A hundred years ago September 19, 1918 | Archives

From the Archives: Inter-Caste Marriages Bill

At a solemn conclave convened on Friday [September 13] of the Mahamandal Council and other prominent orthodox leaders of Benares including pundit authorities presided over by the Maharajah Darbhanga, the general President of the Mahamandal, it was decided, first, to inform the supreme Government that the proposed Bill of Mr. Patel to make the so-called marriages between different Hindu castes valid was utterly opposed to the Hindu religion and customs, social system, religious custom, sentiment and traditional, that any such legislation if attempted would cause profound disquiet and the orthodox Hindu community forming the vast majority of the population of the Empire. Second, to issue injunctions to all branches of the Mahamandal throughout India and other orthodox public bodies and leaders also to humbly move Dharmacharyas, Hindu pontiffs, to unitedly and indefatigably exert themselves to prevent the acceptance of the Bill in the Supreme Council. Third, to pray the Supreme Government with all earnestness and humble submission never to depart from the wise policy of non-interference in matters religious and social. With a view to guarding against recurrence of such attempt at revolutionary legislation, to approach the Government to grant the Orthodox Hindu community the right to elect their own special reliable representative in Council thus removing the anomaly and unfairness of non-Hindus and non-Orthodox Hindus having a free hand in tampering with the ancient laws, vitally affecting the Hindu religion and Society. And fifth to charge the Head office of the Mahamandal to take the necessary steps at once to give effect to the decisions of a conclave representing the chief Hindu religious and social authority at the religious metropolis of Hindus. It was specially directed to spare no effort to keep out excitement from the agitation and keep it within constitutional bounds.

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