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,
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
(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
|2. Deonar (Chembur) Primary Marathi School
|3. Parel Anglo-Vernacular Middle School
||1 st June
|4. Madanpura Primary Marathi School
|5. Babula Tank Gujarathi Primary School
||1 st June
|6. The Parel Technical School and Workshop
|7. The Raja Ram Mohan Roy Gujarathi Day School
|8. The Raja Ram Mohan Roy Gujarathi Night School
|9. The Students' Hostel
|10. The Bhajan Samaj, Byculla
|11. The Bhajan Samaj, Parel
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
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
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
||No. Set Up
|1. Vernacular IV
|2. Drawing 1st Grade
|3. Drawing 2nd Grade
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.
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