The Kiplings and India: A Collection of Writings from British India, 1870-1900

Rukhmabai's Case (March 26, 1887)

        MR. MALABARI'S PAPER SEEMS, AS FAR AS we can see, to be fighting the case of Rukhmabai single handed. None the less it avers that "the most notable of our Hindu contemporaries are on the right track, and so are the most notable of Hindu representatives." If this be so, why have they not spoken? Why is the Indian Spectator the only voice on the native side, as yet, that has said openly the case is a shame and a disgrace to Hindu society; and why does the Indian Spectator write:— "Instead of the open-mindedness, the judicial weighing of evidence and the righteous conclusion arrived at on the merits of the question itself, that one should expect from so intelligent a constituency as the public Press, we have here the usual talk about 'revolutions' in society, the 'sanctity' attaching to 'time-honoured customs' and the religious 'necessity of letting these alone?'"  The fact is, there has been no help offered by the "most notable contemporaries;" and unless we are much mistaken, there will be none forthcoming. The Indian Spectator says, further:— "The High Court of Bombay professes to administer Hindu law, and yet it imports into this Hindu law a point of the English Church law, which has nothing to do with the marriage-law of the Hindus." Therefore, the blame rests on the Government. If the theory of the Hindu marriage is that it is a sacrament, binding, on the woman only, in life, through death and eternity, the Bombay High Court's decision is in accordance with the spirit of Hindu law; and, if the notable contemporaries "are to be believed,'' with the views of Hindu Society. The Indian Spectator must wait a little before abusing the Government. Let it turn to the "contemporaries."

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