(3) B. V. Jadhav, Esq.
Necessity of giving communal Representations to the Marathas, to all the other backward communities and to the depressed Classes.
7661. ...(1) In Northern India the Brahmin holds only the religious supremacy and the other communities there are not backward educationally and politically. In the South the Brahmins have come to usurp supremacy in secular matters also and in Government and other services and in the legal, medical, engineering and teaching professions they enjoy preponderating influence. Overtly and covertly attempts are made to throw obstacles in the advancement of the other communities and the lamentably slow progress in literacy among the masses is mostly due to this adverse influence. The interests of the Brahmins are thus in conflict with those of the non-Brahmin communities. The Brahmins are not on this account fit to represent the interests of others. The experience of elections to the Municipalities, Local Boards, and to the Legislative Councils, has shown that in spite of the preponderating numerical strength of the non-Brahmins they have no fair chance of success of being elected if the present day arrangements are allowed to continue. When the Councils get direct control over the transferred departments and exercise a more powerful voice in the administration in general the non-Brahmins are threatened with the rule of a Brahmin Oligarchy which is likely to hamper their progress. Special representation is therefore necessary to safeguard their interests.
7662. ...(2) Nomination by Government will not meet the contingency as that will not afford political education to these communities.
7663. ...(3) The Mahomedans and the Sikhs are given special electorates and on the same principle the non-Brahmin Communities and the depressed classes should be similarly treated.
7664. ...(4) The points in support of the claims of the Maharattas in the Bombay Presidency are :—
(i) Like the Sikh they are a fighting race and have been serving in the British Armies for more than a hundred years. In the recent War they have fought with distinction in the three Continents.
(ii) Although numbering nearly five millions in the Bombay Presidency, they are very backward and require special help.
(iii) They form the largest number of cultivating and land-owning classes.
(iv) They include a very large number of persons having vested interest in the village administration, such as Inamdars, Patils, Deshmukhs, Khots, Sanadis, etc. The Marathas therefore deserve the same treatment as is given to the Mahomedans and the Sikhs.
(v) The case of other non-Brahman communities and religious minorities stands on the same footing and deserves special consideration.
(vi) The condition of the depressed classes is so very deplorable that any member of that community, however gifted, has no chance of being elected in the general elections, however low the franchise may be fixed. These communities also should be favourably treated.
(vii) I claim therefore special electorates for -
(a) The Marathas.
(b) The religious minorities, such as the Jains and the Lingayats.
(c) Other non-Brahmin communities.
(d) The depressed classes.
(viii) It might be urged that it is very difficult to form electorates for all these and to organise and hold elections separately. I cannot deny the difficulty but I submit it is not an insuperable one. I may, however, make another suggestion which is that the four classes given in paragraph (vii) above should have a fixed number of seats reserved for them. If the general elections do not return the specified number for each class, candidates from the favoured classes sufficient to make up the number of reserved seats should be declared to be duly elected even if they secure fewer votes than their competitors of the advanced communities. The suggestion was adopted by the All India Moderate’s Conference recently held in Bombay and will meet the situation to a great extent.
Mr. B. V. Jadhav, called and examined.
7665. ...(Sir Frank Sly) His statement represented his individual views only. He was a British subject in the service of Kolhapur State.
There were nearly 37 lakhs of Marathi-speaking people in the Bombay Presidency but very few witnesses had been invited from his community. He wished to say that Mr. Koregawkar, the President of the Maratha Aikyecchu Sabha, could not represent the Maratha community as his Association did not restrict membership to Marathas.
7666. ...The “Maratha” were simply referred to as a community in the census, but many Marathas returned themselves as Kunbis and were grouped separately. Even the Bombay Government admitted that they intermarried. His definition of Marathas would include everybody already classified as such in the census and, in addition, the Kunbis of the Bombay Deccan.
7667. ...There should be a separate communal electorate for Marathas; he would not be satisfied with the reservation of seats in plural constituencies because in that case only pro-Brahman Maratha would be returned.
7668. ...Jains and Lingayats should get similar separate representation. “Other non-Brahmins” in his written statement meant those who were neither Brahmins nor Marathas, so that what he proposed was separate communal representation for Marathas, for Jains, for Lingayats for all non-Brahman castes joined together, and for the depressed classes. Where the Marathas were in a minority in a district they should be classed with the non-Brahmans, but where they were in a majority, they should have a separate communal electorate.
7669. ...(Mr. Banerjea) As instances of the adverse influence exercised over their community by Brahmans referred to in his paragraph one, he might mention that free studentships were generally withheld from non-Brahman students by the head masters and other teachers, who were mostly Brahmans, and able non-Brahman students were expelled on the slightest pretext from Government and other high schools, which were almost entirely staffed by Brahmans. Only recently also the claims of non-Brahman schoolmasters were overlooked and many were superseded. He could not at the moment substantiate these statements by concrete cases. There were however a number of institutions managed by Brahmans which had for their object the elevation of the depressed classes. But the depressed classes were different from the non-Brahmans, and the Brahmans were friendly towards them to keep up appearances. The movement was started by a Maratha, Mr. Shinde, and the Brahmans had begun to associate themselves with him though they did not give substantial help.
7670. ...The Marathas could perform religious ceremonies without the aid of the Brahman priests. Five or six cases had gone to the civil courts regarding the right of non-Brahmans to perform religious ceremonies. There were appeals on the subject to European judges from decisions of civil courts presided over by Brahman judges and they upset the decisions. In one case there was an appeal to a Parsi district judge and he decided the case against the Brahmans. In the Bombay Deccan, liberty of conscience was not allowed to the Marathas. There were many ways of coercing the villages. The secret of the influence of the
Brahmans was the ignorance and the religious fears of the lower classes.
7671. ...He would not accept reserved seats for the Marathas as they would be no good : even with special electorates, it would be impossible completely to eliminate outside influence.
7672. ...The recruiting officers of Government knew who the Marathas were, because they would not allow a non-Maratha in a Maratha regiment. It would be no more difficult to define a Maratha than to define a Brahman.
7673. ...(Mr. Sastri) He was a revenue officer of the Kolhapur State and a Maratha by caste. He represented the views of the Maratha Political Conference which was held at Nasik in December last and at which he had presided. The views he propounded were accepted at that conference.
7674. ...The Marathas generally voted not only under the influence of priests but also under the influence of pleaders and Government servants and almost the whole of the Brahman community. Such influence was pernicious. The only influence that should be exercised on the voter should be that of the candidates belonging to the community to which the voter belonged. Of course a Voter would read newspapers and attend political meetings, but such influences could not be avoided.
7675. ...In Poona, where there was a sharp conflict between the Brahmans and non-Brahmans, not a single non-Brahman candidate had been returned to the municipal council, because the Brahmans had various ways of influencing the non-Brahmans. Their methods were open.
7676. ...(Mr. Hailey) Nearly 80 percent of Government servants and of the legal, medical and other professions were under the influence of the Brahmans. This figure had not been checked.
7677. ...(Mr. Crump) In the Deccan, he would not include a Kunbi among the Marathas. They were a lower class of people.
7678. ...He considered that there should have been a greater number of Maratha witnesses called to give evidence before the Committee. He did not know that besides himself, Messrs Kadam, Koregawkar and Shinde had been called to give evidence.
7679. ...If the Government were not prepared to give special electorates for Marathas, he would like to see a separate electorate for all the non-Brahman classes.
7680. ...The Brahmans took up the posts of school-master to maintain their position, although they were miserably paid.
7681. ...He knew that both the Servants of India Society and the Deccan Education Society consisted mostly of Brahmans who devoted themselves to the public service. He had come into contact with several of their members and they had no ulterior motives: but they were an exception. The Depressed Classes Mission was initiated by Mr. Shinde, who described himself as a Brahmo missionary. He was aware that the Prarthana Samaj, almost from the inception of the Mission, took very keen interest in its activities and the President of the Samaj was Sir N. G. Chandavarkar. They had also men like Sir Ramkrishna Bhandarkar on the Samaj. They were Brahmans, and when he said that the Brahmans took up this movement for fear of public opinion, he was not referring to men of that class.
7682. ...(Lord Southborough) If he had to choose between two candidates, one a Maratha and the other a Brahman, he would look to the worth of the candidate and to his usefulness to the whole community. Other Marathas might do the same if they were as independent as himself or in his circumstances. But a man who lived in a village could not go against the wishes of the village accountant and he generally was a Brahman.
7683. ...(Mr. Banerjea) The village accountant was subordinate to the patel and the patel was generally a non-Brahman.
7684. ...(Lord Southborough) When he mentioned the cases in which the decisions of the Brahman judges had been upset by the higher courts, he did not mean to make any imputation against them. They might have given their judgements according to their lights.