stand htliind religion do not obey the provisions of the Penal Code. So, they aie now taking the major girls and aie evading the Penal (' ^le by dedicating girls above IS for which Act the; temple aullioriiies also are responsible, 

not alone the guardians of the girls. ?vly Bill aims at making that kind of dedication also illegal. There is also another 

provision as regards their marriages to the effect that marriage which takes place after dedication should be validated. Sir, the Government need not be under any fear of opposition frorrx the public. In Mysore this has been done long ago. In 1909, that Government prohibited the Gajje Pnja or dedication ceremony in the Mysore State, and thus have given us the lead. This Council has also accepted the conclusion that dedication invariably makes the girl lead a life of immorality. Having accepted that princi[)le, is llieie any argument or reason in the proposal that this bill should be delayed any further? My Devadasis Act will only deal with the inam-holding devadasis. But, a large number of women adopt girls, take them to temides and make them undergo the ceremony of dedication, even after the age of 18. 

There is no religion. These women do it purposely, with a view to malse those girls lead an immoral life. So there should not he any more delay. Therefore I request the hon, the Law Member to willulraw his opposition and allow my hi] to be referred l('« a select ('ommillee.’* 

It was a very significant fact that Sir M. Krishnan Nair who as Deputy Leader of the Justice Party, has heartily supported my resolution of November 5th of 1927 which recommended immediate legislation to Government to put down the evil custom, now moved the dilatory motion to my bill from the Government bench. Whether the change in his attitude is due to the office he is holding or to the absence of his good leader, the late Raja of Panagal, it i? for the public to judge. 

I must confess that I missed very much on this occasion the late good Raja of Panagal and the members of the Congress especially the Andhra group who had kept out of the Council owing to the Congress mandate of<boycott of the Council. Messrs-S. Venkiah, A. B. Shetty, R. Nagan Gowda, Rao Bahadur Dr. C. Natesa Mudaliar, Chavadi Subramania Pillai, J. A. Saldhana, A. Ranganatha Mudaliar and K. Uppi Sahib, voted against the Government dilatory motion so as to be consistent in their attitude towards this reform. 

By this time, I have found out that the Congress members excepting one or two individuals among them have uniformly supported my work in the Council. Therefore my love and respect for that party have grown since. 

Now, 1 rejoice to state that the Bill which has been sent out for circulation for eliciting public opinion has returned with a full measure of public support, thereby demonsstrating to the world that Government has unnecessarily delayed a very urgent and important measure of reform. 

The most remarkable event that has happened since, is the courageous act of Her Highness the Maharani of Travancore in abolishing the Devadasi system in her state temples with o,ne stroke of her pen. 

We are delighted to read in the Indian Social Reformer, October 25tli 1930 that the Devadasi system has been recently abolished in Cochin in all the state temples. 

What was possible for the native state of Mysore as early as 1909 and what the Indian States of Travancore and Cochin have so readily and promptly done to-day, has been found impossible of achievement in British India. It is a most painful fact that we possess yet no laws for the protection of minor girls in this 20th century against the danger of immorality when the whole civilized world is so much advanced in child refoim and child legislation. Have we not realised then that only a fully responsible and national Government can solve many of these social problems which still await solution at onr hands ? 

Research into Maternal Diseases 

When the Minister for Public Health moved for a sum of Rs. booo towards the cost of investigation into maternal diseases, there was a certain amount of opposition to this grant in the Counci i ; therefore, I spoke supporting the motion. 

“ Mr. President, Sir, I have frroat pleasure in supporting the motion of the bon. the Minis*' r for Public Health. I feel there is great ne».d for tli's kind of investigation; especially wIkmi India recoids a high maternal and infantile morlality. I am glad, and I am really thankful to Lady Irwin for having taken the initiative in this matter because Dr. Balfour, an experienced raedkal lady, when she was here last time, took the trouble of addressing a ladie-i* meeting about the necessity for rcsear.-h work in India. She told us she had been to London to attend the International Gonfereiice <^f Modi'' \1 Women,- when the mcdi(‘id women from other countries gave a very full account of llie causation of maternal diseases while she, as a representative from India, could not givv, and she also alluded to the fact that llicre was no woman Tn«Mlical officer in the Public Health Department in any of the provinri^s in India. She said she felt vciy s<^riy about it and as soon as she returned from the Conference, undertoe.k this work as a laI)oiir of hn^e, anti as the result of her investigation she has given us very useful information as to the causation of maternal diseases. If the hon. Members had gone throu^d^ publications on these sid jeets, surely they would not have made these le-uaiks. She hds furnished us with Very useful infonr.alion (>ri this subj .cl. Slu" has been visiting evtry province an<l she also issued a questionnaire to all Indian and Britlsli Hospltah in India. 

vShe has found tlial certain dis(‘ascs are pecuher to India, that c:ertaiii otlu^rs are common to all counlri('S and tliat in India there are diseases peculiar to tro;)icd climates, such as malaria, anaemia anil ho(»k vorm. Again she has found thit certain communili^^s like tlie Ihahmin community recorvled very high maternity nratality, as high as d2 out of every lOOO mothers The educationally advanced Chiistlan and Varsi cvunmunitles rccoid a very low deaih-rale. This is certa’uily a very us'. lul i»\(oi mation. 

Now, diseases like hookworm aiul malaria assume very virulent forms in pregnant women and children. We have also foetal diseases like the Iropdcal cinhosis of the liver. In this connection I will take the oppottuniiy of thanking all the Viceroines, who have helped the cause of women’s medical relief. First the Lady Dufferin Fund was started and now we have got a large number of medical women trained through the help of that fund. 

Then was stalled the Lady Hardinge Hospital Even though it is located at Delhi, students are flv)cking to that place from all parts of India. I had the pleasure of visiting that college and I found that even though there was accommodation only for 90, they had to admit 120. 

I also visited Lady Reading’s Health School. We badly need a health school at Madras. Every province has got one, Btmgal, Central Provinces, and Bombay. 

But still the Dtlhi school is doing very good woik and attracting students from South India. There is also the Lady Chelmsford Maternity League which I visited. So 1 hope this woik begun by Lady Irwin will bear much fruit and benefit all India. A sura of Rs. 6,000 is after all small and it is the duty of every community to take care of the mothers who are the oiiginators of the race, and such an expenditure must be the first charge on the finance of every province. 




Status: Offline
Posts: 7329

Women’s Education 
Again my speech on the development of women’s education during the budget discussion of 1929 may interest the public. 
Mr. Piesidenl, Sir, I rise to speak on this motion in order to know from the Government whether they have adopted any policy or programme for the extension and development of women’s education or what steps they are going to take in that direction, seeing that . women’s education is very backward. The latest figure for the girls’ education in 1928 is 2 8. Of course, boys’ education is backward also as compared with other civilized countries and as compared with the neighbouring Native States where also girls’ education is very much advanced. Again, as we rise iu the educational ladder, the disparity between hoys and girls increases, e.g,, when we come to the secondary education, for 
every nine boys only one girl receives the benefit of higlu r education, and in the case of University education one girl for every 2\ boys is reading in the college. I am not so much concerned with university education for 
our girls, hut I feel that primary and higher education roust be within the reach of every boy and giil. The report of the Director of Public Instruction says that there is no hostility either from the parents or from the public to girls receiving higher education as when schools are opened for girls, they get filled to overflowing which shows that there is a keen demand for girls’ schools. From the various interpellations put in this Council and from the reports of women conferences, it is patent that there is a g'jnuine (Dsire on the part of the parents as well as the public to educate their girls. When we come to the expenditure on women’s education, it is only 17.2 per cent of total expenditure on education. 
Another interesting feature is that compared with the Anglo-Indian and Christian girls, the education of the Hindu and Muhammadan girls is very backward. That is because of the Mission aided agencies who are actively engaged in promoting the education of our girls, by which the Christian girls are henefitted wtiile the Muhammedan and Hindu girls are not attracted to these Christian institutions. Most of the Christian imtitutions are boarding. Hindu and Muhammadan girls will not like to be boarders. Besides, these institutions are situated at a distance away from the heart of the city. Of toui'se we know it is not possible for Muhammadan girls who observe purdah to go to such institution?. The parents of Ilintlu girls also do not like that their j^iils should walk long disUncesto attend a school. E'.pecially iu the last quinqiienniu n the progress of girls' education has not been satisfactory as compared with the previous quinquennium. In the previous quinquenniutn, i e., 1917- 1922 tlie institution for girls rose by 5<S per cent, whereas in this quinquennium, 1922 27, by 26 per cent. 
This was due to the fact that no provincial subsidy was given towards the development of girls' education daring the last (|ainquenniiim and tlie priinaiy education was tranfenvd to the chirge of local b(>(li(*s, vvhicli have not ’been very enthusieslic to open girls’ schools in their areas, and the result was that the girls lagged very much behind the boys Agiin, whvui cornjmlsion was introduced by 27 munieij^ahties only three of them introduced compulsion for both hoys and giils. That is also another reason why gills laggts] behind h^ys. As fi)r wom*'‘n leach M'S tutv are leliudoct t«' teke service under local bodies because they liave to appear before a tribunal of inrn an 1 also iheir appoinlnients under local bodies are not ensured. .So, I wouUl suggest that theue should be IjxmI comniliees of wo'-n^n t'> look after the gills' education ill the districts, Tiie lo- al committees may consist of the Inspectresses of sei'ond.iry schools anfl the wives of olli d.ds with the h :admistrosse.5 of secondary stdiools whi(di commiUee may be entiusted 
with the task of develop] ig girls’ edno ition. Thry would be a sort of advisory body to the local bodies; they would submit suggesli ms to the local bodies so tlial they may act upon those suggestions ; they would be responsible for the opening of schools, for the appointment and transfer of women teachers and drawing up syllabuses and curricula. Also the provincial subsidy must be earmarked, that certain amount should be spent on the development of gills’ education and compUilsion for gals should be insisted on whenev^er a scheme is submitted, because when comf^ul-sion is applied only to boys, the girls are at a disadvantage as parents in the villages make the girls do the wea k ol boys and it is not in the interests of either our individual progress or national progress that this dualism should be allo wed to continue — the dualism of educated manhood and ignorant womanhood. 
As regards secondary education of girls, in the last qiiin(|aennium, only one girls’ sidiool was opened, in spite of the fact that there are in the whole pixsidciu y only a few secondary .schools which are chiLlly local*^d in the municipalities. I'liere is only one ?\luhama‘af)an secondary girls’ school for the wiiole presidency, whkh is in the city of Madras, So it is no wonder if there is a gap between the secoa.lary education of l)oys and that o( girls. It is therefore necessary that Government should lake up the responsibility of opening up a largo number of secondary schools in the districts within a fovv yeais. Of the 41 aided agencies, only ona is seiving the needs of Muhammadan and Hindu girls. I will sliungly urge upon the attention of the Government ti)at the secondary education of girls be pi ovincial'/ed. 
Now corning to co-educatiem, it will not be possible without a sulficient number ofwomen Uacliers on the staff. In the mixed schools where theio are men teachers, they do not pay sulUcient attention to the guls. The girls are generally made to sit in the back benches, away from the board and liglit. Not only that, the men teachers turn their back towards the giils and they never ask them questions. Unless there are sulliciciit number of women teachers who wall covibine tact, patience and love towards the girls, girls* education will not make any rapid advance ; and they won’t attain any permanent literacy if they read only up to the third class. Therefore, the Government should have a definite programme for opening up a large number of training schools in the districts to train the village women for working in the village schools. 
1 have said, Sir, that secondary education has been dominated by the Univeisity standard. As we know, the present type of secondary education for boys, has produced a large number of literary men who are going about the country without any employment. Now I do not want that the same fate should befall our giils. The number of girls who take to professions such as leaching, medicine etc., is very small and the majority of girls are meant for home life and our social system is such that our girls marry very early at the age of 13 or 14 and the education that has to i)e imparted to them should be such as to enable them to look after their homes in a most efficient manner. 
Sir, we need an Indian University on the lines of the Women’s University at Poona. Further I do not want any commercial value be put on girls* education as is no w done with the boys’ We have learnt to our cost that a pure literary type of education is of no practical use to our boys and vocational training is in demand. So technical institutions should be opened for girls also. I have noticed hon. Members of this house asking for alternative courses of study for girls. Various women’s conferences have suggested that they should have a parallel course, as the majority of our girls do not enter professions. Iheiefore, they must be taught hygiene, physiology and a bit of anatomy as they will be of much value to them in their daily life. 
Then I would urge that these subjects should be taught through the vernaculars and English may be a 
secondary subject. Unfortunately English is given prominence in our schools, but as our girls have to leave their schools when they are 13 or 14 it is better that they learn the vernacular so that they may acquire the required knowledge earlier. It would also be easier for them to learn if they were taught through the medium of the vernaculars. I think it is high time for us to provide a University for girls, both to satisfy the demands of the {)ul)lic and the parents and also to make w^omen really practical and cfricient. I find, in the Queen Mary's College that the course of study for girls is the same as that of the boys, whereas girls should get a diploma in Domestic Science. I find, Sir, that in Madras theie is an European school wherein this diploma is granted. Our Indian girls need this diploma much more than the Anglo Indian girls who study for the sake of getting an employment. Similar diploma courses should be instituted in the Queen Mary’s College where they are going to have a Geography course and a history course. 
No doubt the students gain knowledge, but what they need is a knowledge of hygiene, physiology and domestic science. Under our present conditions of life there is so much of illness in our country due to ignorance. To minimi/.o and to prevent diseases, our girls should be trained in the above subjects which will be of immense value to them in their daily life. 
Regarding the training of women teachers, there should be a better type of training. As it is, we have not got a sufficient number of women teachers to teach kindergarten. In other countries, women teachers with kindergarten training have proved to be very good teachers. Arid we also should have such women teachers. 
Regarding the S('holar>hips ami stipends, only 27 scholarships have been given fur all the girls. There are the girls from the backward cornm unities, there are the girls from the Adi Dravidas and there are the non- Brahmin girls for undergoing secondary tiaining in the Lady WiHingdon School The scholarships are Vvjry inadequate. We want a laige number of women who have passed the sehool final course to be trained in nursing and iriid wifery vve^rk. Tiieroh're Government should'inslitute a larger nninher of scholarships. Some schelarshi[)S are given by the Labour DepiitnKMit for AdiDiavida girls which I find, liave not been apj lied for. Why not be change J into residential 
1 hen as re gards the play gfoumls lor gii'l^. the leas said th(i When comi»ared willi the | rovisions made for the boys lliey aie vciy unsatisfat‘t')iy. Now in our own city if anyone would visit the school for girls in Tlnilasingaperumal Koil Strict, he will find a scliool which has to accommodate 300 girls. Tiie building in wliiidi this sclio'jl is siiiKitod is utterly uusirted for school [)Urpos(s. There is not sujfK'ient light or air. The girls sit in llic darkness ami read their books with the result lliey will very soon become short sighted. There is not sulficiont Tc;om for these children to move about freely, children who are going to he future mothers of the nation 1 Are tliey to be kept and taught in such insanitary and unsuitable houses ? Jt is an old house, cenlurits old, and it is now used for a school. Surely if ' the bon. the Chief Minhler were to inspect the building to-morrow, he wull n(>t allow the school to be held there even fc»r a day. 
Then there \s the demand fo: the construction of a 
hostd for g’uls. This vs a question which is coming before the House for the last four or five years and yet nothing has been done. We are told that there is the Ice House. But, Sir, the Ice House is for widows. The lot of our widows is a very sorry tale known to all and we should not disturb the widows at any cost. Most of them come from orthodox families and their life is already miserable and we should think many a time before we disturb these poor widows from this place. 
By allowing others to share the hostel with them, we may be inflicting on them a punishment. They will be withdrawn from the hostel by their parents. They come from mofussil parts and their parents are very conservative. We want these widows to get educated to serve the country as they have not the choice of marriage. 
They will be very useful to the country either as teachers or mid wives or nurses. Now we have nurses coming from wes < .n ( ^untries. We have no women of our own who could do surli a kind of work. The Poona Seva Sadan has opened a branch in Madras where they train the widows and send them to villages as teachers, midwives and nurses. Oar Presidency should encourage them by providing proper facilities for such work. 
As regards Muhammadan girls, higher education among them is very backvvaid. ^ They do not attend any of the missionary schools because of the Purdah. It is impossible to abolish purdah in one day. We know what has happened in Afghanistan where King Amanullah has been forced to abdicate because be tried to break this purdah in one day. Now there is a demand from the Muslims themselves for compulsory education. The AlUndia Muslim Conference have passed a resolution in favour of compulsory education for their women. 1 know large numbers ot musliras are not for giving up purdah. 
What can a handful of women do ? So I would ask the Government to {provide conveyances. The question of finance may be raised. But 1 would humbly ask the hon. the Chief Minister how much the Government spends on the education of girls. It is not even one sixth of what they spend on the education of boys. Therefore I would tell the Government that considering the many disabilities from which both Muslims and Hindu women suffer it is their duty to give them education at any cost which w’ould give them enough enlightenment to enable them to dispel ignorance and fight the time-honoured customs and habits wdiich hamper their physical and mental growth.” 

Here is an extract from the hon. Minister’s reply ; 
I know^ that several of the members of the Legis- lative Council have urged that compulsory primary education should be introduced immediately. I am sorry that the Government are not in a position to introduce compulsory education immediately because it would cost 6l{) crores. 

With regard to girls schools, it has been the policy of the Government to start girls schools in all villages wdth a population of 2,000 and more, as will be seen from the budget, provision is made now for the opening of new girls schools this year. At the same lime, Government has had under consideration the question of co-education in priraaiy schools, I think the best policy will be to staff all primary schools with women teachers. 

My bon. friend the Deputy President, I am sure/ w^ill approve of this because I feel that women teachers in primary schools will be better able^o look after the wants of the young children. 
I think 1 must also deal with the question of the 
Ice House Hostel to which my hon. friend the Deputy IVesident referred in her own eloquent vvay, that is, the Widows’ Home. She was mistaken in her idea that 1 proposed to abolish the Widows’ Home. What I wanted was that there should be no distinction made between the f^rahinin widows and the non-brahmin widows (hear, hear) as seems to be the case at present. For it is time that when peo[)le come forward and demand for money for purposes of education that these caste prejudices disappear. For unless that takes place any further sum spent on education is simply waste of money. We hope to see ourselves !>efore long a united nation and if education does not attain that object it will be better for us if we spend the whole sum of 197.88 lakhs on rural development rather than on education which does not go to broaden the vision of people as then we shall have a community which will be prepared to advance in the right direction, instead of having graduates by hundreds whose vision has not widened in any way, who cannot rise above the level of the sentiments of the village purohits and who cartnot break away from the shackles of sectarian and narrow prejudices. If that democratic sentiment is not developed I feel the provision for education in the budget will be a mere waste. 
CorAT ig now to the (question of the need for a hostel for the Lady WillingJon College I have already told the hon. the Deputy President that the hostel will be built just behind the college and I hope at least in this liostel the distinction of caste, class and community will not be maintained. 1 think the policy of the Government should be to see as far as possible to do away with these distinctions. • 
With regal d to the school at Triplicane, I agree with my friend, the hon. the Deputy President, that it requires a new building, and that the present rented building is not fit for housing the school. The Director’s attention has been drawn to it and he himself is keen in securing a new building for it. I hope the proposals will be ready soon." 
Though I suggested caution in dealing with the widows the majority of whom come from the most conservative families, still I must admit that I very much appreciated the Minister’s views on the question of caste or denominational hostels which undoubtedly tend to promote communal or caste feeling among the younger generation. 



Status: Offline
Posts: 7329

'^HE next subject that engaged my attention was the Devadasi Problem. 
I have been feeling all along and feeling most actutely too that it was a great piece of injustice, a great wrong, a violation of human rights, a practice highly revolting to our sense of morality and to our higher nature to countenance, and to tolerate young innocent girls to be trained in the name of religion to lead an immoral life, to lead a life of promiscuity, a life leading to the disease of the 
mind and the body. 
I gave notice of a resolution and I was anxiously waiting for the ballot result. 
Luckily for me, the ballot was successful and the resolution appeared under my name in the agenda of the 4th November. As usual, the vested interests became alarmed at my move and tried all their influence to dissuade me 
from moving the resolution but I was adamantine and I almost took a vow that I would never rest till I get the pernicious custom eradicated from this land. 
The resolution did come up before the Council and I had the honour of moving it and making a long speech. The Council was apparently moved by my speech and all parties most enthusiastically supported my motion. 
The full text of my speech has been already published in pamphlet form both in English and Tamil and is available at the address given below # 
Mr.K.R. Karant, Mr.C.V. Venkataramana 
Aiyangar, Mr. Muthuranga Mudaliar, Mr. Anjanayulu of the then Congress Party, Mr. A.B, Shetty, Mr. Syed Ibrahim, Mr. V. Munisamy Pillai, Mr, S. N. Dorai Raja of the Ministerial Group, Sir M. Krishnan Nair, Deputy Leader of the Justice Party made most eloquent and telling speeches in support of my motion but the then Law Member Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyar on behalf of the Government while appreciating the very high object of the mover pointed out certain difficulties in giving practical effect to the resolution. 
All the same, the original motion slightly amended was unanimously adopted by the council. 
“ This Council recommends to the Government to undertake legislation or if that for any reason be impracticable^ to recommend to the Central Government to undertake legislation at a very early date to put a stop to the practice of dedicating young girls or young women to Hindtt TempleSy ivhich has generally resulted in exposing them to an immoral life f * No. 6. Rundalfs Road, Vepery, Madras. 
The local Government without trying in any manner to solve the problem simply communicated the above resolution to the Central Government. 
Therefore, with the help of a lawyer' councillor I drafted a Bill to dispense with the Devadasi Service in the Temples and after getting the Government of India sanction for the same, I introduced it into the local Council, the very next year. 
In this matter I was dealing with a quite different problem. My medical and educational work in the Council was very much applauded but not my social reform work. 
The people that had not the courage to oppose me openly in public began to work underhand and set up one or two bogus associations to write petitions to Government and distribute unworthy literature to the public to prevent my bill becoming law. 
Therefore, I had to bring all the re-- sources at my command to counteract such evil propaganda. I was constantly writing to the press on the subject, publishing and broad-casting little educative pamphlets and I was holding large women meetings in support of my work in the Council. To the credit of the Indian public it must be said,, that very soon the vocal public became converted to my creed, I had reports of meetings held everywhere in the Presidency in favour of my bill before the ' Council,, individuals began to attack my opponents through the press, the vernacular and the English press took up my side and above all owing to the wonderful awakening that has come upon all communities, particularly, those castes that have been victims of this Devadasi evil, I very soon came into touch with the reformed sections of those communities who have since done much to further my work in that direction and who are even now carrying on intensive propaganda to uproot this eviL > I shall refer to this most important legislation of mine later on when the discussion on my bill is referred to in this book. 

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard