In the month of May 1912 Mr. A. V. Thakkar and Mr. V. R. Shinde visited Matheran and held a meeting of the sympathisers of the D. C. Mission at the Laxmi Hindu Hotel on the hill and collected about Rs. 107. The sum was handed over to Major Murisson, president of the Matheran Municipality, to be paid in small scholarships to the Depressed Classes students attending the Municipal Vernacular School at Matheran. The amounts of Scholarships paid and acknowledged by the Head Master of the above School are as follow :—
Scholarships at Matheran - (To see the Table No. 1)
Table No. 1
REPORT OF THE OLCOTT FREE SCHOOL
(for the year 1912)
This institution was started by Mr. N. G. Paranjpe B.Sc., F.T.S. in April 1907. It met under the shade of a “Nim" trees till October 1909 when the Committee secured a free plot of land from His Highness the Thakore Saheb of Rajkot and erected a building at a cost of Rs. 500.
There was a Night School for elder Dheds in addition to a Day School for younger ones. The Night School had however to be closed for want of pupils.
On 31-12-12 there were 11 pupils on the register, 10 boys and 1 girl. The average attendance is 11. There are 4 Standards in Gujarati under one teacher who is a Vania (Vanik) by caste.
The School opens with the singing of a prayer and religious and moral instruction suited to the needs of the boys is also provided.
The boys are fed occasionally and the local Theosophical Lodge provides a regular feast once a year in memory of Colonel Olcott the champion of the Panchams in the Madras Presidency.
The majority of Dheds here are weavers and an industrial class for weaving is a pressing necessity.
5th January 1913.
H. N. RAU
Exhaustive list of Donors and Subscribers (See the Table no. 1)
Statement of Cash Account (See the Table no. 1)
Table No. 1
THE DEPRESSED CLASSES NIGHT SCHOOL
Origin - This school owes its origin and present existence to the practical and earnest patriotism of Rao Bahadur R. G. Mundle, B.A., LL.B., the leading pleader of Yeotmal. The condition of the Depressed Classes in Berar is in many respects less odious than what is usually the case in other provinces. Nevertheless the brand of untouchableness is there with all the moral ruin it means to them and to the nation. Mr. Mundle started this school 15 years ago single-handed and has maintained it at his own expense, to this day.
Attendance - Out of the 52 boys on the rolls at present only 5 belong to castes which are not untouchable; all the rest are Mahars, Mangs, Pradhans or from the other sections of the untouchable population. Most of these boys work during the day and supplement the poor income of their parents. The classes are held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The attendance roll is generally satisfactory. The average attendance, out of 52, was 40 last month.
|No. of boys in the school
Standards - There are only two standards in the School. Marathi 1st and Marathi 2nd; 36 being in the 1st and 16 being in the 2nd at present; of course some boys from the 1st standard may be taken as belonging to the infant class. The object of the institution being the removal of illiteracy, further progress in the curriculum was not deemed to be quite necessary. Besides, means had to be looked to in the absence of popular support. There is only one teacher who takes both the classes.
Other particulars - The school is located in the house of a Mahar who has let it to Mr. Mundle for the purposes of the school at Rs. 4 a month. The expenses of lighting come to about a rupee a month and the teacher who has passed the Marathi 5th standard in the Government School, himself a Mahar, gets Rs. 9 every month as his pay. Amrita Anant, i.e. the teacher is earnest about his duties and has done much to popularise the institution among his people. The owner of the house, Diwaloo Kanhoo himself has passed through this school and engaged himself in petty contracts which have much improved his material condition. Slates, books &c. are provided to the boys, by Mr. Mundle.
The Remarks of visitors - The Assistant Inspector of Education says “Very good work is being done : reflects great credit on the manager and Head Master.”
Mr. M. V. Joshi, the famous advocate of Amraoti, says “The uplifting of the Depressed Classes is a necessity of the times and sympathy with this movements from members of the higher classes can best be shown by an institution like this.
Messrs. Dravid and Kaikini of the Servants of India Society speak highly of the work.
Mr. Shinde of the Depressed Classes Mission Says “This is one of the best attended schools... was started years ago before any Depressed Classes Mission was thought of in this country.”
Honorary workers - The late Mrs. Harnabai Landge was one of the most enthusiastic workers for the institution which has suffered a serious loss in her untimely death three years ago. Miss Dwarkabai Bhalchandra does a great deal for the school by frequent visits and inspection; so do Mrs. Sitabai Landge, Mrs. Mundle, Mrs. Krishnabai Mainkar and Mr. Kaikini.
Prospects - If the public extend a more cordial support to this school, it is possible that one more teacher, so badly needed, may be engaged and the number of classes increased.
L. V. KAIKINI