THE D. C. M. SOCIETY OF INDIA
Table 1 (For see the PDF Click here)
The Depressed Classes Mission Society of India
Rules of Constitution
1. Name — The Society shall be called “The Depressed Classes Mission Society of India.”
2. Object — The object of the Society shall be to maintain a Mission which shall seek to elevate the social as well as the spiritual condition of the Depressed Classes viz., the Mahars, Chambhars, Pariahs, Namsudras, Dheds and all other classes treated as untouchable in India, by
(1) Promoting education,
(2) Providing work,
(3) Remedying their social disabilities, and
(4) Preaching to them principles of Liberal Religion, personal character and good citizenship.
3. Religious Work — The religious work of the Society will be based on the recognition of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Beyond this, the Society, as such, shall not take any dogmatic or sectarian position.
4. Missionaries — Any person who at the invitation of the Executive Committee agrees to devote himself to the work of the Mission and is accepted as such by the General Body shall be deemed a Missionary of the Society.
5. Board of Spiritual and Social Ministry — To minister to the spiritual and social needs of the Depressed Classes in India there shall be a separate Board consisting of all Missionaries and three other members to be annually elected thereto by the Council from among themselves. This board shall have a charge of all the spiritual and social institutions and organisations of the Mission, such as the Congregations, Sunday Schools, Young Peoples’ Clubs etc., and shall be subject to the rules and the control of the Executive Committee of the Society.
6. Membership of the Society — The General Body of the Society shall consist of:-(a) Patrons :—(1) That is, persons who make donations of five thousand rupees or more to the funds of the Society. (2) Persons of distinction accepting the Patronship at the special invitation of the Executive Committee of the Society.
(b) Life Members :—(1) Those who pay a donation of Rs. 1000 or more, or an annual subscription of Rs. 100 for 12 years. (2) Those who have rendered not less than five years' continuous service; is Missionaries of the Society.
(c) Members: — Those paying an annual subscription of not less than Rs. 25.
(d) All Missionaries of the Society ex-officio.
7. Any person who wishes to become a member of the Society shall be proposed and seconded by two members. The application shall be brought before the Executive Committee as its next monthly meeting. If it is accepted the applicant shall be admitted as a member on payment of his subscription as laid down in rule 6. Provided that the Executive Committee may in special cases exempt a member from payment of the whole or part of the fees.
8. Officers — The Society shall have a President, a Vice-President, a General Secretary, an Assistant General Secretary and a T reasurer.
9. The General Body — The General Body of the Society shall consist of the officers mentioned in rule No. 8 and all the members of the Society.
10. The Executive Committee — The executive authority shall be vested in the Executive Committee consisting of the officers mentioned in rule no. 8, and seven other members of the Society to be elected annually by the General Body of members in the month of February. The Executive Committee so constituted shall have power to initiate measures and to do everything necessary or desirable to further the aims of the Society, subject to the control of the General Body.
11. Meetings — The General Body of the Society shall meet at least once every year in February to adopt the annual report and the balance sheet, and pass the annual budget, or when any twelve members of the Society sign a requisition to the President of General Body who shall thereupon convene a special meeting of the Geneal Body.12. The Executive Committee shall meet at least once every month.
13. Incorporated Branches — The General Body may start new branches or sanction the conversion of existing affiliated bodies into branches in order to further the objects of the Society with due regard to the financial resources of the Society.
14. The incorporated branches shall send to the Executive Committee for its approval a Budget of its estimated expenditure for the next succeeding three months; for any financial obligations incurred in excess of such estimates without the express sanction previously obtained of the Executive Committee of the Society, the Society shall not be responsible. The incorporated branches shall also send a quarterly statement of accounts and also a report of its work.
15. Affiliated Bodies — Subject to the approval of the General Body the Executive Committee may affiliate existing bodies doing work similar to that of the Society, provided these bodies agree:-
(1) To work in a way not inconsistent with the aims and ideals of this Society.
(2) To submit a duly adopted annual report of their work and accounts so as to reach the General Secretary before the 1st of February, every year.
Subject to these conditions of affiliation the affiliated Bodies shall be independent in the conduct of their affairs, and the Society shall not be responsible for any financial obligations incurred or to be incurred by them.
16. The Board of Trustees — There shall be a Board of three Trustees elected by the General Body to take charge of all the immovable property of the Society and such of the funds as may be from time to time assigned to the Board by the Executive Committee as Permanent Endowments. The Executive Committee shall not hold in its possession more than two thousand rupees beyond the estimated amount of the annual expenses. All sums in excess of the above limit shall be assigned to and held by the Trustees.
17. Quorum — Twelve members shall constitute the Quorum of the General Body and five of the Executive Committee : provided that if a meeting of the General Body has to be adjourned for want of a Quorum six shall be deemed to be the quorum at such adjourned meeting.
18. No alteration shall be made in the objects and constitution of the Society except with the consent of five-sixths of the existing members of the Society.
Deputation to the Governor
An important deputation of the Depressed Classes Mission Society waited upon H. E. Sir George Clarke the Governor of Bombay at Ganeshkhind on the afternoon of the 25th of August 1911. An address was presented to His Excellency setting forth the work and needs of the Mission and particularly inviting His Excellency to become patron and asking for special government aid in various directions, chiefly with regard to educational facilities and funds.
The members forming the deputation were Mrs. R. P. Paranjpye, lady missionary in Poona, Dr. Harold Mann, president of the Poona Branch, Mr. H. A. Wadia, barrister, member of the Funds Committee, Mr. D. K. Godbole, B. A., Prof. D. K. Karve, B. A., and Mr. V. R. Shinde, B. A., General Secretary. The deputation was received in the Reception Room.
Mrs. Paranjpye, in opening the proceedings said: — You’re Excellency, I must first of all heartily thank your Excellency for so graciously receiving this Deputation on behalf of the Mission, which as Chairman of the Ladies’ Committee of the Mission in Bombay, Mrs. Stanley Reed most truly observed the other day, “is working for the amelioration of the most degraded people and under conditions the least attractive." I must express regret on behalf of the Deputation at the absence of Lady Muiri Mackenzie (owing to her departure) who was to be its most appropriate head, and I cannot help bringing to mind one of our most cherished memories, i.e., the late Miss Clarke — equally dear to high and low in this province. But in this world hope, although for a time held back, always predominates over despair and depression, and we are all, the so-called higher classes and the depressed classes, most cheerfully looking forward to the auspicious advent of a lady who will fill up the spaces left vacant by the above ladies and illumine the darkening horizon by occupying the social throne by the side of your Excellency. With these preliminary words, I beg to submit the representation trusting that your Excellency will bestow on it your best thought and sympathy.
Mr. V. R. Shinde, the General Secretary of the Depressed Classes Mission Society, then observed that the laying of the foundations of this society is practically and largely due to the sympathy, directly and indirectly, shown by your Excellency; and as for the first and most important point for which your Excellency’s favourable consideration this Deputation humbly asks — viz., your becoming its patron, I trust with all the hope in me, it will, if granted, most effectively open the doors yet closed of sympathy from the higher and wealthy quarters. As to our work it was never our aspiration to provide instruction on a wide scale to children of the lower classes. It is problems which even the Government with its mighty resources yet finds not very easy to solve. Ours is only to try to find out and train men for work among these depressed classes. In this connection I allude to the small boardinghouse managed by the Society at Parel, in Bombay, and the scholarship scheme contemplated. The boarding house and scheme are capable of a most efficient concentration, as well as the widest expansion of the work of the Society. One of the most pleasing sights I have ever seen is that of the boys and girls of the boarding school at Parel, hitherto discarded as the vilest creatures, but now eating their food, playing their games, reading their lessons, and saying their prayers under the parental care of higher class missionaries of the Society. The scholarship scheme, if accomplished, will bring most promising boys and girls from the masses to this central boarding house. I therefore feel sure that the help rendered to this part of our institution, and towards this scheme, will not only be as highly appreciated as it is urgently needed by the Society, but will be associated with the name of one of its greatest supporters, the late Miss Violet Clarke.
The address of the Deputation
The so-called depressed classes, the Deputation pointed out, who form the outcast population of India, have lived and are living in a condition of ignorance and depression which would hardly be believed by any one who had not intimately studied their conditions. Until quite recently, the deputation said, the feeling of religious impurity which divided them from the main mass of the Hindu population was so intense that it was almost impossible to arouse any interest in their condition, or to give them an opportunity to utilize the powers, intellectual or otherwise, which they possess. Not only have they been a Helot class but a Helot class religiously impure, cut off from the contact and interest of the remainder of the people, and they are not a small body of people, though they exist in larger numbers in Bombay and Madras, than in other parts of India. The magnitude of any question regarding them may be seen from the following numbers: — Total population of India, 294,361,053; depressed classes, 53,206,632, percentage 18. Total population of Bombay Presidency 25,468,209; depressed classes, 3,479,084; percentage, 12.
Up till the present the only opportunity of rising out of this Helot condition has been furnished by three agencies. In the first place Christian Missions have taken a noble part in refusing to acknowledge
any distinctions of caste or anything in the nature of a pariah class, and have done much to educate such of them as have come under their influence. In the second, Mahomedanism has also received and welcomed into full membership, any member of any class without distinction of caste, and thirdly the British Government has established the principles of equal treatment of all classes without distinction, which has given an opportunity under which a small but constantly increasing number of the depressed classes has attained to positions of credit and even of distinction. In recent years this attitude on the part of the Government has been somewhat modified, more especially in connection with the admission of members of the depressed classes to the army and the police.
A Hindu movement, one of whose basal principles is the nonrecognition of caste, is that of the Brahmo and Prarthana Samajes and hence, as a necessary conclusion, these have always and nobly, upheld the cause of the depressed classes. But still they have not concentrated attention on this particular problem of social reform. Out of those who have come under their influence, however a number of men have been specially impressed with the intense urgency of the problem of the elevation of the depressed classes, and in 1906 the Depressed Classes Mission Society was founded in Bombay. The objects of this society, as set forth in its constitution, are as follows:—
The object of the Society shall be to maintain a Mission, which shall seek to elevate the social as well as the spiritual condition of the depressed classes, viz., the Mahars, Chambhars, Pariahs, Namsudras, Dheds 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 liberal 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. It is open for any one to become a member of the Society and also to be elected on its committee. The society working under these conditions has been able to obtain a very large amount of public sympathy and support, and a number of the leading members of the various Indian communities have taken a prominent Part in its organisation. The Government of Bombay have been from the beginning very sympathetic and several of its prominent officials, including Collectors and Judges, have undertaken offices in its branches.
Work of The Society
The organisation and work of the society are fully described in the reports etc., accompanying the present representation, but they may be Summarised as follows: The headquarters of the society are in Bombay and it has three institutions as follows: (1) Parel Middle School — Provision is made to teach six Marathi and four English standards. There are seven teachers and 175 pupils on the roll. There are special book binding and sewing classes; (2) Deonar Primary School — Two teachers and forty-seven pupils. Four Marathi standards. These supplies a want long felt by the municipal colony of nearly 500 Mahars near Chembur; (3) Madanpura Primary School —Four teachers and 150 pupils. Five Marathi standards; (4) Kamathipura Gujarathi School — This is newly started for Bhangis and is practically the first of its kind in Bombay, except those conducted by Christian missionaries. It is exclusively supported by the kind help of a friend. Even in this city great difficulty felt in securing teachers for this school, there being great aversion for the Bhangis, specially among the Gujaratis. There is one teacher and fifty-one pupils on the roll; (5) Sunday schools — One is at Parel and the other at Madanpura. Selections from Ramayan, Theistic hymns from the Vedas and the Maratha Saints such as Tukaram and Ramdas and moral stories are taught to the boys and girls every Sunday morning; (6) Bhajan, Samajes — One is at Parel and the other at Madanpura where grown up people meet every Sunday for Theistic worship, which they conduct themselves; (7) Co-operative Leather Works aided by the Society under the management of Mr. Sashibhusan Ruth, an expert in tanning, and another German expert in the improved method of boot making. A new enterprise is made to provide work on the principle of co-operative production. For the present a small shop factory is started in Kalbadevi Road with a capital of Rs. 2,000; (8) Nirashrit Sadan — Two young men and three Ladies have solely devoted themselves to the work of the Mission. The ladies visit the poor in their homes, nurse the sick, rescue the helpless and organise sewing circles and women’s meeting. The men manage the mission centres. About twenty promising boys of the Parel School are lodged and 17 of them are also boarded under the direct care of missionaries who reside in the school house. These missionaries are supported by a friend independently of the finance of the society.
Efforts throughout India
Outside Bombay similar work has been organised in a number of centres. Thus for instance in Poona (which is the only branch absolutely under the control of the Central Society in Bombay), there is one day school, one night school, a Sunday school, a Bhajan Samaj, a library and a debating club. The number of pupils on the roll of the school is about 200. Beyond this there are centres affiliated to the Society in Manmad, Igatpuri, Indore, Akola, Amraoti, Dapoli, Mangalore, Madras and Mahableshwar. In summary the Society has under it, eleven centres,
fifteen secular schools with over one thousand pupils, six Sunday schools, five Bhajan Samajes or Theistic congregations, four industrial institutes and seven missionaries. But when we remember the five crores, the submerged sixth of India how humiliatingly small appears the work.
Unfortunately owing in the one case to the departure from the Presidency and in the other to illness, Lady Muir-Mackenzie and Principal paranjpye are unable to be actually present to support the representation, but the special points on which the deputation would ask favourable consideration are the following :—
Request to the Governor
(1) That His Excellency would be graciously pleased to become a Patron of the Society.
(2) That the Government of Bombay would be pleased to give an annual grant-in-aid to the parent society — the amount of total expenditure for the year 1909 was,
Rs. 7,357-11-51/2 and that for the months ending June 30th 1910, Rs. 2,837-0-6.
(3) That the Government of Bombay would be pleased to contribute one-third to the Depressed Classes Scholarship Fund, which the Society intends to institute. The Society has already set apart Rs. 5,000 from its funds for this purpose and will award scholarships to promising students attending its schools. If this fund be sufficiently increased further scholarships will be awarded from its proceeds to deserving pupils attending the secondary schools recognised by the Government in the six districts of the Central Division of the Bombay Presidency, as an effective means to facilitate the free attendance of these pupils in such schools.
(4) That His Excellency would be pleased to permit this fund to be called the Miss Violet Clarke Memorial Scholarships Fund.
(5) That the Government of Bombay would be pleased to issue instructions to the Educational Department to take special measures to facilitate the attendance of the Depressed Classes pupils in secondary schools of the Government and to draw a more detailed report of the progress of the education of these classes for the information of all that are interested in the problem.
(6) That the Government of Bombay would be pleased to lay before the municipalities the desirability of putting forth renewed efforts to start new schools for these classes, and to see that the old schools are properly attended.
Sir George Clarke’s Reply
Field of Operations Immense
The Governor spoke as follows in reply: — Ladies and Gentlemen I am glad to welcome you here to-day and to impress upon you the deep interest I take in your movement for the elevation of the Depressed Classes. If I am unable at this stage to promise you all that you ask for, I am quite sure that good will comes of our meeting. I have looked through the annual report with much interest and I find in it a record of useful work accomplished and also hope for the future. I am inclined to demur to the statement that the Mission has not received “any help whatever from the Government or any favour from the official world." such a statement is not quite correct and accuracy is of the first importance in all that is published by a body such as yours. In the first place Government is actively helping your cause in many ways. We deeply feel our responsibility towards the depressed classes — depressed by ancient customs unknown in other countries — and both our revenue and our educational officers do much to ameliorate their position. In the second place I am glad to remember that a substantial direct addition to your funds resulted from efforts which were strongly supported by the “official world.”
The field of your operations is immense. You have against you forces of long standing which render difficult alike your efforts and those of Government. The cause which we have met to promote is no less than the conferring of the elementary rights of citizenship upon our fellow human beings who are banned by no fault of theirs. Until that cause conquers there can be nothing worthy to be called an Indian nation. Many missionary bodies are labouring strenuously in this cause, and I have not the least doubt that the right will ultimately prevail; but it is necessary, in India especially, to exercise infinite patience, and above all to be most careful not to create anatagonisms which may stimulate reaction.
I turn to the specific requests which you have laid before me. While I sympathise fully with your objects, I do not think it possible for me to be patron of your Society at this stage, I regard a patron as somewhat in the position of a Director of a commercial undertaking with responsibilities, which in such a case as this I should not be able to discharge unless I were able to watch over your proceedings for which I have no time. I trust, as long as I remain in India, to be able to give you assistance from time to time; but more than this I cannot undertake.
You ask that Government should give you an annual grant-in-aid; but before this can be considered I suggest that you should forward a statement through the Director of Public Instruction defining the objects of your expenditure whether, for educational or other purposes. I need not remind you that the Municipal Corporation of Bombay is responsible for primary education in the city and you should look first to the Schools Committee for aid in this respect and let Government know what aid the Corporation, which is most anxious to develope primary schools, is able to provide. In the districts, the case is different and I can promise you that Government will give sympathetic consideration to an appeal for help for educational purposes as we do in the case of other bodies which do good work among the backward classes. I may remind you that it might not be proper for Government to give aid from public funds for some of the objects of your mission estimable as these objects may be.
Promise of Help
In regard to the question of scholarships, the grant-in-aid Code does not contemplate Government assistance to private efforts in this direction. In every district in the Presidency we give six scholarships for three years, two of which are reserved for the backward classes and in addition three High School scholarships are provided for four years, one of which is given to these classes. You will see, therefore, that we are already doing something in the direction in which you rightly wish to move. Now I do not desire to take a stand on the letter of the Code, and if you will send particulars of your scholarship fund, the rules you propose, and the names of the Trustees in whom it is vested we will consider your claims for help. You will I am sure agree that Government must be satisfied as to the conditions under which scholarships will be granted before being committed to expenditure. It is most important that there should be a supply of teachers for the depressed classes, and this in time may be obtained by the help of well bestowed scholarships. In this connection, I may say that I think your position would be strengthened if you register yourselves as an association and thus regularise your proceedings. My daughter was specially interested in the welfare of the depressed classes and I warmly appreciate and approve your kind thought of associating the scholarship fund with her name. I am quite sure it is what would have given her great pleasure if she had been spared.
Your request that Government should “issue instructions to the Educational Department to take special measures to facilitate the attendance of the depressed classes pupils" at the Government schools, raises more difficult questions. I must refer you to the recent Government letter to the Thana Branch of the Mission from which it will be seen that efforts are made to promote the attendance of these unhappy children. I do not think that more can be done to remove existinobstacles which Government deplore as you do. We are faced by stringent caste rules which operate to keep these classes in a state of perpetual depression, and it would be contrary to wise policy and most unlikely to further the progress we desire if we were to seek to override those rules. To bring about the social changes which are necessary to give to the depressed classes their rights as men and brothers must be the work of individuals and of Indians especially, not of Government. A very important part of the activity of your Society lies in this direction. If you can collect a band of earnest missionaries in this great cause, you will, in time, though perhaps a long time, remove the ban from the depressed classes and open to them the increasing number of primary schools in the presidency on terms of common humanity. At the same time if members of your Society will personally undertake the teaching of children of the depressed classes when opportunities arise, much good would result. Government cannot in all cases maintain separate schools for the children of the depressed classes, but such schools are provided already where the number ol such children is sufficiently large, and Government are considering whether further assistance with the view of promoting the establishment of special schools for low-caste children can be given. The last report shows that 18,349 pupils of these classes were under instruction, and there had been an addition of 1,200 since the previous year. These figures, though small, are not without encouragement. The annual report of the Director of Public Instruction contains about a page of information in regard to these questions. If you will state what further details you consider desirable an attempt will be made to supply them. I think that in some municipalities special provision is made for the education of the depressed classes; but your wish that more should be done will not be lost sight of.
And now, I hope that you will go away with a sense of encouargement. As your Society develops and its organization becomes more complete, I have no doubt, that Government will be able to assist you; but I attach special importance to the impression which you may be able to make upon Indian opinion which will certainly, in years to come, be willing to accord rights to the depressed classes. Education is a valuable means of imparting selfrespect and of enlarging the horizon of thought; but I hope you will not confine your efforts to literary education alone. The depressed classes already render most useful services to India; but the supply of handicraftsmen is inadequate, and it is important that they should acquire a sense of the dignity of all hand labour, and not be induced to regard clerical work as the ideal. I cordially wish success to your efforts to raise classes which claim our warmest sympathy and whose present depressed condition retards the progress of India.
No. 1577 of 1910
Bombay Castle, 26th August 1910.
L. ROBERTSON, Esq., I.C.S.,
(Secretary to Government)
THE SECRETARY, DEPRESSED CLASSES MISSION, THANA.
1. I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 22nd December 1909, in which you make certain suggestions with the view of ameliorating the condition of the depressed classes.
2. In reply I am to say that it is a standing order of Government that schools maintained from Public Funds should be open to all classes without distinction of caste or creed and that all low caste pupils should be admitted free. Where the population of depressed classes is sufficiently large, special schools are maintained for them. These schools are placed in charge of such teachers as are likely by their caste and temperament to mix freely with, and create a taste for education in the depressed classes. Great difficulty is, however, experienced in securing teachers for such schools, and every endeavour is made to encourage promising low caste boys by scholarships and prizes to continue their study in order to qualify themselves as teachers. In places where the number of the low caste children is too small to justify the establishment of separate school houses for them, they are admitted to the ordinary school in accordance with the standing order mentioned above, but owing to caste prejudices they have to sit separate from other pupils outside, or in the Verandah of the school-building, and in such circumstances, the master is unable to give the low caste pupils the attention they require, even if he were willing to do so. This treatment must discourage the attendance of children of the depressed classes even although the payment of school fees is not demanded either in ordinary schools or in special schools maintained for them. No order of Government can alter this state of things which is due to caste prejudices and susceptibilities Officers of Government do all in their power to induce low caste children to attend schools, and in many instances they succeed in bringing a number of them to school, but discouraged by masters and villagers alike, the attendance in many cases soon ceases.
3. With reference to suggestion in paragraph 5 of your letter that fit low caste persons should be encouraged to take to Government service, and that a few peonships in each district and department should be reserved for them, I am to state that orders already exist for the due admixture of caste in Government service, and the Governor-in-Council does not consider it necessary to make pronouncement such as you desire.
4. As regards the suggestions in paragraph 6 that instructions should be issued to all Government servants to take an interest in the working of the Local Branches of Depressed Classes Mission, I am to state that the Governor-in-Council while fully sympathising with the objects of the Mission, does not consider that there is any need to issue any special instructions. Government officers, more especially European officers — are already alive to the necessity of raising the condition of depressed classes. The visitors books of Primary Schools throughout the Presidency testify abundantly to the interest which district officers take in the educational welfare of the low castes. Their attendance is generally a subject of special inquiry and comment. But in too many cases the influence of Government officers fails to make headway against the deadweight and traditional indifference. Government is considering whether special assistance may not be given with the view of promoting the establishment of special schools for Mahars and other low-castes.
5. In view of the difficulty of finding teachers for low caste pupils, I am to suggest that Members of the Mission might turn their attention to the practical side of the question and themselves set an example to others by devoting some part of their leisure to the good work of teaching a few classes among the untouchables.
6. I am also to suggest that, there is a wide field open to the activities of the Members of your Mission in endeavouring to change the traditional view of the untouchables taken by your fellow countrymen of the higher castes. It is not to be expected that a class which is habitually regarded with indifference and contempt by its neighbours will acquire the self-respect so necessary to progress.
7. I am to add that the Governor-in-Council trusts that in its educational efforts your Mission will not confine itself to purely literary work. In addition to the ordinary handicrafts in which a deficient supply of skilled workmen is a constant cause of complaint, there are other avocations, such as domestic service and sick nursing, for which the lower castes are peculiarly fitted.
In addition therefore to a purely literary training the Governor-in- Council trusts that you will endeavour to implant in your adherents a sense of the dignity of labour and the habits of probity, discipline and obedience which are essential to well ordered progress.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant,
(Sd.) L. ROBERTSON
(Secretary to Government)
SUNTOJI RAMJI LAD
(Secretary and Treasurer)
No. 2584 of 1910
Educational Department, Bombay Castle,
20th December 1910.
L. ROBERTSON, ESQ., I. C. S.,
(Secretary to Government)
THE SECRETARY, DEPRESSED CLASSES MISSION, THANA.
With reference to the latter part of paragraph 4 of my letter No. 1577 dated the 26th August 1910, I am directed to state for the information of your Mission that Government have instructed the District Local Boards to utilize a part of the new grants made to them in the current year for opening additional primary schools in providing facilities for the education of low caste children as far as possible.
2. In the Northern Division two low caste schools were opened last year, and it is expected that five more will be opened this year from the new grants made to the boards. In the Central Division six low caste schools and ten low caste classes were opened last year, and about seventeen more will be opened this year. In the Southern Division ten such schools and three classes were opened
year and tweleve are proposed to be opened this year. In the last year the total number of pupils belonging to the depressed classes increased from 18,349 to 22,062.
3. Having regard to the fact that the chief difficulty felt in connection with these schools is the provision of suitable teachers, Government are disposed to think that these figures represent creditable progress in this direction.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
(Sd.) L. ROBERTSON
(Secretary to Government)
SUNTOJI RAMJI LAD
(Secretary and Treasurer)
The 4th Anniversary of the D.C.M.
The celebrations of the fourth Anniversary of the D.C.M. began in accordance with the programme fixed by the Executive Committee, on Thursday the 16th of March 1911, the Death anniversary of St. Tukaram. A spacious pendal was erected opposite to the four Improvement Trust Chawls A, B, C, D at the Morland Road, Madanpura. Mr. K.A. Kelusker delivered a lecture on Tukaram, at which Mr. L. V. Kaikini of the Servants of India Society presided. The next evening, 17th inst. at 9 p.m. Mr. V. R. Shinde conducted divine service and preached a sermon on the hymn of Tukaram नाम मंत्र आहे सोपा। अविश्राम जाळी पापा।। On Saturday morning at 8.30 Mr. Shinde with a few boarders of the Parel School conducted Bhajan at the residence of Mr. Kondaji Ramji, President of the Somawanshiya Samaj. In the evening at 7 p.m. Mr. G. K. Devdhar, M. A., of the Servants of India Society delivered a lecture on St. Eknath in connection with the death anniversary of that saint and the Hon. Mr.S.D. Garud of Dhulia presided. At 10 p.m. the same evening Mrs. Baijabai of Saswad gave her first Kirtan. Mrs. Baijabai is the daughter of the well-known Kirtankar the late Mr. Dhondiba of the Chokhamela community (one of the depressed classes usually going about performing Kirtans i.e. musical services among the masses of the Maharashtra). This young and gifted lady who had already established her name in the districts easily drew by her sweet melodies thousands of men, women and children of the Depressed population residing in the surrounding chawls, who had till now remained unmoved by the invitations of the Mission with all its advertisements, notices and placards.
Sunday the 19th inst. was the anniversary of the Somawanshiya Mitra Samaj. Mr. Kondaji Ramji conducted a Service in the Pendal at 10 a.m. In the afternoon at 6 p.m. a crowded public meeting was held under the presidency of Sir N. G. Chandavarkar. Mr. F. T. Brooks and Mr. J. J. Vimadalal of the Theosophical Society addressed the meeting in English and Gujarati respectively and Mr. Shinde in Marathi. Mr. Kondaji Ramji explained briefly the movement of raising funds for a building of their Samaj. Sir Narayan then feelingly made a few observations of advice and encouragement in Marathi. The whole proceedings were quite appreciated by all the classes that had assembled and the meeting was altogether a great success. At 10 P. M. Mrs. Baijabai gave her second Kirtan which was listened to with rapt attention by more than 3,000 people. On Monday the 20th inst., was
celebrated the 1st anniversary of the Mahila Samaj i.e. Women's Meeting, under the presidency of Lady Laxmibai Chandavarkar. The platform was packed up with a number of ladies from the higher classes among whom were
Mrs. Jamnabai Sakkai, Mrs. M. R. Jayakar, Miss Kirtikar,
Mrs. Bowen, Mrs. and Miss Yande, Mrs. Thackur, Mrs. L. Ranaday. Sisters Janabai Shinde and Kalyani Sayad read reports of the work of the Nirashrit Sadan done respectively at Byculla and Parel. Mrs. Sakkai and Mrs. Yande then addressed the Meetings. Mrs. S. Vaidya and Miss T. Kelkar then gave some songs which were followed by short addresses by Mrs. Sakkai and Mrs. Yande in Gujarathi and Marathi respectively and by a short Kirtan by Mrs. Baijabai. The president’s speech concluded the proceedings.
On Tuesday the 21st inst. the pendal was packed up with guests when their Excellencies Sir George and Lady Clarke arrived a few minutes before 5-30 P. M. (S. T.). They were received at the gate by the Hon. Sir N. G. Chandavarkar and other members of the Executive Committee and escorted to the dais amid loud cheers. The proceedings began by a hymn of prayer and a song of welcome by the children of the Parel School.
Sir Narayen Chandavarkar, in a brief speech, welcomed their Excellencies. In feeling terms he alluded to the severe loss sustained by the Society by the sad and untimely death of Miss Clarke, whose help and sympathy with the Society were deeply appreciated. It was the greatest misfortune of the people of this Presidency to have lost their sincerest friend, who had their welfare at heart. She came among them as an angel and encouraged them in the advancement of the cause of this mission. They had learnt much from the example and life of His Excellency, who had in every manner tried to help them and elevate their lives. They knew that the sympathy and counsel which he so freely gave them emanated from his heart. When His Excellency retired from this country they would lose a true and sincere friend whose acts would redound not only to his credit but to the credit of Englishmen who were doing their best to uplift the depressed classes in this country.
The children then gave a dialogue and a recitation, the comical little farce of the School Inspection was particularly cheered by the audience. Mr. Shinde, the Secretary, then read the report, after which Her Excellency Lady Clarke gave away the prizes.
PROSPECT OF REAL NATIONHOOD
His Excellency the Governor in addressing the assembly said Ladies and Gentlemen, — of the many and ever increasing movements which are stirring the minds of the people of India, none can be more important than that represented by the Depressed Classes Mission Society. There are some which might with advantage be abandoned it their activities could be turned in the direction in which this Society is striving to advance and it may well be that their objects would be more rapidly attained if they devoted themselves to the cause of the Depressed Classes. Does not that cause go to the very root of the social evils of India? What prospect of the raising of real nationhood can exist until those evils have been removed? It is unfortunately true that there are caste distinctions in Western countries; but no one can follow the progress of the last half century without being impressed by the fact that the feeling of brotherhood is steadily growing and that the sense of duties to and of responsibilities for the poor and the needy is visibily broadening and deepening. In India the conditions differ from those in all other countries because we have here nearly 60 millions of outcaste people — people not merely poor or unfortunate, but regarded and treated as beyond the pale by the castes above them. I will not attempt to analyse the causes which have led to this deplorable result, and have in the process of years, produced a physical repugnance to these classes and a belief that personal contamination follows from association with them. To a great extent the wrongs of the depressed classes arise from accretions upon ancient and purer faiths. The gospel of Buddha is clear like that of Christ. "Let him that has recognized the truth,” said the great Indian Reformer, “cultivate good-will without measure toward the whole world, above, below, around, unstinted, unmixed with any feeling of making distinctions or of showing preferences.” “Let us love one another; for love is of God" was the teaching of Christ.
Those words embody the great principle which the Depressed Classes Mission must strenuously seek to inculcate. Its object should be not only to elevate the depressed classes, but to change the attitude of mind which has caused them to be depressed, and thus to win back for them their inheritance as fellow human beings.
In one respect there has been advance in recent times. As Swami Vivekananda stated in a lecture given at Madras, “The days of exclusive privileges and exclusive claims are gone, gone for ever from the soil of India, and it is one of the great blessings of the British Rule." So much British rule could do for the depressed classes; but it cannot remove inherited dislikes or antagonisms nor can it secure sympathy, or abolish the social disabilities which tyrannous customs have imposed upon helpless people. Government, as I said at Poona in August last, “deeply feel their responsibilities towards the depressed classes and both our Revenue and our Educational Officers do much to ameliorate theirposition." My reply to your deputation was officially circulated with a request that the attention of Municipalities might be drawn to your plea for the provision of additional facilities for the education of these classes within Municipal limits. My dear daughter was deeply interested in these questions, and during her short life in India, as you know; she did all that she could to help your cause.
No one can follow the movement of thought in India without seeing that the cause of the Depressed classes is advancing. The existence of this Society and the endeavours which it is making are plain proofs of progress. It is an Indian Society working for Indians, and we may feel sure that it is helping indirectly to mould opinion and thus to produce effects which cannot be calculated in figures, or embodied in reports.
A DOUBLE MISSION
As I have said it has a double mission to accomplish — to educate public opinion and to arouse sympathy for the wrongs of the depressed classes on the one hand, and to promote the education of these classes on the other hand. My great predecessor Mountstuart Elphinstone felt some reluctance in undertaking the education of these classes, not that he thought it undesirable or unnecessary, but because as he wrote in a remarkable minute dated March 1824 : ‘They are not only the most despised, but among the least numerous of the great divisions of Society, and it is to be feared that if our system of education first took root among them, it would never spread further, and that we might find ourselves at the head of a new class superior to the rest in useful knowledge, but hated and despised by the castes to whom their new attainments would always induce us to prefer them.” That was the view of a great statesman-Governor just 87 years ago in the circumstances with which he was confronted. If, he argued, we educate the depressed classes, we shall bring education itself into disrepute. How great a change has passed over India since those days. Then it was thought that the people must be constantly led into the paths of Western learning, the greatest care being taken lest their susceptibilities should be aroused. Now we are faced by a loud demand for the extension of education at any cost and with far too little regard for its quality and suitability to the needs of the people. Now also we see a growing desire, of which this Society is a striking proof, that the depressed classes should have their full share.
MEMORIAL TO MISS CLARKE
The fourth annual report shows steady progress. The Society now controls five schools, four in Bombay and one in Poona, and work is going on at the affiliated centres which will bear fruit in due season. I cannot here enter into the details of the report which should be carefully read by all who are interested in your great cause; but I must no the establishment of a permanent scholarship fund as a memorial to my daughter. That is a step which would have glanddened her heart, it she had been spared, and I am sure that it will provide help and encouragement to the neglected children in whose welfare she was deeply interested. It is clear that if more funds were available you could greatly extend this branch of your activity; but I think that you are very wise in directing your “principal attempts patiently towards educating the public opinion of the higher classes as well as to work up the depressed classes to a sense of their own duties in this respect.” As you know the Government schools are open to all alike without distinction but the children of the depressed classes are too often prevented by that tyranny of custom to which I have referred from reaping the benefits of those schools. Wherever these children are relegated to the verandah, or sit in a place apart and neglected by the teachers, they cannot be expected to progress. Nor can their parents desire to send them to places where they are treated with injustice and disdain. Government maintains special schools in some cases for these poor children; but we cannot duplicate primary education all over the Presidency. Nor is this desirable; because it does not touch the root evil and it helps to perpetuate the cruel customs which must be broken down if India is to advance towards nationhood. Your report tells me that already public meetings can be held at which “the untouchables may freely mix with the higher classes and take their seats openly and on relations of equality and mutual respect.” Nothing can be more encouraging than this, and your Society is to be warmly congratulated on the new possibilities which such a change holds out. The more meetings of this character cart be held, the sooner will be the attainment of the great object which we have at heart. Friendly contact of this kind will dispel prejudices and inspire a sense of brotherhood. The higher castes have nothing to lose by kindliness to the untouchables and must themselves benefit from their recognition of the claims of our common humanity. The untouchables must gain in self-respect which will powerfully assist in promoting their advancement.
Returning for a moment to the progress of education, I note in the report of the Director of Public Instruction that the total number of pupils from the depressed classes in our schools increased by 3,713 in the last year under review, that there are 21 Mahar teachers and one Chambhar teacher in the Poona district, that the Pandharpur School is under a trained Mahar, that in Bombay a Chambhar boy passed the Vernacular final examination for the first time in the history of the city, and that the Inspector was struck by the advance made by the local and Municipal Boards in providing for the needs of these classes. I hope these facts will seem encouraging to you, as they do to me. I trust that you will work on with the certainty that results are already forthcoming and will rapidly multiply as the years pass. India has need of the loving service — time, thought and pains given to others — which is far more common in other countries than here. It is such service that you require and that would be more valuable to you than increased of funds. As I pointed out to the students of the Fergusson College it is open to them to assist in your missionary work, and in Bombay also there are many people who could spare time, to teach evening classes, or at least to help your cause by inculcating, and practising kindliness to the depressed stratum of the Hindu community.
MESSAGE OF SYMPATHY
I have now only to say that my wife and I have come here to try and to give help and encouragement to the important movement which you represent. Lady Clarke has already given away many prizes since she came to India, but none with greater pleasure than those which she has distributed this evening. We were both deeply touched by the beautiful message of sympathy and good wishes sent to us from the public meeting of women of the depressed classes of Bombay presided over by Mrs. Yashodabai Thakur on the occasion of our marriage. That message etablished a link between us and them which cannot be broken, and while we are privileged to live among you, we shall always take a living interest in the work of a Society which holds out the promise of an India in which there shall be no untouchable classes and universal sympathy based on the recognitions of the brotherhood of humanity and shall everywhere prevail. (Applause.)
A vote of thanks to Their Excellencies was accorded on the motion of Prof. Bhandarkar in English, seconded by
Mr. Kondaji Ramji and supported by Mrs. Ranade, in Marathi. The proceedings then terminated after a song of thanks from the Children and three enthusiastic cheers from the audience to Their Excellencies.
At 10 P.M., Mrs. Baijabai gave her last and most stirring Kirtan. By this time nearly every man and woman of the Mahar and Chambhar caste in Bombay had heard about her powers of Speech and song. Before 10 o’clock nearly 5,000 people from the docks and factories of whom no less than 3,000 must have been women with babes dozing in their arms had scraped themselves some how into the Pendal. Thousands had then to be sent away for want of space which naturally caused a great commotion. But Mrs. Baijabai, who was the woman of the day, commanded the vast and rowdy audience and kept it spell bound for three hours till 1 A. M. and thus concluded this years celebrations. The best thanks of the Mission are therefore rightfully due to Mrs. Baijabai who so effectively sent home the message of the Mission to the Masses for whom it was so long working. What is most encouraging, Mrs. Baijabai herself discovered her own place in the noble work of the Mission and readily promised to visit Bombay every timeof the Mission anniversary and do her part in ministering to her poor lellow-beings.