The Mission for the Depressed Classes (1906-1912)

(I) Object
From the last Indian Census Report the following figures are extracted.
INDIA
Total Indians                     294,361,056
Total Hindus                     190,433,969
Total Untouchables            45,699,260

"In every seven Indians therefore including coolies as well as kings, there is one wretched untouchable creature that hardly dares come within speaking distance except to do the meanest service to the rest."
BOMBAY PRESIDENCY
The Depressed population - 3479084
17 per cent of the Hindu population.
Total number of pupils attending schools - 15,058
BOMBAY CITY
The total Population                                 9,82000
The total Depressed                                   83,014
The total number of the Depressed pupils        300
The total number of schools                                4

The above figures speak for themselves. They point out to the conclusions so clearly drawn in the accompanying pamphlet "A plea for a Mission for the Depressed Classes" viz.

1. That a vigorous and indigenous effort must be made for the elevation of this large mass of humanity.

2. That the problem of the elevation of these classes calls for a special solution beyond that of their education in the ordinary sense.

3. That a new and indigenous Mission alone is likely to effect a nucleus for this special solution rather than any mechanical agency such as that of the Government or Municipal educational system or even the foreign Christian Missions.

4. That the city of Bombay is the proper place to make a beginning.

It is the object of this Mission to make such a beginning.

(II) Committee

For the present the following gentlemen have constituted themselves into a committee and hold themselves responsible for the property as well as work of the Mission.

Hon'ble Mr. Justice N. G. Chandawarkar - (President)
Shet Damodardas G. Sukhadvala - (Vice President)
Mr. N. B. Pandit - (Treasurer)
Mr. S. R. Lad - (Superintendent)
Mr. V. R. Shinde - (Secretary)
(III)    Institutions
1. Free Day School for both boys and girls, teaching up to the Marathi 5th and the English 3rd standards.

2. Night School for Working People.
3. Charitable Medical Dispensary.
4. Reading Room and Library.
5. Young men's Gymkhana.
6. Mothers Sewing Circle.
7. Prayer and Lecture Hall.

(IV) Mission Operations

(1) All the institutions will be located and conducted in a suitable building carefully selected in a district of the city of Bombay which may be mos inhabited by the Depressed Communities.

(2) The Resident Missionary Teachers will be provided quarters in that building.

(3) They will generally spend three hours in teaching in the day school and one hour in the night school, two hours in visiting the homes of these people by day and one hour by night.

(4) There will be 5 hours of tuition in the day school (10 a.m.—4 p.m.) and two hours in the night school (7—9 p.m.).

(5) The Dispensary will be open every morning in the week except Sunday, the Library every evening and the Reading Room always, in a separate portion of the building.

(6) There will be a simple devotional meeting every Sunday Morning.

(7) The Young men's meeting and the mothers' meeting will be held at suitable times in the week.

(8) On Saturday nights there will be occasionally arranged पोथी, पुराण, कीर्तन or lectures on current topics relating to the advancement of these classes.

(9) There will be annual gatherings of the Mission.

(V)    Estimated Present Expenses

Table (To see the table click here.)

(VI) Intended Future Developments

1. A Model Middle School for Boys.
2. A Model Middle School for Girls.
3. An Industrial School and a Work Shop.
4. A Boarding House with free board for only such of the depressed class boys and girls from the mofussil, as are poor and promising.
5. A system of Scholarship Examinations for the encouragement of pupils of these communities in the important Municipal Schools all over Maharashtra.
Appeal
Shet Damodardas Govardhandas having made an initial grant of Rs. 1000, a day school and a dispensary have already been started at Parel; but a large sum has yet to be raised. It is therefore the duty of every philanthropically and patriotically disposed person to render all possible help to the Mission so that it may carry on the much needed enterprise. Even a mere man of business in this great industrial and commercial city of Bombay, will realize his own duty as well as interest from an economical point of view of this problem of elevation of the Depressed who constitute no less than nearly one tenth of the whole population, and a considerably larger portion of the labouring population of this city. An intelligent, if not a charitable, glance at the following figures will reveal to him the piteous and pathetic state of circumstances which suffer such large number of human beings to remain age after age in a condition materially so degraded and socially so disabled.
THE CITY OF BOMBAY
Mahars 40,647;    Mochis 12,622;                Chamars 5,950
Dheds 6,149;       Mangs 2,499;                   Bhangis  4,932
Dhors 818;          Other low castes                            9,307
The total population of the city - 9,82,000
The total number of the Depressed - 83,014
The total number of pupils of the Depressed Classes -  300
Any donation or monthly subscription will be thankfully received by Mr. N. B. Pandit  or Mr. V. R. Shinde, PRARTHANA SAMAJ, GIRGAUM, BOMBAY.

Second Report

MISSION FOR THE DEPRESSED CLASSES
(ESTABLISHED 18 OCTOBER, 1906)

The Mission held its gathering in connection with the Holi Holidays on the 28th of Feb. 1907. Its school premises near the Globe Mill at Parel were decorated and a large number of the so-called lowest strata of Hinduism were detached and gathered from the most debasing influences with which the physical and moral atmosphere of the neighbourhood was surcharged. There were present Shet Damodardas, G. Sukhadwala, the vice-president of the Mission, the Hon. Mr. Gokuldas K. Parekh, Mr. K. R. Kama, Miss Kershetji, Miss K. Nawrange, B.A., L.M. & S., Mrs. Ramabai Bhandarkar and several other ladies and gentlemen from the town. At 5 p.m. Mr. V. R. Shinde began his address on the National Holi Festival and its good and bad uses after which Babu Kaniyalal and Swami Swatmanand who was in the chair made some remarks on the subject. About 6 O'clock Sir Bhalchandra Krishn Kt., arrived amid enthusiastic cheers and blowing of the horns from the audience which had gathered by this time 5 to 6 hundred of the depressed communities. About a hundred had come all the way from Chimbur Kacharapatti and an equal number from Byculla and the Market side in processions. No sooner did Sir Bhalchandra take the chair, than the boys of the school emerged out of a room singing in a body the song of the school bell. Mr. Shinde, in presenting the report of the four months' work, said Since nearly 25 years, the Prarthana Samaj has been helping the submerged section of our society by opening night schools for them. Encouraged by the very hopeful signs of self-help among these people recently, some of the members of the Samaj started this much-needed Mission on the Dipavali Day, the 18th of October 1906, when the Hon. Mr. Justice Chandawarkar, president of the Mission, opened the Day School at Parel; there are employed at present two male and two female teachers, one of the latter being honorary, and a peon to gather the pupils.

Pupils registered in the school till the end of Feb. 1907

DAY SCHOOL. Opened, 18 Oct. 1906 -

Table 1 (To see the table click here.)

SUNDAY SCHOOL — Opened, 18 Oct. 1906

NIGHT SCHOOL -OPENED, DEC. 1996 (See the table No. 1)
FREE DISPENSARY—Opened, 12 Nov. 1906 (See the table No. 1)

Every Sunday morning children are gathered in the school for moral and religious training when hymns and moral stories are taught. 25 is the average attendance.

The largest, number of complaints were those of ague and ulcers. Mr. Santooji Ramji Lad, a retired hospital assistant of Thana, has taken honorary charge of the Dispensary, which he comes to attend four hours every morning from Thana. Not only does he earnestly work in the Dispensary but he also visits the houses of the poor without any fee. Since last month Mr. Lad has to go to Chimbur Kacharapatti on the same Mission twice a week, when his place is taken at Parel by another hospital assistant Mr. S. B. Nasikkar. The Mission is deeply indebted to both these gentlemen.

LIBRARY AND READING ROOM—Opened, 18 Jan. 1907

With the kind help of Shet Tukaram Javji, Messrs. Babaji Sakharam and Co. and the Manoranjak Granth Prasaraka Mandal's a small Library was opened in the School with 232 interesting volumes, of which 35 have been issued by the pupils and the people in the neighbourhood since 18th Jan.

BOOK-BINDING
is taught to a Mahar youth and to a Mahar cripple orphan who is brought down from Baramati and is lodged, boarded and taught in the school at the cost of the Mission.

SPECIAL WORK
On the Mahashiwaratri Day, (11 Feb.) a Harikirtan was performed by Mr. M. Khare which was attended by nearly 300 people.

In order to combat the evil influences of the Holi fortnight the Mission arranged Lantern Lectures on Temperance in the three centres viz., Byculla, Chimbur and Parel where the audiences were from two to four hundred. On three nights the boys of the school and the neighbourhood were engaged in moonlight Swadeshi games under the control of the teachers and some of the young men of the Bombay Prarthana Samaj. About 70 boys who all behaved remarkably well took part in the play.

After the Secretary's report Sir Bhalchandra gave away the prizes to the winners in the games and to the girls, after which he addressed the meeting in terms most complimentary to the Mission dwelling separately on each department of its work and especially on the temperance work. He observed that no amount of good work was of any value unless there was temperance in the people; and that the fact that such a vast crowd was gathered there on that day while thousands were making beasts of themselves in the vicinity was a guarantee that the temperance movement was making progress. He then spoke a few words of advice in Marathi to the humbler section of the audience on which he was garlanded and thanked by Shet Damodardas G. Sukhadwala. The whole audience then descended in the adjoining plain, where Sir Bhalchandra gave the first kick to the football and declared that the

YOUNG MEN'S MAIDAN CLUB
was open, consisting of 25 young men. The party then dispersed amidst loud cheers.

APPEAL

The mission has secured upto now the amount of Rs. 2,102 in all, including the initial donation of Rs. 1000 by Shet Damodardas G. Sukhadwala, three of Rs. 200 each, two of Rs. 100 each and other smaller donations, and monthly subscriptions to the amount of Rs. 20, out of which it has already spent about Rs. 550. In order to do its work effectively, the Mission finds it necessary to extend its operations to Chimbur and Byculla. And since it has already secured the services of some young, devoted and sacrificing missionaries and teachers and a very hopeful field too for their work, the Mission finds itself all the more in a pressing want of a minimum fund of Rs. 3000 a year, for immediate use. It therefore humbly yet earnestly appeals to all wealthy patriots and philanthropists as well as to all friends of the Depressed Classes to generously come forth with their mites howsoever humble and enable the Mission to set the willing labourers to gather an abundant harvest which is only awaiting their hands, but has been all along trampled under feet!

V. R. SHINDE
(Secretary)
RAM MOHAN ASHRAM    
Girgaon, Bombay
1 March 1907

THE THIRD QUARTERLY REPORT OF
THE DEPRESSED CLASSES MISSION
(ESTABLISHED, 18TH OCTOBER 1906)

(I) Committee

The Hon'ble Mr. Justice N. G. Chandawarkar - (President)
Shet Oamodardas G. Sukhadvala - (Vice President)
Mr. N. B. Pandit - (Treasurer)
Mr. S. R. Lad - (Superintendent)
Mr. V. R. Shinde - (Secretary)

(II) Object
From the last Indian Census Report the following figures are extracted - Total—Indian population 294,361,056. Total Hindus 190,433,969. Total Untouchables 45,699,260. ‘In every seven Indians therefore including coolies as well as kings, there is one wretched untouchable creature that hardly dares come within speaking distance except to do the meanest service to the rest."

The Depressed population in the Bombay Presidency—3479084; (17 per cent, of the Hindu population). Total number of pupils attending schools, 15,058.

The total population of the city of Bombay 9,92000. The total Depressed 33,014. The total number of the Depressed pupils in the four Municipal Schools is 300. The above figures point out to the conclusions (a) That the problem of the elevation of these classes calls for a special solution beyond that of their education in the ordinary sense, (b) That a new and indigenous Mission alone is likely to effect a nucleus for the special solution rather than any mechanical agency such as that of the Government or Municipal educational system or even the foreign Christian Missions, (c) That the city of Bombay is the proper place to make a beginning.

It is the object of this Mission to make such a beginning.

(III) Work

PAREL
1. SEWA SADAN - Mr. Sayyad Abdul Kadir of the Bombay Prarthana Samaj has given up his situation and has wholly devoted himself to the work of the Mission. Besides, two lady-workers and an old and experienced gentleman of the Samaj have also volunteered their services : all these four now form the institution named "The Nirashrit Sewa Sadan" which is at present lodged in the top-floor of the building which contains the Mission Schools near the Globe Mill at Parel. A generous philanthropist has undertaken to pay one hundred rupees every month towards the expenses of this institution.

2. THE SCHOOLS - There are now 105 boys and 22 girls in the Day School, 52 working people in the Night School and 40 pupils in the Sunday School. There is a separate night class for grown-up girls. A sewing class for women is newly organised. Besides the voluntary workers there are four paid teachers and a peon.

3. THE BOOK-BINDER'S SHOP - Five boys are regularly taught book­binding by a teacher specially engaged who besides teaching, does work in aid of the Mission under the direct instructions of Mr. Sayyad who knows book-binding.

4. THE MAIDAN CLUB - The meadow adjoining the school being constantly flooded during the rains, the young men have rare occasions for out-door games. So they have naturally developed their club into a debating society which arranges fortnightly lectures. The last such meeting was attended by about ninety people from the neighbourhood. It is also the purpose of the club to organise occasional trips and outings which will no doubt afford a healthy change to these hard worked souls.

5. THE FREE DISPENSARY - Mr. S. R. Lad goes from Thana every morning to attend to the Dispensary and Mr. Nassikakar too pays his bi-weekly visits, free of charge. Till the end of June last, the total admissions were 302.

6. A BOARDER - It is to be regretted that the cripple Mahar boy from Baramati who was learning book-binding and was maintained by the Mission, fell a victim to the plague during the last visitation. There is now another promising Mahar youth named Ganesh Akaji Gawai from Akola, boarded and lodged freely in the Sewa Sadan. He is reading for the ensuing Matriculation examination, and is kindly admitted as a half free student at the Wilson High School by the Principal.

7. RELIGIOUS WORK - Every day there is Bhajan early in the morning and at night and once a week there is divine service in the Sewa Sadan- There are fortnightly Saturday devotional meetings alternating with the lectures of the club, in which Kirtans are performed or readings given from such popular works of Marathi saints as Bhakti Vijai.

8. SPECIAL WORK - The missionaries noticing a pitiful want of cleanliness among the pupils, have instituted a system of Saturday and Sunday baths on which occasions the free use of soap and towels is enjoyed by the children almost as a luxury. They also collect old clothes from well-to-do people and distribute them among the needy.

BYCULLA

9. THE SOMAWANSHIYA SANMITRA SAMAJ - With a view to promote efforts of self-improvement and self-help among the people themselves, this association was started in March last as a centre of work in Byculla. Fourteen men have enlisted themselves as regular members. They hold weekly gatherings of the neighbouring people on every Saturday night in a rented room in the Dagadi Chal at Madanpura. The members, after the preliminary Bhajan, address the meeting by turns on some useful subject. Representatives of the Mission occasionally visit the association, give discourses and make suggestions; but care is taken to keep the organization as independent and self-supporting as possible.

CHIMBUR
10. There is a Municipal colony of more than 500 lowcaste people at Deonar, (Chimbur Kacharapatti) by whom the need for a day and a night school is being badly felt for a long time. Efforts are being made to secure a school house from the Municipal Corporation and then to open a regular centre there. On special occasions, people are gathered from all these centres at the Parel School.

11. WORK IN THE MOFFUSSIL - The Secretary in a recent missionary tour in Central India and Berar, delivered public lectures on the problem of the depressed classes and on the aims and work of the Mission, in Baroda, Indore, Dhar, Akola, Amraoti and Manmad. In Indore a separate committee of the Mission was organised which is now maintaining a day school for the lowcaste boys of that city. A similar night school was started in Manmad. At Akola the Secretary visited and inspected the Janoji Lowcaste Free Boarding. The late Mr. Janoji was a well-to-do Mahar contractor and took great pains for the education of his caste-fellows. His widow who is now conducting the Boarding single-handed and naturally with great difficulty, made a written application to the secretary for help. The Mission has therefore sent its agent to help her in managing the institution and to make it a centre for Berar. A little Mahar girl in the lowcaste school at Pandharpur is given a small monthly scholarship as an encouragement in her pursuit.

(IV) Accounts
(From 18th October 1906 to 9th July 1907)

Donations Rs. 2248-4-0. Subscriptions Rs. 704-0-0. Other income 22-5-0. Total received Rs. 2974-9-0.

Sewa Sadan
Table 2  (To see the table click here.)

(V)    Appeal

The estimated annual expenditure is three thousand rupees (Rs. 3000) of which only half is secured by annual subscriptions and the other hall is yet to be secured. The reserved fund too, of which only a small beginning is made has to be largely increased by substantial donations. Besides subscriptions and donations, friends are requested to help the Mission by sending their old clothes, books, furniture, medicines, toys and other articles of household utility, by visiting and inspecting the Mission work personally and by getting their friends interested in the work. As the Mission has already secured the devoted services of a batch of enthusiastic and self-forgetting persons, it is highly desirable that an efficient settlement should be established in a spacious plot of ground in Byculla which is not only the centre of the island but also the most populated district by Mahars, Chambhars and other depressed communities. It is therefore earnestly appealed that all wealthy patriots, philanthropists as well as all other friends of the depressed classes in India should come forth to the help of the Mission in this most needed and noble enterprise.

RAM MOHUN ASHRAM       V. R. SHINDE
GIRGAUM, BOMBAY           Secretary.
9th July 1907                    Depressed Classes Mission

We must leave the report to speak for itself. But we think it necessary to call attention to the poor support that has so far been accorded to the Mission by the wealthier classes of our citizens. The Mission is directly intended to raise the condition of the labouring classes, and we are sure that if it is brought to the notice of large employers of labour, who are deeply interested in every improvement which concerns labourers, the financial position of the Mission will be made much stronger than it is, in a very short time.
- Indian Social Reformer

The Second annual Report (Depressed Classes Mission Society of India

(FOR THE YEAR 1908)

Before reviewing the work of the year, the Committee of the D. C. M. Society most solemnly offers its deep thanks to the Gracious Almighty Father the source of all goodness and holiness. The work was commenced in simple trust and the Committee prays that it will be enabled to continue it in faith, hope, and humility.

The last Annual Gathering — At the last Annual Gathering of the Mission, the Hon’ble Sir J. W. P. Muir Mackenzie presided and Lady Muir Mackenzie distributed the prizes, when Sir Muir Mackenzie spoke of its work with the kindest feelings of sympathy and appreciation. He said that he had been recently attending numerous gatherings but there was none in which he felt such a warm sympathy as this institution. Referring to the Missioners he laid special emphasis on the point that they were certainly in that institution endeavouring to tackle one of the roost formidable problems with which they were all confronted in India. Not having overcome this sense of the formidable proportions of the Problem, the Secretary could not then do more than present before that meeting a very brief summary of the work done during the first year. Nor does the Committee even now feel bold enough to place on record all that the workers have done and experienced in this field. Yet as the work has covered, during the year under report, a much wider range than was expected and has still better prospects for the coming year, apology is hardly needed for saying here a few words about the origin of this Society.

Origin — The Prarthana Samaj, as the Theistic Church in Western India is called, has been contributing for the last 30 years its own humble share to the elevation of the so-called low castes by opening night schools &c., for them. Especially, during the last four or five years, the Mention of some of its workers was drawn more keenly than ever towards the several interesting movements of self-improvement conducted by such members of the Depressed Communities themselves as had tasted the fruits of the present educational system in India or had come into contact with the Christian Missionaries or the Anglo-Indian masters. They were the Somawanshiya Samaj started by Mr. S.J. Kambale of Poona, the Mohapa Low Caste Association by Mr. Kisan Fagu of Nagpur, and the Somawanshiya Hitachintak Mandali, by Mr. Shripatrao Thorat and Mr. Pandoba Dangle of Ahmednagar. Having closely observed these movements among the Depressed Classes, their growth and also their inevitable decay, one of the members of the Prarthana Samaj wrote in December 1905 a pamphlet on the Elevation of the Depressed Classes. At the end of it he said :—

"Thus I have tried to review briefly from what little I know, the results of both philanthropy and self-help in this great work of the elevation of the Depressed Classes. If each of these will operate in conscious or unconscious isolation from the other, as it has been the case so long, both will perhaps cease to work out of mere exhaustion. It is for the Social Reform Association and the Prarthana Samaj to devise means to bring both these new forces into a happy and new co-operation."

The same writer after further study of the subject — the appalling number and the abject condition of these classes — proved for the first time from the Census Reports in a pamphlet published in August 1906 that the depressed population was more than one-fourth of the total Hindu population and that more than one-sixth of the total population was considered “untouchable". He then pleaded in that pamphlet :-

“ What is wanted therefore is not merely a machinery of education however grand, but a real Mission i. e. an organization in which the personal element presides over and energizes the mechanism; and secondly (which is still more essential) a mission which is not exotic but indigenous or in other words a mission which is bent upon working an evolution in the religion, traditions and Social life of these people and not a revolution as the Christian Missions are doing. .... The City of Bombay in my humble opinion is the fittest centre for such work— The Prarthana Samaj of Bombay is the only Liberal Religious body in this province, that can, if it will, undertake the noble Mission and carry it to its ultimate consummation, viz. restoring, at least such of these depressed souls as are capable, to their rightful though long withheld place in a renovated Hindu Society."

In October 1906, Shet Damodardas G. Sukhadwalla, Vice-President of the Bombay Prarthana Samaj, generously came forward with one thousand rupees as an initial contribution towards the funds of such a Mission; and on the 18th of the same month, The Hon'ble Mr. Justice Chandavarkar, President of the Bombay Prarthana Samaj, inaugurated the Depressed Classes Mission, by opening its first school at Parel, in the presence of a representative gathering of ladies and gentlemen.

Before giving the first lesson to the children assembled, Mr. Chandavarkar in his inaugural speech charged the workers in the memorable words “Let us not approach these people in a spirit of patronization. Let us always remember that in elevating the depressed we are but elevating ourselves!" The following gentlemen who are all members of the Prarthana Samaj, formed the First Committee of the Mission.

The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Chandavarkar — President.
Shet Damodardas G. Sukhadwala, J.P. — Vice President.
Mr. N. B. Pandit, B.A. — Hon. Treasurer.
Mr. S. R. Lad — Hon. Superintendent.
Mr. V. R. Shinde, B.A. — Hon. Secretary.

The Object of the Mission is to seek to elevate the condition of the Depressed Classes viz. the Mahars, Chambars, Pariahs, Namsudras and all such other neglected Classes in India by means of —

(1) Promoting education,

(2) Providing work,

(3) Remedying their social disabilities, and

(4) Preaching to them ideals of religion, personal character, and good citizenship.

Although all the members of the Managing Committee of the Mission are members of the Prarthana Samaj, still, as yet it is in no way formally connected with that body. Such formal relations are left free to be developed in future. It is open for any one to become a member of the Society and also to be elected on its committees under the prescribed rules. However, it is a known fact that the work of the Mission is carried on essentially Theistic lines. The All India Theistic Conference held in Madras last December passed the following resolution :—

“That this Conference with great pleasure recognizes the aims and work of the Depressed Classes Mission Society of India as Theistic and heartily calls on all Bramha and Prarthana Samajes in India to show sympathy and render pecuniary help to the Mission in its work.”

Constitution — Naturally the work of the Mission was commenced without any elaborate rules which are often a hindrance rather than a help. However as the work increased not only in Bombay but expanded out of it, it had to be placed on a sound constitutional basis. To the original Committee the names of Dr. (Mrs.) Manekbai Bahadurji L.M. & S.L.R.C.P. and Dr. Miss Kashibai Nowarange B.A., L.M. & S. were added in 1907 and those of Prof. N.G. Welinkar M.A., LL.B., Mr. V. S. Sohoni and Mr. Sayyad Abdul Kadir were added in 1908. In a meeting of the committee is held on the 5th Nov. 1908, a sub-committee was appointed to draft the rules of constitution, and in a meeting held on the 10th December 1908, the draft constitution was duly passed.

Expansion — To the centres opened in the previous year, was added during the year under report a vigorous branch at Poona, so ably and successfully conducted by Mr. A. K. Mudliar, B.A. and the smaller centres at Akola, Amraoti, Igatpuri and Dapoli. A good beginning is made in Madras and a committee formed at Calicut for preliminary work. The Committee also notes with great pleasure the Depressed Classes Mission started under the auspices of the Sadharan Brahma Samaj at Calcutta and the work done there, and also the splendidly promising efforts of the Association for the Promotion of Education among the Depressed Classes at Kolhapur under the enlightened lead of the Divansaheb of that State and the liberal patronage of H. H. the Maharajah Chhatrapati.

Concentration — The main energies of the workers of the Mission are however concentrated at Parel, as will be seen from the report of the Nirashrit Seva Sadan or the Depressed Classes Mission Home. The members of this Sadan besides teaching in the schools of the Mission, minister to the various needs of the poor people by arranging lectures, games and excursions, giving medical relief, holding Sunday Classes, Bhajans and divine services, visiting the poor in their houses, distributing clothes and such other small charities in times of emergency. It is gratifying to note that the Sadan has secured the active services of four high caste ladies. One Chambhar woman is taught sewing and she is now the teacher in the sewing class and helps in getting women to attend meetings arranged for their benefit. The existence of this Sadan is solely due to a generous philanthropist, who regularly pays a monthly subscription of Rs. 100 towards the funds of the Sadan, which are managed and accounted separately from the general funds ol the Society.

Bhajan Samajas — As a result of this concentrated method of work there have been organized two Associations called Bhajan Samajas, among the Depressed Classes themselves, one at Madanpura, Byculla, and the other at Elphinstone Road, Parel. A regular habit of congregations worship is created among these people, who not only meet every week for the purpose of worshipping the one True God in spirit but also often hold meetings to discuss subjects of their secular well-being. The Mission finds these associations the most efficient means of approaching the bulk of these communities and of being easily understood by them in its efforts.

Charitable Dispensary — To improve the sanitary condition of the Depressed Classes, to introduce habits of cleanliness and temperance among them, to afford cheap or free medical relief in order to substitute the right notions about the laws of health in place of many superstitions rampant among them, are among the aims of the Mission. With this view a Charitable Dispensary was conducted at Parel for the last two years. The existence of this institution was solely due to the self- sacrificing zeal of Mr. Santooji Ramji Laud, pensioned 1st class Hospital Assistant who went from Thana every morning not only to attend the Dispensary, but to visit the poor people in their homes. The Dispensary supplied a real need felt in the neighbourhood. The Bombay Municipality has now opened a regular Dispensary there since some months past and the Mission Dispensary is therefore no more required at Parel. From the expenditure shown by Dr. S. R. Laud in his report, it will be seen that the Dispensary was conducted with the utmost frugality by him, he sometimes having had to pay his own railway fare. To make it efficient an annual income of five hundred rupees is required. Unless some charitable donor comes forward with help, the committee will be unable to open this useful department of its work in some other suitable quarter of the city.

The Purity Servant — Originally this was a fortnightly English journal conducted by Babu A. C. Muzumdar at Lahore. Mr. V. S. Sohoni took it from Mr. Muzumdar and made it by the permission of the Depressed Classes Mission, its official organ. He has been conducting it since May 1908, as a monthly magazine, solely on his own editorial and financial responsibility for which the Mission is much indebted to him.

General Sympathy — Before concluding this review the Committee roost cheerfully records its sense of grateful appreciation of the general sympathy with which this work has been received by the public. Even the most sanguine of them could not have expected that the small beginning they made two years ago would attain the proportions it now reaches and rouse such a wide spread sympathy among the high and low, the conservatives as well as liberals, on the public platforms, in the press and in private circles. And yet any intelligent friend of the Mission will easily detect the fact that neither the wealthy section of this proud city which contains no less than 83,000 members of these despised communities toiling for its prosperity, nor the ruling Princes this province have bestowed any thing like serious attention upon the struggles of the Mission which has therefore had to depend upon the tender mercies and slender means of the work-a-day middle classes. The Committee however gladly takes this opportunity of remembering the noble-hearted sympathy which the head of the province, His Excellency Sir George Clarke and his daughter Miss Clarke showed by holding the concert at Poona and paying the proceeds (Rs. 3467-13-6) — towards the funds of the Mission and thus quickened a more general interest in the work than before. Another encouraging instance of kindness is that of the Mahomedan Mill-owner Mr. Haji Yusaf Haji Ismail Subhani, who not only paid off the cost of the hut of the Mission School at Deonar but made a gift of 500 new clothes specially prepared for all boys and girls of the three schools of the Mission. Mention must also be made of the substantive token of sympathy received from the distant Unitarian friends of England. Mrs. Sitabai Sukhtankar while she was in England as Miss L. Bishop of the Manchester Domestic Mission, raised about 700 rupees from her Unitarian friends and sent the sum as a Christmas present to this Mission.

The Ladies Committee—Mrs. Sukhtankar has now still more closely connected herself with the Mission by becoming the Secretary of the Ladies’ Committee specially organized for the purposes of creating sympathy and securing financial aid for it, with Lady Muir Mackenzie and Mrs. Laxmibai Chandavarkar as Vice-presidents, Mrs. Stanley Reed as the Chairman, Mrs. Laxmibai Ranade as Joint Secretary and Miss S. K. Kabraji as the treasurer.

Lastly the Committee offers its sincere thanks to all those who are working in connection with the branches and affiliations of the D. C. Mission Society in the different parts of the country with such a self- sacrificing zeal and singleness of purpose and also sends its cordial greetings to all those who are labouring, though independently of this Society, yet in the same field of national duty and human well-being.

V. R. Shinde
(General Secretary,
Depressed Classes Mission Society of India)

Ram Mohan Ashram
Girgaum, Bombay
13th March 1909

The Sixth Annual Report

DEPRESSED CLASSES MISSION SOCIETY OF INDIA
(For the year ending 31st December 1912)

The Executive Committee of the D. C. M. again offer their humble thanks to God Almighty for enabling them to spend another year of useful service to their depressed brethren in India.

A prosperous year : The year under report has been the most prosperous in the brief history of the Mission, both in respect of extension and consolidation of its work as will be seen from the progress at the following centres.

Bombay : The work at the head-quarters has been largely developed. The handsome annual grant of Rs. 6000 to be continued for three years by the Trustees of the late Mr. N. M. Wadia's estate has enabled the Society to start a separate Technical School at Parel and to increase the number of boarders at the Hostel from 17 to 40. The Ram Mohan Rai Day and Night Schools are also among the additions of the year caused by a donation from a Gujrathi gentleman and supply an urgent need felt long by children of the Gujrathi Bhangis at the Mahalaxmi Kacharapatti. The local Secretary Mr. V. S. Sohoni submits an exhaustive and ably written report of his work which is commended to the special attention of the public. His remarks regarding the "Drawbacks and Difficulties" in the way of the efficient education of the depressed classes children which are so amply borne out by other local secretaries, as well as his account of the successful conduct of the Hostel at Parel are likely to provoke thought and sympathy among the readers.

Poona : The work of this branch was taken by the General Secretary directly under his charge since August 1912. The holding of the Maharashtra Conference at Poona in October and the princely gift of Rs. 20,000 by H. H. Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar of Indore — events which will be separately dwelt upon have naturally stimulated interest in the work of this branch to a very great extent. Arrangements are made to add a hostel providing accommodation to at least 15 boarders in connection with the Primary Day School of this Branch and facilities are also increased for the technical education at this Branch.

The Karnatak Branch : As a result of the last year's (1911) propagandists work among the Canarese speaking people of this presidency, an incorporated branch of D. C. M. was successfully launched on the 10th August 1912 at Hubli by Mr. and Mrs. Sayad who are now conducting a Hostel, a Day School and a Night School and several other beneficial activities for the social and spiritual betterment of the Depressed Classes, as will be seen from the interesting report of their five months' work presented by Mr. Sayad. Mr. E. Maconochie, I. C. S., Collector of Dharwar who visited this Branch testifies to the serviceableness and popularity of Mr. Sayad among the depressed as well as the higher classes in Karnatak.

Mangalore : The Building activities at this centre are steadily pushed forth in spite of many difficulties. The Committee has resolved to extend its work out in the district of South Kanara where the problem of the Depressed Classes is reported to be at its very worst and the grievances of the "miserables" to be most deplorable, as will be seen from the extracts quoted by Mr. Rangarao from the report of the Madras Government, in his own report of that centre - page 5.

Bhavanagar : Mr. L. B. Vaidya and his Committee are to be congratulated on their having secured a site and a new building for their school at Bhavanagar with the splendid help from H. H. Maharajasaheb and also on their giving the much needed relief to the famine-stricken people in that city.

The Central Provinces and Berars : The General Secretary paid a flying visit to this province at the close of the year, and with the assistance of Rao Bahadur R. G. Mundle of Yeotmal, Hon. Rao Br. R. N. Mudholkar and Mr. Joshi and Dr. Bhat of Amraoti, Rao Br. V. M. Mahajani of Akola and also with the co-operation of Messrs. Kaikini and Dravid of the Servants of India Society at Berar, was able to collect funds towards the maintenance of a new Hostel at Yeotmal as well as that of a responsible Missionary to be stationed at Nagpur for work in the Central Provinces.

Besides, there have been distinct signs of renewed vigour in the smaller centres such as Satara and Malwan. Under the lead of Rao Saheb R. R. Kale arrangements are being made to hold a District Conference at Satara on the lines of the Maharashtra Conference at Poona, while a Committee is formed at Malwan to erect a hall for the use of the local depressed classes. It is however to be noticed here that reports are not received from the centres at Mahableshwar and Madras.

Technical Education : The long cherished desire of the Society of finding out some means of imparting technical education to the D. C. M. pupils was at least to some extent realised when a separate technical school was opened in April 1912 at parel with the help of an annual grant of Rs. 6000 from the N. M. Wadia Trustees to be continued for three years. Four crafts viz. (1) Carpentry, (2) Tailoring, (3) Book­binding, & (4) Sign-board-painting are taught in four separate classes in this school by qualified teachers. There are in all 31 whole day pupils in the four classes : 15 in the Carpentry-Class, 11 in the Sewing, 2 in the Book-binding and 3 in the Painting Class. Besides 30 more pupils attend one or other of these classes for two hours daily. In Poona 50 boys attend the Carpentry and 60 the Sewing Class from two to four periods daily. The special feature therefore of the Society's schools in Bombay and Poona is that every boy and girl from the 3rd vernacular standard upwards has had to attend some technical class for at least two periods of 45 minutes each in the day. This compulsion was introduced slowly and gradually so that now the boys are showing a liking to manual training while the parents, who would have otherwise started all sorts of objections, have hardly felt the change. “The main idea," Mr. Sohoni observes, "of this instruction is to give a training to the hand and eye of the pupils with a view to facilitate their easily taking to some profession to enable them to earn their living. These professions are specially selected for them as it is hoped that by following them much of the social stigma that attaches to them as 'untouchables' will be removed." However it must be confessed that it is by no means an easy task to engender a genuine taste and respect for manual labour in the boys. Being doomed for ages to a life of hard and hopeless drudgery the children as well as the parents in their behalf show a singular distaste for labour and their one ambition under the influence of modern transition seems to be comfortable clerks. In spite of their apparent lack of means and talents, they are always anxious to learn English and be easy going Pundits  with hardly any prospects rather than try to be hardworking yet cash-earning craftsmen.

Literary Education : Another equally amusing but easy to be detected inconsistency in the psychology of these backward classes is that their love of literary education is after all only superficial. With all the persistent efforts of the authorities of the Society's schools at Parel and Poona they have not been able to add standards higher than 4th English and 2nd English to their respective schools. Their most pathetic complaints are that the parents take away their young children too early from the schools with a view to put them to work and in many cases very promising youths too. As to the attendance at the working men's night schools the same unsteadiness is to be observed. The two night schools at Akola and one at Amraoti had to be closed, as the pupils could not withstand the temptation of the extra wages offered by the local mills kept working late in the evenings.

Educational Statistics : There are in all 27 educational institutions under the Society with 1231 pupils under 57 paid teachers (as against 22 institutions, 1084 pupils and 46 teachers of the past year) receiving primary instruction in five different vernaculars in 6 different provinces. As will be seen from the detailed table of statistics on page there has been a distinct progress. The comparative tendency of the different depressed communities, of availing themselves of the educational facilities offered by this Society, which was indicated in the last year's report at length, holds good this year also.

Spiritual work : To the four Bhajan Samajes working last year, viz. at (1) Thugaon, (2) Byculla, (3) Satara, (4) Parel a fifth one at the Poona Cantonment was newly added in August 1912, under the auspices of which divine service was regularly conducted every Saturday evening and occasional lectures were arranged. In connection with the Mandir Fund of the Thugaon Samaj Mr. Gawai collected a small sum in Bombay and Amraoti, but still the Mandir is incomplete for want of funds. As long as Mr. G. K. Kadam was at Kolhapur he zealously conducted a Bhajan Samaj among the Mahars of that city. The members of the Satara Prarthana Samaj, the majority of whom are Mahars and Mangs, attended the D. C. M. Maharashtra Conference at poona and are taking the lead in arranging a district conference at Satara next year and also an annual meeting of their Samaj. Religious and moral instruction is imparted in many of the schools of the Society, while strict care is taken to bring up all the boarders in its several institutions in a thoroughly liberal religious atmosphere. Mr. V. R. Shinde, whenever he was in Bombay, conducted a weekly class specially for the Boarders at Parel in systematic history and philosophy of Brahmaism in India.

Propagandistic Work : In the month of April, Messrs. A. V. Thakkar L.C.E. and V. R. Shinde went to Matheran, had an interview with Major Murrison, Superintendent of the hillstation and held two meetings one for the Depressed Classes population and another to approach the visitors to the hills for sympathy to this mission. A small contribution of Rs. 107 was collected in the latter meeting and the amount was handed to Major Murrison, the president of the Matheran Municipality, to be distributed as small aids among the Depressed Classes pupils, in the local municipal school. Mr. V. R. Shinde accompanied by Mr. A. M. Sayad then went on a prolonged tour in the Karnatic with a view to prepare the ground for the opening of a new Branch for the Canarese speaking depressed communities. They visited and delivered lectures in Kolhapur, Kurundwad, Belgaum, Shahapur, Dharwar, Hubli, Gudag, Betigiri, Kurudkoti, Hombal and Bijapur, and collected in cash about Rs. 1400 in aid of the proposed Branch, which was finally opened in the month of August 1912. On the 27th of December 1913 Messrs A. V. Thakkar and V. R. Shinde organized a demonstration public meeting at Bankipore at which it was resolved that a D.C.M. centre be opened for the province of Berar. The meeting was largely attended and presided over by Rai Purnendu Narayen Sing Bahadur. In order to make preliminary enquiries with a view to start a new Hostel in Berar, Sister Janabai Shinde started on a tour on 3rd November 1912, visited Amraoti, Yeotmal, Thugaon, Ramasavur, Khamgaon, Malkapur and Dhulia, collected funds and returned to Bombay, on the 28th December 1912. Mr. V. R. Shinde also visited Berar at the close of the year and lectured at Akola, Amraoti and Yeotmal and made preliminary arrangements for the organization of an incorporated Branch for the Central Provinces and Berar and a Hostel at Yeotmal. This was his third visit to Berar where he found a very good field for the work of the proposed Branch.

The Maharashtra Conference : The most important event of the year, which was decidedly a propagandistic success was the provincial Conference held under the auspicies of this Society in October 1912 at the amphitheatre of the Fergusson College under the presidentship of Sir R. G. Bhandarkar, PH.D., L.L.D., C.I.E. The whole proceedings were in Marathi and are now published in detail in a Marathi report of 27 pages. The notable features of this unique venture were : (1) About 300 guests of 5 different depressed communities viz. the Mahar, Mang, Chambhar, Dhor and Bhangi travelled at their own cost from 54 different places belonging to 17 Marathi speaking districts of the Bombay Presidency and took active part in the deliberations of the Conference. (2) Of these not less than 230 guests were accommodated by the Reception Committee for the three days of the Conference and all of them mixed and messed together without any distinction of caste for the very first time in the history of the caste system in India. (3) The crowning feature was the principal memorable dinner on the 6th October in which about 400 guests most cheerfully partook, among whom not less than fifty were educated gentlemen of the highest castes belonging to the city of Poona. Dr. Mann who as the president of the Reception Committee received and cheered the guests and himself joined the dinner, declared enthusiastically and no less truly that it was a historical event in the orthodox capital of the Marathas. (4) Prominent and representative men coming from several district towns took cheerful and sympathetic part in the deliberations of the Conference for two days, irrespective of their castes and parties, and chief of them was Shrimant Babasaheb Ghorpade, Chief of Ichalkaranji. (5) The women's meeting was presided over by Mrs. Ramabai Ranade and about 100 ladies of higher castes attended the meeting and freely mixed among the so-called 'untouchable' women about 200 in number and made sympathetic speeches.

Rupee Fund : Mr. L. B. Nayak, Captain General of the D.C.M. Rupee Fund reports as follows :—

"The fund was inaugurated in July 1911 with the object of supplementing the general fund of the Mission by collecting a small subscription of one rupee from each donor, thus making it possible for people of even humble means to help the Mission and enlarge its circle of sympathisers and helpers.

"The total collection made during all the twelve months of the year under report is Rs. 1016 a sum far short of Rs. 5000 the amount expected from 60 Volunteers. A noticeable feature, however, in the collections of this year was the handsome sum got together by Mrs. Rukmini Shinde. Her contribution to the fund is Rs. 504-8-0 very nearly half the amount of the total collections. Mrs. Shinde and her Captain, Sister Janabai Shinde who considerably helped the former in securing such a large amount showed real zeal and interest in the work of the Mission and their example is worth following. The following are the names of the Volunteers who collected Rs. 20 and over :—

"Mrs. Shantabai Gothoskar Rs. 66, Miss Trivenibai Bhatavadekar Rs. 60, Mr. S. K. Divekar Rs. 58, Miss Ahilyabai Bhandarkar Rs. 57, Mr. D. G. Rajadhyaksha Rs. 53, Miss Krishnabai Thakur Rs. 41, Mr. S. S. Tatre Rs. 23-14-0, Sister Janabai Shinde (who besides being a captain worked as a Volunteer also) Rs. 25 and Mrs. H. Ambabai Narayanrao Rs. 22.

"Our sincere thanks are due to these Volunteers and especially to those collections go over Rs. 50. They have all by their disinterested endeavours helped the cause of the Mission to an appreciable degree. Special mention must needs be made of Mr. D. G. Rajadhyaksha who having offered his services as a volunteer only in December last, collected within about a fortnight a sum of Rs. 53 with the assistance of Sister Chandrabai Rajadhyaksha. We only hope that the example set by them is followed by others with equal zeal and earnestness.

Statement of Account of the Rupee Fund Collection and Disbursement for the Year 1912
(To see the Table No. 1)

Table No. 1

H. H. The Holkar's Donation : Financially too the year has proved to be the happiest. It began with the annual donation of Rs. 6000 from the N. M. Wadia Trustees. By the middle of the year the General Secretary effectively brought to the notice of the Executive Committee the general situation of the whole Society, who in a meeting held on the 29th of August 1912 considered at length its urgent needs and resolved to request a body of the most prominent and representative men of this presidency in sympathy with the Mission to form themselves into a committee for the raising of Rs. 85000 for the following purposes :—

(1) The Society's Home in Bombay                                                          Rs.    40,000

(2) The Society's house in Poona                                                             Rs.    20,000

(3) The maintenande of Live Additional missionaries for at least five years  Rs.    25,000

                                                                                                                Total  Rs.  85,000
Consequently a strong appeal for this amount was issued over the signatures of the following gentlemen :—

Sir R. G. Bhandarkar, Sir N. G. Chandavarkar, Sir Chinubhai Madhavlal, Mr. Ratan J. Tata, Hon'ble Mr. Fazulbhoy Currimbhoy, Mr. H. A. Wadia, Mr. Narottam Morarji Gokuldas, Mr. Damodardas G. Sukhadwalla, Mr. S. N. Pandit, Dr. Harold H. Mann and Mr. V. R. Shinde. In response to this appeal His Highness Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar of Indore donated at the close of the year Rs. 20,000 towards a Home in Poona'to be called after his illustrious ancestor Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar. In honour of this gift which is the biggest the Society has ever received, the D.C.M. Schools in Bombay and Poona were closed for a day and the Boarders at Parel were given a dinner. These gifts, encouraging as they are, have added enormously to the responsibilities of the Society which might be better described in the words of the signatories to the appeal as follow :—

“In a short period of six years the Society has succeeded in extending its most useful and benevolent work in Western, Southern and Central parts of this vast country, parts where the problem of the untouchable' classes is at its worst. It has now to spend on the whole Rs. 25,000 every year and has for some reason or other to find its support mainly from the middle classes of this country, who are not as a rule in a position to make any substantial contribution to its funds. The natural consequence has all along been, that the workers of the Mission, few as they are, have had to devote a larger part of their time and energy in collecting subscriptions for the current expenses, which are increasing year after year and yet have very little permanent fund at their disposal. Our earnest appeal is therefore directed especially to the wealthy communities and individuals that they may contribute substantially to the funds which are so urgently required and thus enable the workers of the Mission to find more time to do direct work among the Depressed Classes, and to cope more effectively with the already innumerable difficulties in their way."

Rs. 60,000 have still to be raised. The grant of the N. M. Wadia Trustees will cease after the year 1914. The work of the Society is rapidly and widely branching in and out of the Presidency. The several Hostels, Technical Schools and other institutions have yet to develop their efficiency largely. It is therefore earnestly hoped that the Princes of other Native States and other wealthy gentlemen in the country will follow the splendid example of H. H. Maharajah Holkar and come to the aid of the Society in its arduous task.

The Executive Committee before concluding offer their heartiest thanks to all the Secretaries and members of the Local Committees and to all other co-workers, volunteers, supporters and sympthisers of this unique national cause of the depressed brethren in India.

V. R. Shinde,
(General Secretary)
Depressed Classes Mission
Office, Parel, Bombay.    
17th April 1913.

The Depressed Classes Mission Society of India

Statistics of the Schools and Hostels at the Several centres of the Society for the year 1912 (To see the statistics Table No. 1)

Table No. 1

DEPRESSED CLASSES MISSION SOCIETY OF INDIA

THE SIXTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE
Bombay Branch
(Opened on 18th October 1906)

1. The Depressed Classes Mission Society of India was started on the 18th of October 1906 in Bombay where its first school was opened on the same day. The following institutions are under the control of this Branch.

1. Parel Primary Marathi School Opened on
18th Oct. 1906
2. Deonar (Chembur) Primary Marathi School " 1st Nov. 1907
3. Parel Anglo-Vernacular Middle School " 1 st June 1908
4. Madanpura Primary Marathi School " 1st June 1908
5. Babula Tank Gujarathi Primary School " 1 st June 1909
6. The Parel Technical School and Workshop " 1st April 1912
7. The Raja Ram Mohan Roy Gujarathi Day School " 27th spt. 1912
8. The Raja Ram Mohan Roy Gujarathi Night School " 27th Sept 1912
9. The Students' Hostel " 1st Feb. 1909
10. The Bhajan Samaj, Byculla " 24th March 1907
11. The Bhajan Samaj, Parel " 19th Jan. 1908

A short account of these institutions for the past year is given separately.

2. From the list of institutions given above, it will be apparent that the work of the Bombay Branch of the Mission is of a two fold character viz. Educational (Literary and Technical) and Religious. The Samaj and the Missionaries of the Society do a good deal of social work also but there is no separate institution it in whatever way they could. That hundreds of persons attended the cinema performances in our aid, that our schools were visited by a large number of educated men - all this is indicative of the splendid attitude of the higher classes towards this Mission.

3. One of the many things which call for immediate action on the part of the Executive Committee is the erection of a Home in Bombay. Our landlord of the Parel School house has already intimated his desire to increase the rent by nearly 50 P.C. Our institutions have so grown in this centre that we must either make up our mind to pay the increased rent or split them up at the risk of inefficient management. A home which can accommodate the schools, the boarding, the office, the resident missionary &c. is an urgent necessity.

I. The Middle and Primary Schools

The following is a short account for the year 1912 of the seven educational institutions, viz. 1. The Parel Middle School, 2. Parel Primary School, 3. Chembur Kachrapatty Primary Marathi School, 4. Madanpura Primary Marathi School, 5. The Babula Tank Gujarathi Primary School, 6. The Raja Ram Mohan Gujarathi Day School, and 7. The Raja Ram Mohan Gujarathi Night School which are under the management of the Bombay Branch of the Mission.

1. The Schools as will be seen from the table included in the General Secretary's statistics succeeded last year not only in maintaining their former position satisfactorily but actually were able to make distinct progress in point of increase in number on roll and the daily attendance of pupils. Of the seven schools the two called after the founder of the Brahma Samaj — Raja Ram Mohan Roy, were opened by Sir N. G. Chandavarkar, President of the Society, on the 27th September last — the 79th death anniversary of the Raja. They were opened specially for the benefit of the Gujarathi Dheds (Bhangis) who live and work at Mahalaxmi Kacharapatty. The School at Madanpura which was showing signs of going down last year has turned round and is now able to maintain its usual strength. The English side of the Parel School was considerably strengthened last year and had sixty pupils on roll at the end of December.

3. The range of education in all the Schools stated above continues to be the same as in the preceding year. It was intended, after the Transference Examination in last October, to add the fifth Standard Class to the Parel Middle School but the idea has been for the present, given up. Owing to the opening of the Technical and Industrial School, we have been able to make some sort of manual training a special and a necessary feature of this School. Every boy and girl who attends the English classes has to learn either of the four branches, viz. carpentry, sewing, signboard painting and book binding taught in the Technical School. Though we had some misgivings at the commencement as to the way in which this innovation would be received by the pupils and their parents, we are glad to note that it has had an excellent reception. This has greatly encouraged us and we are at present devising means to enable all the pupils of the Anglo-Vernacular department to go in for a two hours' study in the Technical School every day.

Classification of Pupils in the Several Schools according to Castes 
(To see chart click Table No. 1)

Table No. 1

4. General Examinations : Drawing as usual continues to be a special feature of the Parel School. During the year under report the Drawing Class was registered for grant-in-aid by the Educational Department and it received Rs. 122-8-0 as grant on the results of the Drawing Examinations of the J. J. School of Arts. This class had 80 pupils on roll at the end of December. Last year we sent 14, 5 and 2 pupils for the 1st, 2nd & 3rd grades respectively of whom 6, 5 and 2 were declared successful in it. The result of the Fourth Standard General Examination was not however so good; only 6 out of 15 being declared successful. From the Madanpura School four were sent up of whom only one passed.

5. Annual Inspection and Transference Examinations : The Annual Examinations of the Parel Middle and Primary and Madanpura Schools were held immediately before the Divali holidays in October. The results of the Examinations were quite satisfactory. The annual inspection of the same schools was conducted by Mr. S. R. Vanavle, Dy. Educational Inspector, Bombay, in August and that of the Chembur Kachrapatty and Babula Tank Schools in January 1913. The reports of none of these are yet to hand and we are not therefore able to quote the Inspectors' remarks on their working.

6. Drill is taught compulsorily to all the boys of the English side of the Parel School and a specially qualified teacher is engaged for that purpose. Music is taught to boys and girls who have an aptitude for it. The School meets in all for six hours daily with a break for recess for 45 minutes. Of the 5 hours and 15 minutes left for instruction 31/2 hours are devoted to the usual School subjects and the rest to music, manual training &c. This has had a markedly wholesome effect on the general tone of the School. It has succeeded in relieving the monotony of the routine School time-table. The present time-table is designed with a view not only to train the intellect of the pupils but to train their hand and eye as well. The boys are seen to cheerfully look forward to the manual training hour which naturally takes away from their study of the other subjects, the dullness which was so very noticeable before the present time-table came into force. The Drawing, Drill and Music hours are not, of course, less responsible for this desirable result.

7. Religious and Moral Instruction of the boys was as much carefully looked after during the year under report as in the preceding ones. The School opened daily with the singing of a hymn from the Prarthana Sangit and a prayer, followed by a short discourse on some moral subject. The Sunday classes at Madanpura and Parel were held regularly during the school terms. They were conducted by Messrs. Shinde, Korgaonkar, Velankar, Keskar, Sayyad, Govande, Sohoni & Sister Janabai. A prize distribution of these, on the results of an examination was held in the course of the Utsav celebrations of the Prarthana Samaj at the end of September when Dr. Sir Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar presided and Sir Narayan Chandavarkar gave away the prizes. The work of imparting moral instruction to the children of the Babula Tank School was done by Mr. Muljibhai Javeri to whom the Committee is much obliged for it.

8. Drawbacks and Difficulties : There are, however, many very serious drawbacks with which all schools for the depressed and backward classes have to contend and our schools are no exceptions. Irregularity of attendance is the outstanding evil and in this, we much regret to observe, we have been unable to secure the co-operation of the parents and guardians of our pupils. Any trifle is a sufficient excuse for the parents to detain their children at home. The day succeeding a holiday is another holiday sanctioned by the parents without any permission of the school authorities. The arrival and departure of a person belonging to the village adjoining that of the boy's father, holidays for mills and workshops, are reasons enough to keep a child away from school. Superstition and absurd fears created by still more absurd rumours such as the sacrifice of children at the foot of a bridge (now being built near our school) to make it stable obstruct the boy's way to school. There are, however, some very serious and painful causes of little children staying at home. On some holidays boys are not infrequently given strong drinks and the next day the poor fellows find themselves too depressed to attend school. The ignorant fears of the parents may be seen from the fact that they consider daily bathing on the part of children as a source of fever and illness and because we make it a point to give baths to their little ones when they are unclean, they are told not to go to school at all! The teacher's attempt to enforce in the mildest and kindest possible manner, regularity of attendance, neatness in dress, personal cleanliness is considered to be tyranny and is vehemently resented ! These are some of the obstacles with which we have to contend in the conduct of our schools ! Still more disheartening is the spectacle of very promising boys being removed from school altogether and put to work. A child on whom we have spent our best attention and energy and about whom we have learnt to entertain hopes, ceases all of a sudden from attending, and on enquiry we are clamly informed that he has been sent to the mill, in spite of its tender age. The cause which contributes most, however, to the unhinging of our School machinery is the constant springing up of upstart schools. With the full knowledge that no primary schools in Bombay can be opened and decently maintained on the income derived from fees from the pupils and that a successfully managed school must have an unfailing supply of funds behind it, schools are started in rooms on the brink of open gutters, places in which many people will not willingly stable their horses; and boys attending established schools in which discipline forms the ruling feature are tempted away to join them ! All our schools which we do our utmost to make exemplary, have more or less suffered from the above grievances. We hope some remedy will, erelong, be found to put an end to some of the difficulties noted above.

II. The Technical School
(Opened on 1st April 1912)

1. From the very opening of the Parel School of the Mission, arrangements were made to impart instruction in bookbinding and sewing to the boys and girls attending the School. This was done because the promoters were from the beginning convinced that no education of the depressed classes who had always earned their livelihood by following one craft or another, could be completed without due provision for some kind of technical education for them. Want of funds adequate to meet the demand was, however, the only stumbling block in the way of their carrying out their object. An application was made to the Trustees of the property of the late Mr. N. M. Wadia for an annual grant to enable the Mission to impart technical instruction to their pupils on a decent scale, and Sir Jamshetji Jijibhai and Mr. H. A. Wadia were invited to see the Missions School at Parel with a view to convince them that if a grant were given it would be most usefully spent. Both these gentlemen very kindly visited the School and minutely examined the whole working of the institution. They were satisfied that the Mission deserved help; and in March the Trustees decided to give a generous monthly grant of Rs. 500 for the opening of a Technical School and Workshop and towards the boarding and lodging expenses of 20 depressed class boys learning in it. The Technical School and Workshop were accordingly opened on 1st April 1912.

2. Scope of Instruction : The main idea of the instruction imparted in the Technical School is to give a training to the hand and eye of the pupils with a view to facilitate their easily taking to some profession to enable them to earn their living as tailors, carpenters, book-binders &c. It is also intended to make practical workmen of them in these professions. These professions are specially selected for them as it is hoped that by following them much of the social stigma that attaches to the depressed classes will be removed. For the present, arrangements have been made to teach carpentry, sewing, book-binding and sign-board painting. The curriculum of studies in the carpentry class which is under the supervision of an able and experienced maistry  is the same as followed in Government Technical Schools. The tailoring class is conducted by a professional tailor and out-fitter and the painting class by a qualified painter who has passed the 3rd grade Examination in Drawing. The book-binding class is in charge of a former pupil of our School who was taught the art while under instruction in our A. V. Department.

3. Attendance and Progress : There were in all 31 whole day scholars in the four departments of the school. 15 of them were in the carpentry class, 11 in the sewing, 2 in the book-binding and 3 in the painting department. Manual instruction in one department or other is compulsory for all the boys and girls attending our Middle School. The total number of pupils under instruction in the Technical School at the end of the year was 60. The progress of the students, considering the fact that they are strangers to the arts they are learning, must be considered satisfactory. The work-shop attached to the School gives ample opportunities to the boys to observe actual work and practically to do it so far as they can, themselves. The boys prepared, last year, many handy articles such as paper-cutters, rulers, children's cricket bats, walking sticks &c some of which were sent to the Seva Sadan Fancy Bazaar at Poona in last September where they were much appreciated. The effect of the hand training which the boys get here is observable in their work in the Day School also. A visitor who himself is a Carpentry Master gave his opinion on the progress of our Technical School as satisfactory. An application has been made to the Educational Department for registration of the Technical School which it is hoped will be shortly registered for grant-in-aid.

III. The Students' Hostel
(Opened on the 1st of February 1909)

1. The Students' Hostel which on 31st December 1912 had 40 students on roll had a very small beginning and slow growth. Ever since the opening of the first School of the Mission in1906 it was found urgently necessary to have the students under the direct supervision of a teacher, to enable him to keep an eye over their conduct and studies. With this object in view promising boys of the Depressed Classes who attended the Day School and who lived in the vicinity of the School were asked with the consent of their parents to study and lodge on the School premises and were allowed to go home only for their meals. This showed, as anticipated, very good results and it was therefore decided to start a regular boarding hostel for local as well as mofussil students. The hostel was formally opened in February 1909. The depressed class parents who sent their children to it were poor and arrangements had therefore to be made to board and lodge all of them free of charge. The number of students in the hostel in 1909 was 6 in 1910, it reached the figure of 21; in 1911 it was almost stationary, but in 1912 it became 40. This has been at present decided to be the limit of admissions to the Hostel.

2. The following is a classification of the students according to their castes and the provinces from which they come. Three of them are girls and 37 boys.

(a) classification accordin to Castes:-

1. Mahars        35

2. Mangs           2

3. Dhed            1

4. Chambhar     1

5. Touchable     1

               Total 40

Classification according to provinces :—

Berars and Central Provinces   18

Kolhapur (State)                     7

Nasik (District)                       3

Satara (District)                      2

Malwa (District)                      2

Bombay Island                       2

Sholapur (District)                  2

Ratnagiri (District)                  1

Poona (District)                      1

Jamkhindi                              1

Gujarath                                1

                      Total             40

 

All the boarders except the very young ones attend the Technical School. 15 learn carpentry, 11 sewing, 2 book-binding and 3 sign-board painting.

3. The progress of the boarders during the year under report was quite good. All of them passed the Transference Examinations and were promoted to the higher standards. The results of the General Examinations for which they were sent up were as under

Examination No. Set Up No. Successful
1. Vernacular IV 4 2
2. Drawing 1st Grade 6 4
3. Drawing 2nd Grade 3 3

The girl Godubai J. Aidale who was sent up for the Middle School Competitive Scholarships Examination was successful and has been awarded a scholarship of Rs. 3 per month, tenable for three years.

4. The daily time-table of the Hostel is given below. We make it a point to go through it with rigid discipline. All the work in the Hostel is done by the pupils themselves, as we make it a practical rule to employ no servants whatever. Sweeping the rooms and the premises, washing and cleaning clothes and pots, lighting lamps, and even cooking are very cheerfully done by them. The food is invariably vegetarian and simple. The boys have their turns for the different works to be done and they are so arranged as to give work to five of them only, once in every week. In the course of the whole year there was not a single case of breach of discipline of the Hostel rules. Even the big boys who come newly to us and who are ignorant of the very word "discipline" fall in at once with the ways of the Hostel and the whole work of the institution goes on from day to day, as it were in the most automatic manner. Last year the Boarders' amenability to discipline was admirable, and the behaviour of every one of them praiseworthy. The following is the daily time-table. The boys rise at 5.30 in the morning and retire at 10 at night.

Time :—
05.30 a.m. to 06.15 -    Morning ablutions
06.15    to 06.30      -    Bhajan and prayer
06.30 to 08.00        -    Bathing, washing and study
08.00 to 08.30        -    Breakfast
08.30 to 10.30        -    Attendance at Technical School
11.00 to 01.05        -    Attendance at Day School
01.15 to 02.30        -    Lunch at rest
02.30 to 05.30        -    Attendance at Workshop
05.30 to 06.30        -    Outdoor physical exercise
06.30 to 08.00        -    Study
08.00 to 08.45        -    Supper
08.45 to 10.00 p.m.    -    Study

The above time-table is so framed as to give ample time to the boys for study, work, play and rest, due attention being paid to their mental and physical culture. On Saturday nights from 9 to 10 the boys hold their Debating Club meetings, all affairs in connection with which are managed by themselves with the advice of the Superintendent of the Hostel.

5. The Rice Fund : Special efforts were made this year to develop the Rice Fund. The number of families who keep rice bags and put daily into them a handful of rice has greatly increased and stands now at 80. Our rice collection is carried on in Bandra, Dadar, Grant Road, Chikhalwadi and Girgaon, with the help of kind friends who prefer to be anonymous. During the year 1912, we collected 34 pharas of rice, 2 1/2 pharas of wheat and 1 phara and 3 payalis of pulse. Our best thanks are due to all the bag-holders through whose kindness we were saved the expense of buying a large quantity of grain for the Hostel.

6. Gifts to the Hostel : The students of the Hostel were kindly remembered by many donors. Dr. D. R. Desai, L.M. & S. treated those who suffered from illness free of charge. Sometimes we had to requisition his help in the dead of the night. But night or day, he did not hesitate to come and gave his services most ungrudgingly. Dr. Desai is also conducting a First Aid Class for the benefit of the grown up boys of the Hostel. Mr. B. R. Madgaonkar gave us a large quantity of cloth himself and induced his friends to do the same. Old but very useful clothes were received from Mrs. Gulabbai Vaidya, Mrs. Manjulabai Lad, Miss Trivenibai Bhatodikar, Mr. L. B. Nayak, Mr. G. V. Panandikar, and others. Books were received from Mr. V. B. Velankar, while sweets, fruit, crackers &c. were received from Messrs. A. V. Thakkar, V. R. Shinde, K. R. Bhosle, Rao, B. A. R. Talcherkar, and Mr. G. B. Trivedi.

7. It is now nearly four years since the Hostel was opened. The results of its work so far have been enough to convince us that of the variety of efforts, the Mission is making to better the condition of the depressed classes none is fraught with such great possibilities for good as the opening and efficiently conducting of hostels for students. To improve the children of the depressed classes it is first of all necessary to all practical purposes to segregate them from their unhealthy surroundings both moral and physical, and to put them into an institution in which they can breathe a pure, healthy, and religious atmosphere. They require no more instruction  but training  and that can be had in a properly conducted hostel only. Herein will lie their own salvation and the regeneration of the people to whom they belong. We are glad to see that the depressed classes themselves have begun to understand the blessings of a hostel-life for their children as is shown by the fact that we have had to refuse a number of applications for admission into the Hostel during the past year for want of accommodation. How much the habits, manners and even the bearing of the boarders are changed after they have stayed in the Hostel for some time has more to be seen than told. A gentleman who lived with the Superintendent for a few months and saw the boys daily at their work and play, remarked that, had he not been aware of the fact that the Hostel was meant for the boys of the depressed classes he would never have been able to make out that they belonged to those classes. 'Most of the boarders,' he said, had become Brahmans.' We extend a cordial welcome to those who wish to see this improvement for themselves to pay a surprise visit to the Hostel. We firmly trust their trouble will not go unrewarded.

IV. The Soma-Wanshiya Mitra Samaj, Byculla
(Established on 24th March 1907)

1. This Samaj was opened in the Dagdi Chawl, Morland Road, Byculla on 24th March, 1907. At the beginning it used to hold its meetings in the above Chawl, but has for the last three years been meeting in a rented room in the Improvement Trust Chawl C, Agripada.

2. The objects of the Samaj are to bring about religious reform among the depressed classes and to spread education among them.

3. The Samaj which is solely conducted by members of the Depressed Classes themselves held its weekly divine services throughout the year on Sunday forenoons. At these services discourses were delivered bearing on the subject of religious and social reform, Temperance &c.

4. There were held six general meetings of the Samaj under the presidency of Mr. Kondiba Ramji and Mr. V. S. Varadkar when the questions regarding education of the depressed classes were discussed.

5. Owing to the persistent agitation carried on by this Samaj the practice of drinking and performing tamasha so much indulged in by the members of the D. Classes on the fifth day after the birth of a child among them, was discontinued. Instead, 25 families performed Bhajan and Katha on that day and had recourse to the cup that cheers but not inebriates.

6. The subscription charged to each member per month is annas four. The number of paying members at the end of 1912 was 25. (see the table No. 1)

Table No. 1

V. Parel Bhajan Samaj
(Established on 19th January 1909)

1. The object of the Samaj is to bring about religious reform among the depressed classes on the lines of the Theistic Church of India.

2. The congregation consists of the grown-up boarders belonging to the Students' Hostel and the Prarthana Samaj Night School at Parel, and other young men of the depressed classes in the neighbourhood. The average attendance at the weekly services was 40.

3. Weekly divine services were conducted every week, in the hall of the Parel School. They were first held on Tuesday nights but now they are held on Sunday mornings. Last year the services were conducted by Messrs. V. R. Shinde, V. S. Sohoni, B. B. Keskar, G. B. Sirkar, D. G. Vaidya, Babu A. C. Muzumdar, Dr. V. A. Sukhtankar and Mr. A. M. Sayyad.

4. Last year the Samaj organised a party of singers and preachers who went about at the Shimga time delivering speeches against the obscenities of the Holi!

5. The possibilities of improving the Bhajan Samaj and making it a useful and strong institution are very great. We hope that those who are keenly interested in the spread of pure and liberal religion among the depressed classes will make it a point to help this Samaj when their assistance is sought by it.

VI. The Nirashrit Sewa Sadan

As stated in the 2nd Annual Report of this Society for the year 1908, Page 17, This institution was originally started under this name on the 22nd May 1907 with the object of (1) training young men for work among the Depressed Classes by actually putting them to such work and (2) of sheltering helpless children of these classes. (The latter object was added later on.)

As I have observed at the outset all the Missionaries except one are now scattered among the different centres of the Society outside Bombay and the work of this particular institution might be said to have ceased from the year under report. Two of the five present missionaries of this Society were trained in this institution and the 2nd object is now served by the several Boarding Houses already existing or now being started by the Society at different centres, viz. Bombay, Poona, Hubli, Mangalore and Yeotmal.

The accounts of this institution were independently kept and published in the report of the year 1910. The balance as shown in that year's account, Rs. 701-14-11, together with the interest on it was paid to two members of this Sadan during the years 1911 and 1912 and the account is now closed.

Before concluding I beg to heartily thank all the Subscribers, Donors and Volunteers for their kind sympathy and services rendered to this Branch of the D.C.M. Society of India.
V. S. SOHONI
(Secretary, D. C. M. Bombay Branch)
Elphinstone Road, Parel, Bombay.
21st Feb. 1913.

D.C.M. society Of India (See the Table No. 1)

Table No. 1

DONATIONS (See the Table No. 2)

Table No. 2

V. R. Shinde : Thakkar Bapa

(From 'The Indian Social Reformer', April 8, 1944)*

The Late Mr. V. R. Shinde died recently after several years ol continued paralytic attack. During the last fifteen years he was not in active life, being bed-ridden and so out of public gaze.

He was one of my four gurus and, next to my father. I took my lessons of public welfare work at his feet. Though younger in age to me, he was far advanced in the study of national beneficert activities. It is well-known that he was the father of the depressed classes welfare movement on Bombay-side, while he was the first man and a pioneer in such an activity, except in the Punjab and U.P. in recent times. I took my first lessons of practical work from him. After a lapse of 40 years, I have not forgotten the vivid description that he gave me of a Buddhist Bhikshu of Irish origin, and of his inimitable humility and piety, standing at his door, in the Bombay Prarthana Samaj building one early morning. When I was in Bombay Municipal service and in charge of the Kuchra unloading works, in about the year 1906 and 1907, with two or three hundred Mahars and Mangs doing the filthiest work, perhaps most insanitary than carrying night-soil by Bhangis, he gave me lessons in how to conduct schools for their children and to obtain as many privileges as I could for these humble low class workmen of the city of Bombay.

When a technical drafting error that was detected in the Bombay Municipal Act of 1888 prevented the Corporation of Bombay from sanctioning the grant for a school I had started for its employees, he managed to get me the funds through some friendly Corporation member.

Years rolled by, and Sir N. G. Chandavarkar led a group of workers on the path of service to the Harijans, with Shinde as the working Secretary.

Neither the Government of India nor the subordinate Governments of the Provinces of those days were awakened to their sense of duty to the humblest and the suppressed. The Labour Department of Madras which has led the vanguard in this kind of public service and provided an object-lesson to other provincial Governments, was not even then born. Thank God, it has flourished and spends about Rs. 10 to 12 lacs a year, which is not a very creditable percentage, even less than one per cent.

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* From The Indian Social Reformer, April 8, 1944.' Thakkar Bapa, Eightieth Birthday Commemoration Volume, Compiled and Edited by T. N. Jagadisan and Shyamlal, Madras, 1949, P. 346-47.

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However, other Governments have not come up even to that stage yet, inspite of greatly added resources.

Temperamental differences divided the President and the Secretary of the Depressed Classes Mission after a long period, but Shinde continued to do his missionary task at four different places, Bombay, Poona, Dharwar and Nagpur, mostly in the Marathi area. I very well remember how he coaxed me to speak at a small meeting in a small state of Kathiawar in the year 1908 for the first time in my life. He encouraged me by complimenting me on the Gujarati speech I had then made. In the latter twenties of this century Shinde was out of action. Thereafter came the famous Gandhiji's movement and the whirlwind Harijan tour in 1933 and 1934 for 270 days continuously for the service of Harijans in the whole country and for the removal of untouchability from Hindu society. But that is another story.

He was an ill-paid missionary, but carrying on his mission all the same with unabated enthusiasm. He lived to the end in voluntary poverty with a small family. His widowed sister was also trained in this missionary work and she has survived him. He could ill-educate his sons, one of whom managed to maintain him in his declining years. The younger generation knows very little of Shinde. He was a man of far-sight with a lofty mission to do the long denied justice to 5 crores of our nation, about one-sixth of Indian humanity. In his time there was hardly any group of workers in the country for the social service activities, more so for our neglected and suppressed section. May his life be an inspiration to the new generation of field workers in the social service! May his soul rest in peace and be one with the Almighty who had endowed him with a noble mission and only ‘but one spark' for the regeneration of not an inconsiderable part of our nation!

अस्पृश्यता घालविण्याचा बिनतोड उपाय*

ता. ८ फेब्रुवारी हा दिवस रा. विठ्ठलराव रामजी शिंदे ह्यांच्या परलोकवासी पूज्य मातोश्रींच्या श्राध्दाचा असतो.  दरवर्षी ह्या दिवशी ते कीर्तन करीत असतात.  पण ह्या वर्षी त्यांनी तो बेत रहित करून ब्राह्मोपासना चालविली.  सायंकाळी साडेसात वाजता भजनसमाजाचे मंदिर साफसूफ करून बिछायती पसरून आत रोषणाई करण्यात आली होती.  दिवसाच्या व रात्रीच्या शाळेतील मुलामुलींनी व त्यांच्या पालकांनी मंदिर गच्च भरले होते.  प्रथम भगवद्गीतेतील 'अर्जुनविषाद' हा भाग वाचून दाखवून ''अशोच्यानन्वशोचत्स्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे'' ह्या वाक्यावर निरूपण करण्यात आले.  ''जाऊ देवाचिया गावा ।  देव देईल विसावा''  हा अभंग उपदेशास घेण्यास आला होता.  मृताविषयी उल्लेख करताना परलोकवासी यमुनाबाईंच्या कोवळया अंतःकरणाचे कित्येक दाखले सांगण्यात आले.  घरी अतिथी आल्यास तो कोणत्याही जातीचा असो, त्याचे ताट ह्या माउलीने आपल्या हातानेच धुवावे हे व्रत त्यांनी शेवटपर्यंत चालविले.  पंचवीस वर्षांपूर्वी जमखंडीस असता एक दहा वर्षांची महाराची अनाथ मुलगी रा. विठ्ठलराव ह्यांनी घरी आणून ठेवली.  तिचेही ताट यमुनाबाई स्वतःच धूत असत.  हा प्रकार शेजाऱ्यापाजाऱ्यांस उघड माहीत असूनही बाईंच्या सात्त्विपणाच्या जोरावर सर्वच खपून जात असे.  आपल्या कुटुंबातील अशा घडलेल्या कित्येक गोष्टी रा. विठ्ठलराव उघडपणे सांगत असूनही त्यांच्या जातीकडून त्यांचा छळ किंवा अनादर होत असलेला फारसा दिसत नाही.  अस्पृश्यतानिवारणासंबंधी जातवार सभेमध्ये पुण्याच्या लोकांशी वाटघाट करीत बसण्यात वेळ घालविण्यापेक्षा आम्हा गरीब लोकांमध्ये अशा प्रकारे उपासना चालविणे, आपला आणि वडिलांचा अनुभव सांगणे हाच मार्ग रा. शिंदे ह्यांनी अधिक चालू ठेवावा असे आम्हांस वाटू लागले आहे.  अस्पृश्य लोकांशी उघडपणे शिवाशिव करतात; ह्या गोष्टीपेक्षा प्रार्थनासमाजाच्या पध्दतीप्रमाणे डोळे मिटून प्रार्थना करण्यात ख्रिस्ती लोकांचे अनुकरण करतात, ह्याच गोष्टीसाठी कित्येक लोक पूर्वी नाके मुरडीत असत.  पण तिकडे पूर्ण दुर्लक्ष करून उपासनेचा साधा आणि धोपट मार्ग आमच्या भजनमंदिरात दर आठवडयास नित्याच्या वेळी आणि नामकरण, वाढदिवस, श्राध्दादी नैमित्तिक प्रसंगी आज कित्येक वर्षे बिनबोभाट चालू आहे.  त्याचा परिणाम असा झाला आहे की, आजूबाजूचे लोक अशा प्रसंगी ह्या उपासनांस श्रध्देने जमतात.  समाजाच्या तत्त्वांचा स्वीकार करून ते जरी सभासद होण्यास तयार नसले, तरी निश्चितपणे भजन करून प्रार्थना करणे, ह्यासाठी स्त्रीपुरुष, लहानथोर सर्व जातींच्या लोकांनी एका बिछायतीवर बसणे आणि शेवटी खिरापत, प्रसाद एकत्र घेणे, ह्या गोष्टी आता लोकांच्या अंगवळणी पडू लागल्या आहेत.  ह्यावरून जी गोष्ट वादविवादाने साध्य होत नाही; ती भजनाने सहज होते हे लक्षात घेण्यासारखे आहे.

आपला नम्र
बाबू धोंडी वायदंडे
अहल्याश्रम, भोकरवाडी
पुणे ता. ११-२-१९२३

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*सुबोधपत्रिका, १८ फेब्रुवारी १९२३
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