The Message and Ministrations of Dewan Bahadur R. Venkata Ratnam, volume 2/Chapter 1
THE ANTI-NAUTCH MOVEMENT.
"There is but one temple in the world, and that temple is the body of man"—Novalis.
"The crucial index of a man's character is, as a rule, his relation to the opposite sex."—W. T. Stead.
"The life of the nation depends on the life of the home, and that of the home depends on the purity of the individual."—Dr. Moorhouse, Bishop of Manchester.
"Not to turn human brutal, but to build
Divine on human, pleasure came from Heaven.
Pleasure first succours virtue; in return
Virtue gives pleasure an eternal reign."
"Her (the dancing-girl's) blandishments are India's ruin. Alas ! Her smile is India's death."—Brahmananda Kesava Chandra Sen.
I.— THE THREE SANCTIONS.
The growth of a community, as a moral organism, is marked by three distinct stages, according as legislation, public opinion or individual conviction is recognised as the supreme sanction for conduct. In an aboriginal state, these three motives to action may remain undifferentiated. But as a community emerges into view as an organised body, with a definite course of existence, it is characterised by that "immobility," as Guizot has it, which naturally results from the Government undertaking to control the entire life of the community. The individual is aware of no duties, and moved by no desires, apart from those demanded or sanctioned by the clan or caste as a self-governing body. A constant reference is tacitly or expressly made to the wishes of the "elders"— the representatives of the conscience and the commands of the community. This is the era of tutelage. It is, however, perceived, sooner or later, by all advancing communities that, long as may be "the arm of law," it cannot reach and adjust the inner workings of society. Man is not merely a subject but also an associate; and his relations with his neighbours are far too numerous and complex to be regulated by any government. The thousand and one occasions which bring man and man together in the daily transactions of life, must necessarily lie beyond the ken of the most watchful, and elude the grasp of the most vigorous, of administrative bodies. Thus society supplements government; and able to employ a closer surveillance and a more effective means of influence, it moulds, as no political administration can, the complete round of existence. Nothing is too commonplace and nothing too personal for its intervention. This is the era of communion. But if man is not a mere machine to be always regulated, neither is he a mere animal to be always herded. The inborn inclination to "individuality" will assert itself, despite the most strenuous efforts to hold it down. The threats of political pain or social ruin will be ignored, at least by a select number; at first a few and gradually several more will demand the birth-right — as an American writer suggests — of each 'soul' to have a 'vote.' A community thus enters upon an almost unlimited prospect of progress and happiness, as its members awaken to a sense of individuality — of self-regarding virtues — of self-reliance and self-denial — of self-reverence and self-consecration — of hope and service; in a word, to the sense that man has to "absolve" himself to himself before he 'conforms' to society or 'curtsies' to Caesar. Conformity is superseded by individuality; convention yields place to conviction. Alike in the daring heroism of mighty crises and in the silent service of routine life, the prime concern is to do what is personally felt to be proper. This is the era of 'single manhood.'
The distinct nature and the relative merit of these three springs of action are clearly perceived when examined with reference to a few concrete instances. Legislation makes the physical security and the material well-being of the nation its special charge; public opinion controls the social relations and enjoins the more patent domestic responsibilities; the sense of individuality seeks to strengthen and refine the secret motive or the innate incitement to spontaneous activity. With such materially different aims, these great agencies for the moral elevation of a society are appropriated to essentially different spheres of influence. To take a few instances from our country : legislalation abolishes sati and enunciates the legal rights of the widow; crude public opinion, however, cripples all attempts to help the re-marriage of women; and the gloom that darkens the path of countless victims to a cruel and senseless custom can be chased away only by the illumined consciences and the enlightened sentiments of individuals. Again, legislation may fix the age of consent or restore conjugal rights; public opinion alone can discourage the silent oppression by a heartless husband; and only the loyal heart moved by none but chaste desires can make wedded life the altar-stair to a regenerated humanity. Legislation may raise the cost of drink and minimise the occasions for temptation; nothing save public opinion can visit the sot with the full discredit which he courts by his slavish habit; whereas a keen sense of inborn majesty is a pre-requisite to the indignation which (with Manu) brands debasing inebriety as one of the five "deadly sins." Legislation may punish immodest soliciting of attention in public; but it needs a strong public opinion to vote indecent song and suggestion out of court; while the chastity that would rather pluck out the offending right eye than tarnish its native purity, is bred only in the soul that delights in the rule of righteousness. Thus legislation judges by the act, public opinion by the behaviour, personal responsibility by the witness within of motive and desire. Legislation compels the unaided helplessness of man; public opinion works upon his 'gregariousness' ; personal responsibility draws out his manliness.
The three stages are not perforce mutually exclusive — in time or in operation. The essential distinction between them lies not in their when but in their whence and whither, and not in the acts they approve of but in the ends they point to. The external aspect and the outward trend may seem to agree; judged by what they appear to be, two lives may look much alike. Yet the laws they obey, the methods they employ and the aims they pursue may be radically different, according as the main spring is the desire to 'follow the king,' to suit the times, or to be loyal to the 'royal' within oneself. Hence the product of legislation is the law-abiding man, of public opinion the well-conducted man, of personal conviction the conscientious man; each good in his own degree — the first as he is kept from harm, the second as he is pliant to the prevailing custom, the third as he honours his conscience as his king. Thus judged, there is a distinct scale of values — a vital difference of moral worth — in the hierarchy of rights and duties, on account of the sanction they appeal to. The activity and the authority of legislation necessarily confine themselves, for the most part, to those rights and duties which constitute what Carlyle terms "inferior criminality." Public opinion addresses itself to the one end of postponing personal taste to the general tendency. Individual responsibility, winding into the inmost springs of motive, aim and method, seeks to evolve what the same sage calls "superior morality." To this sacred class belong those personal virtues and private graces — veracity and honesty, chastity and sobriety, those eternal verities whose possession alone exalts man as the master-piece of creation. They are thus divinely ordained to the place of honour among virtues claiming our homage. Hence the importance and the authority of
II.— THE PLEA FOR SOCIAL PURITY.
Providence reveals its wisdom and manifests its love in the mysterious harmonies pre-arranged between objects seemingly unrelated or opposed. This divine ordering of things is strikingly illustrated in the mysterious "fellow-feeling" created and sustained between the strong and the weak, the vigorous and the tender, the restless and the serene, the longing and the responding. The depths of those profound relations between friend and friend, parent and child, pupil and preceptor, husband and wife, what plummet of intellectual calculations can sound? They are far-reaching as Infinity, holy as Heaven. This fact makes it essential to the very existence of a nation that these sacred weldings of soul to soul should never be suffered to be loosened by lust or tinkered with baseness. Apart from all "local conditions," the intimate interdependence of the sexes is recognised always and every-where. They are meant by an eternal purpose to be each other's "help-mates" in a holy task — faithful co-partners in one "present paradise," joint-trustees of the generations to come. The profound responsibilities of parenthood, the devout self-surrenders of wedlock,the simple trusts of childhood, demand that the inviolable sanctities of marriage shall be kept scrupulously pure. "If man is the head of woman, woman is the heart of man"; and out of the heart are the issues of life. That character is the back-bone of a nation is almost a truism; but character has been compared to a bucket, and impurity to a leak at its bottom. "My strength," says Sir Galahad, "is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure." It argues a noble soul that cannot wrong a woman. A wag chafed Dryden at the utter spiritlessness of one of his heroes who could be alone with a beautiful woman and snatch no pleasure. "Yes," was the prompt and just reply, "you would have done other- wise, but you are no hero!" Gladstone has observed that "conjugal relation includes in itself all other loves;" and the Mahabharata defines the wife as "the friend in solitude, the father in duty, the mother in distress and the refuge in wilderness." Manu demands of him that would be a father — a noble image of the great Creator-to be wholly satisfied with her he has taken unto wife, and guarantees good fortune to the house where the husband is content with the wife and the wife with the husband The Christian teacher exhorts him that would acquire a soul's companion to give up his all for her sake. This comprehensive nature of the conjugal relation necessitates a corresponding rigidity in excluding everything partial or temporary, carnal or half-hearted, in the holy alliance of two hearts — in what has been happily termed "the harvest of a hundred years." In fine, the delights of the home spring from the purity of the conjugal relation, and the strength of a nation depends on the happiness of its homes. He has no country who has no home; and he has no home who does not rejoice in it as the sanctum of chastity and the shrine of love. The plea for social purity is thus
III.— A NATIONAL PROBLEM.
If progressive communities are, according to a high authority, distinguished by their readiness to harmonise legislation with growing public ideals, it is no less true of a healthy society that its declared intentions constantly adjust themselves to what is best— purest and noblest — in individual aspiration and experience. Laws, to be beneficial, should consult the view of the cultured; public opinion, to be honoured, should echo the voice of the oracles within. In the ultimate resort, the human heart-strong because pure, happy because temperate, attractive because self-denying — is the spring of all law or custom approved of man; and the essence of righteousness is in the freedom and the directness of personal conviction. Thus viewed, social purity challenges recognition as one of those prime principles which, throned in the hearts of the "chosen ones," invariably raise the tone of society and elevate the standard of legislation. The position of woman in the home as the feeder of passion or the first preceptress of posterity, as the neglected drudge at the hearth or the unrivalled queen of the heart, either dooms a society to the suicide of self-exhausting vice or blesses it with increasing strength and stability. National vigilance, there-fore, is nowhere else more imperatively required than in demanding thorough honesty, whole-hearted sincerity, perfect gentlemanliness, in that attachment of soul to soul which, when genuine, makes man an apprentice to Heaven, but, when spurious, earns for him the prerogative of the brute. Social purity thus acquires an honoured place in that constellation of sublime virtues without whose guidance the horoscope of a nation's greatness can never be cast. "Believe me," says an authority on this subject, "the maintenance of purity in the relations of the sexes is vital to national greatness and prosperity. For in the relations of husband to wife, parent to child, through long gradations of mutual tenderness and support, each is bound to each, and all with golden chains about the feet of God. Break once these golden links of loving help and service, and all the strong bonds of civilised society will be weakened and loosed."
Nor is our society without several dark features that compel earnest attention in this direction. The land where popular belief enhances the value of paradise with the unfading charms of celestial nymphs and offers their favours as the reward (be it only as a second choice) for the highest of religious rites; the country where the current faith often formulates itself into a most subtle or seductive class of amorous poetry, which piety does not scruple to sing and modesty does not blush to hear; the empire whose armed defenders are provided in "regimental bazaars" with markets covert for the offer of winsome flesh to licensed lust, and whose landed aristocracy often own a vulgar herd of nondescript men and women; the society infected with customs that lend the dignity of a caste to the basest of professions, or work upon the ignorance of devotion to gratify sacredotal sensuality; the community that places no legal limits upon a man's marrying capacity, but is not unwilling to visit with the persecution of law the woman who will not yield her person where her heart is not; the nation that hurries millions through a married life they are not equal to, and thrusts on millions of others a celibacy they dare not honourably set aside — India and the Indian nation cannot, for their very name and existence in the honoured circle of the civilised, afford to omit this question from a comprehensive programme of social reform and progress. In root-principle, it is of the same stock as temperance ; in main argument, it is kindred to the great problems relating to the position and function of women in home and society; in its direct aims, it touches closely the large questions of the right use of religious endowments, the great responsibilities of leaders and the proper training of the young; in its ultimate results, it has a distinct bearing upon what foreign travel is meant to achieve or the elevation of the lower classes is expected to accomplish.
IV.— What is social purity?
Man is the crown of creation even from the matchless complexity (with the immense possibilities) of his nature. There is, no doubt, a charm in simplicity, just as there is music in a monochord. But that harmony in which, according to the poet, this universal frame began and to which it has been growing, has its soul in well-ordered complexity. We are told, in the name of evolution, that the human embryo races through a range of diversified growth which in prehuman periods took ages to accomplish; and it needs no great stretch of imagination to see that the body, which is the focussed result of a hundred scattered processes of development, enshrines a being that commands a myriad avenues to mental and moral progress. This distinguishing capacity of man makes sound character a highly complex instrument, capable of producing angelic symphony but easily liable to get out of tune. The sole remedy lies in that serenity which presupposes equal growth on all sides, that purity which points the way to perfection, that cleanliness of heart which is next to godliness of soul. Purity is to character what symmetry is to beauty- not an accident of adornment, but an essential of structure. It denotes that apt assortment of man's desires and appetites, in deference to his special powers and faculties of thought and speech, emotion and arts, will and work, which, by subordinating the physical to the intellectual, postponing the immediate to the ultimate, and surrendering the pleasing for the good, combines in man the sacred functions of the heir of ages past and the architect of centuries to come. It consists in that uniformity of development-that moving forward of the whole man, to which alone is awarded the maximum of good. It is that conservation of vital energy which comes of a wise correlation of vital forces. It is that discipline of the heart under which man's desires and powers are told off to their respective tasks and through their conjoint watch and work win the great victories of life. In fine, it is that attuning of the soul to the processes of nature as the chosen purposes of God, which ought to make every man what only an occasional sage now is — the interpreter of life in the terms of eternity and the beautifier of earth as the corridor of Heaven. Applied to social life, purity is complete submission, whole-hearted homage, soul - deep obeisance, to what the sublimest English poet has named "the sun-clad power of chastity." It is a call to the spouse to rejoice in the spouse, and a command to the parent to be pure amidst pleasure. It is a recognition of the stern truth that the righteousness which exalteth a nation has its secret strength in 'a well-governed and wise, appetite,' regulated by the 'holy dictate of spare temperance.' It is a caution to the commu-nity that 'to hastening ills a prey' is tiiQ land. where the heat of passion is preferred to the warmth of love, and the 'prompture of blood' is followed as the law of life. It holds (with Manu) that culpable attention to anothers' consort is the surest course to curtail one's length of days; and it condemns (with Shakespeare) as comrades in iniquity the rake and the murderer— "the saucy Sweetness that coins heaven's image on stamps that are forbid" and the reckless villainy that "falsely takes away a life true made." It declares that the happiness of marriage shall be earned only with the obligations of marriage, and the blessings of family life shall be the prize only of those who keep its irrevocable pledge. It declares human existence too sacred to be cradled in lust; it proclaims the marriage bond too strong to be dissolved by freaks of taste, defects of law, or even the transition of death. It honours holy wedlock as an ordinance of the Most High and, hence, insists on the untarnished sanctity (to adopt F. Harrison's happy language), from even "one passing shadow of suspicion," of "the inviolable institution whereon the happiness of all depends." It finally warns the creature that "hooks its right and wrong to the appetite" to beware and be not deluded, that "neither the sensual nor the drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God."
A very thoughtful and charming writer has pointed out that the benevolent nature of the government of this world is strikingly evinced in the boundless bounty with which gratification is added to relief, pleasure is attached to duty, and enjoyment is infused into necessity. Thus, while light and sound might have sufficed for ordinary life, wisdom and love mellow the one into music and the other into rainbow. Hunger might be met with food, but a relish is placed in the palate; and touch is endowed with not only the sensitiveness of a thermometer but also the living sympathies of a flower. Life is thus everywhere waited on by pleasure; but it constitutes all the difference between the animal and the man how pleasure is used. To pursue pleasure as the purpose of life is the animal; to subdue pleasure to the purpose of life is the man. That follows the lead of instinct, this guides instinct with reason. Thus the animal is the creature of the day; but man is the pilgrim of eternity. This distinguishing prerogative makes, in man's case, pleasure the hand-maid to progress — not an alien to be rejected, but a servant to be managed; not a disease to be rooted out, but an impulse to be regulated. "Temperance" — wise moderation in the legitimate, cheerful abstinence from the forbidden — is, accordingly, the only law befitting man; and purity is temperance in that supreme relation of the sexes which, as ordering the joys of home, prescribing the ideals of society and linking generation to generation, sways the destinies of our race.* Thus social purity is the control of our appetites by our higher faculties as a course of life the most favourable to complete growth. "There is," says a vigorous writer on this subject, "a dignity conferred upon us— bringing men near to the high and solemn relationship of the Creator" —in our possession of the power of reproduction. With this honor is reposed the responsibility on every man to be pure and worthy in life and sentiment— in act, speech and thought. Social purity is chastity in body and chastity in spirit—stern, uncompromising repugnance to whatever is base or vulgar, indecent or immodest, in work or pleasure, speech or song, thought or sentiment, belief or life—stout, unrelenting opposition, despite the threat of law or the frown of society, the curse of pretentious piety or the loss of spurious attachment, to every rule or habit, practice or institution that defeats, or tends to defeat, the high purpose of human life by gilding shame with fashion or condoning carnal longing as venial. It brands as mean and cowardly, notwithstanding mimic nobility and affected bravery, the man who uses the frailty of the weak or the want of the needy for his own base purpose, who haunts beauty till it is tarnished or pursues innocence till it is vitiated, who repays friendship, with infidelity, or affects piety to pollute all the more securely. It demurs to the law, though backed by power, that declines to shield the helpless from the ravage of the brutal or to screen the guileless from the craft of the wily. It decries the customs that invite undisguised shame to the hall of honour, or restore convicted impurity to the place of position. It silences the song that deifies the brute and proscribes the picture that perpetuates the immodest. It shuns the book that feeds the budding mind with "the sewage of the slum," and rebukes the speech that glorifies "our swine enjoyments." It loathes the longings "that fancy begets on youthful thoughts," and detests the desires that delight to wallow in "troughs of Zolaism." It stifles the taste that tinctures. the soul with the taints of hell, and contemns the creed that caters to the carnal and calls it piety. On the other hand, it esteems the life that does not deviate into guilty pleasure, and honors him as a hero who ever guards the citadel of his senses. It upholds the law that vindicates morality, and espouses the custom that conforms to righteousness. It enjoys the speech that wells up from a clean heart, and appreciates the mood that contemplates the sublime. It values the song that softens the savage in man, and prizes the art that sublimates the pure. It cherishes the sentiment that aspires after the True, and lives by the faith that adores the All-Holy.* In a word, it consecrates the entire life, from the cradle of childhood to the 'skyey tent' of sagehood, unto the hastening of that 'far-off divine event' when man and woman, through their hallowed union, will achieve the glory of a God-illumined self — that sovereign power (in Tennyson's thrice-happy words) which consists in self- controlling strength and self-knowing wisdom, in self-denying goodness and self-reverencing holiness.
This sacred end kept in view makes marriage the most hallowed of sacraments, though all the same the freest of choices — that solemn affiance of heart unto heart and that holy covenant of soul with soul, to force which is the lowest slavery, and to avoid which is the basest selfishness. To enquire how marriage originated is out- side the scope of this paper. It suffices for the present purpose to point out that true national progress has everywhere proceeded parallel to an increasing sense of the sacredness of the family bond. So far as it can be traced, the march of mankind along the heights of civilisation has been in the direction of "constitutional monarchy" as the strongest bulwark of the state, and of "legalised monogamy" as the firmest foundation of the home. But monogamy, like monotheism, largely fails in its results when inherited as time-honored tradition or assumed as extraneous conformity. Thus monogamy may degenerate into what has heartlessly been travestied as "one to one being cursedly confined," as monotheism may point only to a cold eternal something or an abstract reign of law. But elevated to supreme rule over the whole sphere of life, this "maiden passion for a maid" is the bountiful dispenser of "all that makes a man." In this "single love," as Ruskin has it, "is the sanctification of all man's strength, and the continuance of all his purposes." The true test of monogamy is the monocracy over the whole heart of the one all-endearing, even as the true mark of monotheism is the monolatry, with the whole soul, of the One All-sufficient. The essence of both is the complete devotion of one to the one ; in both it is alone with the alone.
"O ! there is something in marriage, like
the veil of the temple of old,
That screened the Holy of holies with
blue and purple and gold !
Something that makes a chamber, where
only the one may come,
A sacredness, too, and a silence, where
joy that is deepest is dumb."
And social purity seeks to guard the sacredness of this ' chamber ' with a vigilance and a devotion too wakeful for the sliest insinuation and too firm for the hardest temptation, and to adorn and enrich it with the most endearing affection of the heart and the most sublime devotion of the soul.
V.— SOME PARTICULAR ASPECTS OF SOCIAL PURITY
may next be glanced at, with special reference to our social conditions. A word of caution and of request may here be necessary that, as one descends from fine principles to unpleasant particulars, one runs the risk of offending "ears polite." But the duty of speaking an unwelcome truth, according to occasion, being granted, the kind reader's judgment may decide whether the occasion does not exist. The first, then, of these particular aspects is (a) Religion and Social Purity.
The intensest devotional attitude towards God is that sweet ecstasy — that enchanting madhuryam — in which He is "the Spouse Divine of human soul." It is a conception at once direct, attractive and inspiring : not distant awe, indefinite familiarity or dependant trust, but voluntary and cheerful self-dedication. This master-passion of the soul naturally figures itself forth in a thousand suggestive symbols or allegories. But there are two distinct stages in a complete religious career-the detachment of the spirit from matter and the infusion of the spirit into matter; the retirement into the wilderness to perform the self-subduing fast, the return into the world to preside at the self-realising feast; the discipline of rigid abstinence from the world's revelries, the franchise of free participation in the world's charities. In the first, religion is the noviciate under the austere rule of morality; in the second, religion is the vision on the mountain-top receiving a divine decalogue for the multitude below. The former is the period of discipleship, the latter the period of kinship to God. But when this order is violated, as it often must be in a country where "faith" is in so many instances divorced from "light," the liberties of the later are anticipated as the licenses of the earlier stage, the- counters of mature wisdom pass as the coin of green ignorance, and the ecstasies of the soul are perverted into the indulgences of the sense. Thus it comes of a huge unsettling of matters spiritual that many a custom or institution has arisen in our midst, whose sole justification is that it is associated with the great name of religion and shall not be questioned. But who can prevent the little infection from doing its work ? The so-called faith of the majority has not only been stereotyped into a "zodiac of feasts and fasts" but also degenerated in not a few instances into pomp and performances far from elevating, if not positively offensive. Occasions there be when inebriated enthusiasm, not content with bathing and feeding, bedding and wedding "the Lord of the Universe," plans for him a nocturnal adventure from which he is supposed to return incognito before dawn; or when unbridled eagerness, toiling to scale the heights of Indra's blissful abode, not only marks its progress with holocausts of dumb victims but terminates in a deed of sanctimonious sin that no system of morality dare justify. Celibacy, that self-forgetfulnes in the service of the Lord, degenerates into a social fiction, till a vestal deva-dasi is replaced by a shame-proof demi - monde,* and sacerdotal vows betray their hollowness now in nude photos, then in criminal prodigality, anon in the incarceration of a holy priest for gallantry, and again in the exposure in a court of law of the life-history of a "born-lord" of countless devotees with particulars revolting enough for a foreigner to characterise the sorry individual as a creature not fit to be touched 'with a pair of hot tongs.' Devotion, that rejoicing of the soul in the graces of the Lord, degenerates into vulgar vagaries that embody themselves in images and pictures of ruthless realism with dissolute details, and express themselves in song or verse that purblind partisans alone can misname piety. Esotericism, that panacea for all the spiritual ailments of India, would fain galvanise these dead bones into life; but while the subtle apologist points to a mystic inside — a light behind Parrhasius's curtain, the simple world adopts the pleading to justify the palpable outside, and offensive orgies and voluptuous leelas, amorous ditties and "unholy holis?" (as some one has termed them) stand out among the main features of the religious occupations of the majority. Nor does the evil stop there. This culpable indifference to the essentials of morality in the most absorbing concerns of life robs religion' often times, of even ordinary solemnity and reverence ; and not a few of the localities credited with the odour of sanctity need only a closer examination to be found to stink with impurity. Deplorable as this state of things is, it is not beyond human help. The remedy lies with the community; which, outside the callousness of custom, is uncommonly sensitive in such matters. Let only men of light and leading look facts square in the face, let them enforce "morals" before they sanction "symbols" and insist on sterling character as the first proof of pious conviction ; and the Augean stables will yet be cleansed. In our national ideals and traditions there is enough of chaste piety and inspiring purity to justify the hope that, if only this outer "abasement" could be swept away and the native grandeur revealed to the people's heart, our nation, too, may realise and appreciate the sublime truth that piety without purity is grosser than rank superstition — it is sanctified sin. But it is one thing to hold out indiscriminately on our past greatness; it is another to emulate it judiciously. The next topic that may engage attention is
(b) Public recognition of social impurity.
in any form and with any excuse. Ruskin has taught us that the acme of goodness is not merely to do the right thing but also to love it and to enjoy it. The reverse is equally true that virtue fails of its essence, if abstinence from vice does not amount to a total refusal to lend countenance to it to any degree and under any circumstances. To pity and pass by the weakness that hides itself in the shade may be charity; to mark impurity as an unfortunate element in some lives and bind it down with restraints and penalties calculated to confine it to its natural place as the grossest of indulgences — the last and the lowest of "deadly sins," may be statesmanship; to devise means and employ agencies to warn the unsuspecting or to reclaim the erring, may be philanthropy; but to trim immorality with fashion, to furnish it with facility, to countenance it with an apology, to provide it with a passport, or to charter it with a custom, is to set a premium on vice and to condemn the state or the society as "organised selfishness." A state or a society is not bound to procure for the carnal cravings of the sensual any more than to provide for the gambling tendencies or the thieving propensities of the avaricious. On the other hand, nations or communities are no less amenable than individuals to the ethical law that not to rebuke or protest against open vice is to half sanction it. The government that undertakes to protect base gratification from natural sting or merited stigma, incurs the heavy responsibility of furthering vice by making impurity venial. As Mrs. Josephine Butler has pointed out, state regulation of vice is but state sanction of vice; it is only "drilling, barracking and licensing vice" — procuring 'state-accredited instruments' for the most debasing use. Likewise, the society that assigns in its fold a recognised place and a decent position to professional lewdness—aye, confers on it the dignity of a caste and tricks it out with a 'catching' name, condemns itself as "procuress to hell." The future of a nation depends wholly upon its estimate of man—its hope of human possibilities; and the community that counts social impurity, not a temporary failing to be strenuously overcome, but a lasting frailty to be reduced to a custom, looks down upon man as an "appetite incarnate." Says an eminent medical authority, "As soon prescribe theft or lying or anything else that God has forbidden as prescribe inchastity;"* and what is public recognition given to social impurity by state or by society but this culpable prescription of inchastity? Closely related to this subject is the rather exciting question of
(c) Social Purity and Public Life.
If, as Carlyle holds, "society everywhere is some representation of a graduated worship of heroes," the life of a leader is a model to contemporaries and a heritage to posterity. That life embodies the moral ideal to be imitated by a thousand admirers; it maps out the moral path to be trodden by a thousand followers. When one of England's wisest politicians laid down that he who would be a statesman must first prove himself a gentleman, the demand really meant that the aspiration to be honoured with public confidence implied the covenant to be clean and pure beyond every insinuation, above every suspicion. If, as Lecky states, "pure domestic life" is amongst the 'strongest' of those forces that bear a nation onward to improvement, the private life of one that would mould the thoughts, guide the energies and thus shape the destinies of a nation is a public concern. Let it be once conceded that there is good ground for the many moral restraints which a wise government imposes on its public servants; and it will be idle to contend that those who would prescribe the career of a nation need not rise to the standard of those who should manage its passing concerns, or that the integrity enforced about "barbaric pearl and gold" may be safely relaxed concerning what is the most precious jewel of woman and the dearest possession of man. Both may be private as single incidents; but both are public as examples or precedents. In both, the weakness of the few becomes the excuse of the many. In both, the purpose of life is vitiated and the ideal of life is lowered. As Milton very truly points out, it implies a certain lack of manly greatness — a weak mind that "aims not beyond a higher design "than mere pleasure — to succumb. to amorous charms. Inchastity, as Mohammad warns us, is not merely an evil course but a foul thing. Does it not, further, sound as mere mockery that the call to fairness and equity should come from one who did not scruple to despoil a woman of her birth-right or a home of its happiness, or who did not hesitate to snatch a selfish gratification which, in one respect, is blacker than a cold-blooded murder, as invariably implicating the peace or the hope of an accomplice ? Concupiscence, no less than cupidity, is incompatible with greatness — with real integrity and broad catholicity; and to ignore this fact is to drop half our kind out of account. Quite unavailing is the defence which compares the disinterested leader of a nation's hope and activities to an agent that knows no higher motive than money — a lawyer, a doctor or an engineer. It is a sign of diseased enthusiasm, if not a mark of the rather low notion prevailing about apparently high objects of life, that one who surrenders comfort and position and accepts loss and reproach for a humble or neglected cause, is placed by his professed supporters under the same vinculum with the skilled workman ever available to the party that "pays." Unless discipleship deteriorate into what Carlyle stigmatises as 'spanielship,' it cannot be true that he who may be the sorriest or the most indifferent of mortals and he who fears the Lord and walks in the light of His wisdom are alike fitted to marshal the energies and forecast the future of a nation. The former is "a soldier of fortune" whose cleverness any one may buy; the latter, "a guide, philosopher and friend" entitled to our profoundest respect and, on that very account, bound to satisfy our highest expectations in social virtues. He is a Representative Man' whom wisdom and gratitude alike would decline to measure with the mercenary standard of a paid pilot; and to demand this personal purity in one thus exalted is but a fresh instance of the ancient truth that he who will control shall begin with self-control, that he who will rule without shall not be subject to anarchy within. Not a few of the supporters of this cause may advantageously
(d) work among the children and the youth
of the land. Apart from the nature of the public education now in vogue in India, much too little, notoriously little, is being done to build up character-to foster noble virtues and create high aspirations-in the generations-to-be. It is, indeed, agreeably surprising that where such scanty attention is given to the healthy rearing-up of children, the tone of general morality is, nevertheless, so satisfactory. That betokens the innate goodness of human nature and the intrinsic worth of some of the principles, now hardened into customs, which were the original moulds of our national life. But the painful experience of every one that has endeavoured to be of some public service almost invariably reports that, for a large and civilised nation, most disappointingly few are the instances in which our countrymen dare rise above what may be called "neighbourly goodness." A chivalric spirit (if that term be expressive enough.) is notably wanting among us. It is not mere altruism; it is, so to speak, social transcendentalism. This national drawback early evinces itself in our youth. Our boys may be rightly credited with being more docile and better- behaved than their western brethren ; but are they not also more 'tortuous' in their ways-more wanting in 'directness'?* Does not a tendency to "look about," when they ought to "look in the face," early sprout up in them? One chief reason for this defect is the position of women in India-not, as is generally said, low or hard, but rather uninspiring, somewhat deficient in the capacity to evolve in man that refined gentleness which, without weakening the vigour, strains out the coarseness. Brought up under such "home influences," our youth betray either precocious vulgarity in the lower classes, or "studied" bashfulness (young Marlow-like) in the higher classes, of society. Either way there is the absence of 'naturalness;' which to a large extent accounts for the one peculiar characteristic, almost national, of so many of our homes; which, again, are not impure or unhappy, but uninvigorating. Work among our boys and youth, not expressly educational, has, therefore, to be directed towards evoking this verve—this instinctive fairness and natural fineness-in them. Not that efforts bearing directly on our question of social purity are quite superfluous. If the experience of teachers, watchful and themselves good, counts for aught, and if the painful tale often told by doctors of all denominations be even partially true, there are quite too many instances, often leading to grave consequences and at times ending even fatally, of the early tasting of the forbidden fruit;*  and what better can be expected in a country where so few feel the duty of placing a check upon their tongues or their tastes for their dear ones' sake, and where painted Jezebels are permitted to jaunt in the most respectable localities, at times in the very neighbourhood of educational institutions? But the main effort has to be directed to preventative rather than to remedial work-to forearm the youth against coming dangers rather than to snatch them from present evils. What our community needs is the formation of associations, on che lines of 'the guilds of honour' in the west, with membership large enough for fraternity but quite within bounds for discipline, worked in a fostering spirit by persons that have a sacred sense of the promise and the possibility of childhood or youth, and inculcating, on broad principles and in devout reverence, along with spotless purity the kindred virtues of unflinching honesty and large-hearted magnanimity. This will necessarily be slow work but, in the fulness of God's time, sure. It is true that there are already many institutions in the land, professing to promote this very end; but the question has to be boldly asked and honestly answered whether their strong point is ethics or athletics—be the latter lingual or physical. A fair begining must be made; and, if anywhere, it is in this work that men are superior to methods. Every life lived under the Great Task-Master's eye is of account here.—As the last of these particular aspects of the question may be considered the movement in which so much of the attention and interest of the friends of this reform has, for obvious reasons, been for sometime centering —
(e) the Anti-Nautch Movement.
It was, perhaps, unfortunate, though evidently unavoidable as a beginning,. that the purity movement was started in the concrete form of the anti-nautch agitation. Friends ready to further the cause failed, in many instances, to realise the basal principle; while persons startled by its novelty put upon it most fantastic constructions. One party traced it to a lurking hatred for the dancing-girl; another discovered in it a crusade aginst music; to some it appeared to be a graceless exposure of a small national weakness; to some others it was nothing better than a quixotic attempt to cure the irremediable. Even among friends but few realised that to discourage nautch was to demand purity in other respects, and to decline to employ the dancing-girl's entertainment was to disapprove open impurity wherever found. When, therefore, a seemingly superfluous memorial to a distant government disclosed a personal promise "to do likewise," enthusiasm cooled down and eloquence was hushed in not a few cases. When, next, it gradually came out that to condemn the nautch was to covenant for an earnest endeavour after purity in thought, speech and act, many more shrank from so exacting a demand. When, at a later stage, the principle which would proscribe polluted pleasure was sought to be applied to public life, some of even those that had been the most forward to urge the attack were also among the foremost to sound the retreat. But the anti-nautch movement would be a huge cry for a trifle, almost a 'much ado about nothing'—unless it presented itself as an integral factor of a larger endeavour, a particular application of a comprehensive principle, a concrete illustration of a lofty though seemingly new-born ideal. Its basis is not in fine manners, but in good morals; its aim is not mere elegant breeding, but pure living. If every one espousing this cause has not realised this high expectation, it is not the fault of the principle. Many are called but few are chosen.
Among the several countries with which India would wish to compete in morals and in civilisation there is not one that accords to open flagrant impurity such recognition as this country gives to the 'nautch-girl.' Veiled vice and secret inchastity are to be found all the world over; but sexual immorality as a hereditary and acknowleged profession, living in peace and amity with and amidst other avocations, fortified against the attacks of time or change, and endowed with the privileges of social sanction, is special to this land. By no other civilised people is the thin mask of music, as a profession, suffered so fully to cover (and, for all social purposes, so completely to atone for) the iniquity of a woman openly living a "fast life." In the temple she has not only the free and ready admission of any other lay person, but, in innumerable cases, a position next only to that of the priest or the manager. No part of a town is too respectable for her residence; no circle of society, too high for her invitation. No festive function, civic or social, is too solemn for her presence : to receive a guest or to felicitate a friend, to welcome a superior or to celebrate a jubilee, to solemnise a wedding or to initiate a child into learning—aye, at times, to reverence a spiritual head or to honor a religious reviver, her song is the te deum of thankfulness, her dance the exhilaration of enthusiasm. The benediction at many an auspicious ceremony is of her chanting; the longevity of connubial life for many a hopeful bride is secured through the talismanic "black beads" of her stringing. In "temple processions" hers is the lead, while the graceless priest with his unheeded jargon is exiled to a safe distance.* Famine stricken parents, albeit of high caste, may surrender to her custody and profession a child that a foreigner, however pure and respectable, may not apply for. In times of "legal" difficulties she may count upon the support of even some of the titled leaders of society privately to plead with the crude, stickling judge to do a little wrong so as to achieve a great right. But how this has come to be so and why this is thus endured in a country otherwise jealous of female chastity, it is not difficult to see. Of all the harmful consequences of the caste system none would seem to be so injurious as its tendency to place merit and demerit on a level. Both being made customary, virtue is not necessarily honoured with social credit and vice is not perforce branded with social discredit. Not what is good but what is usual, is commendable; likewise, not what is bad but what is unusual, is condemnable. The national conscience is, in many important matters, hide-bound with custom. Hence the ruthless, sometimes savage, punishment of chance instances of secret vice, alongside of this disgusting indifference nay, this culpable encouragement given socially through the nautch and religiously through temple service to innumerable cases* of open shamelessness.
That these women have not always been thus patronised, is evident from ancient literature. They seem to have begun as virgins dedicated to the service of religion—vestals that forgot the world in the thoughts of Heaven. They were consecrated to the Lord; and to that age belongs the awful warning that to approach one of that class sexually was more sinful than thus to approach even one's mother. It is of that by-gone period those well-meaning friends of India really think who defend the modern nautch-girl by unfairly comparing her to the mediaeval nun! However, nothing is so frequently, though in most cases so imperfectly, imitated as religion; and the spontaneous self-forgetfulness of the early generations became the forced asceticism of those who came after them. The institution would appear to have been in a transitional stage—not perhaps a caste, but not without a deep touch of the world—at the time of Buddha; who had an enthusiastic admirer in Ambapali, who could vie with great lords in position and opulence. With that mighty emphasis laid upon a pure life which distinguished Buddhism, the women of light song and dance necessarily went down in status. In the days "of the Chinese pilgrims the singer and the courtesan were compelled to reside outside the village-walls, along with the fisherman and the scavenger." * History, however, "seems to indicate that she was not kept out long;" and as that wave of moral force which is associated with the name of Buddha ebbed away, she could, by the age of the dramas, regain through her charms and accomplishments the social position no longer merited by her life. As in course of centuries custom favoured by convenience fossilised every profession into a caste, that encyclopaedic organisation—the Hindu Society, with its round-robin of castes—could accommodate professional lewdness with a plea and a place, just as it furnished the professional thief with a guide-book and a presiding-genius. What comes by birth-right need not be earned by accomplishments; and "the general notion," as the Census Commissioner observes, "of their employment (at present) is that expressed in one of the schedules from a town in the north as singing and enjoying sensual pleasures!" Such have been the high origin and the low fall of a most unfortunate section of mother India's daughters; who (in the words of Prof. Sir W. Monier Williams) were once "patterns of piety and propriety," but are now "slaves to the licentious passions of the profligate." Is not society bound to help them up to a pure course of life? "How is it," asks that eminent temperance-preacher and noble friend of India, the Rev. T. Evans, "that the temple Priests and sacred Brahmins do not step to the front to reform such a degrading abuse as this?" But the question is really an appeal to the heart and the conscience of entire educated India.
Custom, however hoary or wide-spread, though it may at times have a tempering effect, cannot make evil quite harmless; and far from light is the penalty that India has, silently and almost unconsciously, been paying for suffering this dark iniquity to live and thrive in her very bosom. Public recognition, by hiding the ugliness of a vice, makes it fashionable and thus costly. It sets up a competition where repugnance should be the only attitude. How prodigal in wealth and life this injurious indulgence has been, scores of impoverished families and hundreds of frustrated hopes, countless instances of disappointed careers, wasted opportunities, neglected affections and squandered fortunes, can amply testify. Further, the desire for repentance is generally proportionate to the social odium attaching to a sin. "That would be a reproach to your mother; you only name me/' was the proud retort of a smart dancing-girl to a filthy epithet cast at her by the voluptuous Sirajuddoula. What is labelled as a necessary profession by society, is rarely felt to be a degrading occupation; and the consoling thought that one <need not be better than is expected of one, easily satisfies the casual compunction. That "want-begotten rest" which the poet rates lower than the worst bondage, is the doom of the unfortunate nursling of sin who is never made to feel that her tainted life marks her off as a moral leper. Thus the gate of repentance, open in Heaven's grace to the vilest sinner, is virtually closed by a custom-ridden community that thereby makes itself an abettor of impenitent guilt. How many a Kanchanamali that would repent and seek the ways of the Lord, is being thus lulled into suicidal security by a society that thoughtlessly cries "Peace! Peace!" when there is no peace!"—Again, nothing can justify the pleasure purchased with another's degradation. Be the fictitious theory what it may, in real practice no female is—no female can by custom be—a musician in calling unless she also be a 'public woman' in life. It is her fallen condition that makes her eligible for that profession. Those who hastily compare her to the music-hall singer of the west, besides implying that two blacks make a white, decide the question on the ground of mere decency, forgetting that a 'fast life' is there an unacknowledged and incidental weakness, but here an avowed and necessary pre-requisite. If Manu is justified in charging with destruction of life him who cooks the meat or him who eats it, no less than him who kills the sheep, does not the guilt or the shame of the dancing-girl's life fall to the account of those who accept her 'fallen' condition as the passport to her profession as a singer or dancer?—Moreover, music, that divine art which "stoopeth so low as to soften brute beasts, yet mounteth as high as angels," that "inarticulate, unfathomable speech which leads us to the edge of the infinite and lets us for a moment gaze into that," that food of love and that incense of the soul, has been largely neglected and completely disreputed by its unholy association with open immorality. Times were when sages did not decline to teach it and princesses did not disdain to learn it. Numerous instances could be cited of ladies of virtue and position acquiring and using this noble accomplishment. They felt no indignity, the public imputed no flaw, on that account.† But when society was unhinged by political disturbance and social deterioration, modesty retired, while impudence held the field undisputed. With the return of peace and enlightenment, music should have been everywhere restored to its ancient prestige of an honourable accomplishment. But the force of association har fastened a tarnished name to it; and so long as it is condemned to be the prerogative of the Circes and the Syrens of our society (and it must be so till we decline to be charmed by the murky music of a maudlin), it must be content to be the bond-maid of iniquity, the stalking-horse for impurity to prey all the more securely. Lastly, sullying, degrading, debasing must be the effect upon all—home and neighbourhood, wife and children, guests and friends—of an entertainment in which, pretending to no secrecy and mindful of no modesty, she who,, of all womankind, is the only one to take a hire for her 'person', she who has forfeited the sweet name of sister, she who is nor maid nor wife nor widow, she whose "heart is snares and nets" and whose "house is the way to hell," simulates a virtue she daily desecrates, or pleads for a pleasure she daily pollutes. To touch pitch and not be tarred, is to dream of repealing an eternal ethical law. The weighty words of the learned and venerable Dr. Bhandarkar will suffice : "I have always been of the opinion that he who patronises dancing-girls does not sufficiently hate the immoral life which they professedly lead, or value as highly as he ought to do female purity, which is the soil on which the noble qualities of women grow. The institution of nautch cannot but have a debasing effect on the morality of men and women. I shall not, without strong proof, believe in a man's being a faithful husband, if he takes delight in giving nautch-parties and attending them. To have a nautch at one's own house is to give an object-lesson in immorality to the boys and the girls in the family, especially to the former. As long as nautch is fashionable among us and is freely indulged in, it is impossible that the morality of men should greatly improve, and our respect for women should increase." Wise words these that put the matter in a nutshell. With them, not inappropriately, may go Bishop Welldon's thoughtful observation that "the cause of morality in India would seem to make a definite advance, if at the beginning of the new century the officials of government and the leaders of society were to make known their desire that nautches should not form part of any entertainment to which they......are invited."
Not many words can profitably be given to the question, 'what next?' when nautches have been universally discouraged. It is not easy or safe to foretell the direction likely to be taken by the energies of a society passing through a great transition. To the strictly pure the simple consideration, "morals before art or pleasure," would be quite enough; but it is, probably, too much to expect the majority to be fully content with that rule. There must be a sense of want for a time, as the old order changeth into the new. Promiscuous musical entertainments, barren of result in other countries, would grow obsolete. What with natural unsuitability to India and what with social discouragement, dance would lapse as a relic of the past. Weaned from its present low associations, music would become a commoner and more respectable acquirement—a profession with some and an accomplishment with many; and all the genuine pleasure to be derived from that noble art might, after a generation or two, be fully regained. Indian music, rich in devotional and unfortunately pretty full in amorous element, would have to be considerably improved on the purely social side. Social gatherings—not the current picture-galleries, but cordial, convivial assemblies-—would become frequenter and more useful and attractive, with the spread of education and of liberal ideas regarding "castes" and the " position of women." Clubs—not the present-day 'aftermaths' of professional work, but resorts of learned ease and friendly communion—would be more popular as interest and information about "general subjects" should grow. A dozen other methods of employing leisure in useful and innocent ways would gradually suggest themselves, should there be only a firm resolution "not to drink poison, if nectar be not within easy reach." As to the particular community concerned; when deprived of the prestige of music, its hope will lie chiefly in two healthy changes:-(l) the allotment of temple-service (of course, wholly for sacred purposes) as the accompaniment only of chastity, married life being no disqualification; and (2) the education and improvement of the male members of the community—now mostly drones or parasites. No doubt, with many an unhappy woman the change will for a time be a "vision of Mirza" bridge, through which she will drop into the gulf below. But should the present wealth and influence of the community be wisely utilised, the meed of immorality might happily serve as the price of redemption. A caste, chartered to a vicious life, would cease to be; and though some frail creatures might deplorably go astray, not a few of the daughters now heedlessly prodigal would be restored to the longing bosom of the Divine Mother.
That 'born prince' among the educated sons of India, that noble soul, the news of Whose translation to 'holier heights' has just been received in such 'divine despair' by the whole nation, observed at the last Madras Social Conference (1898) that the best test of the wholesomeness of the principles of social reform was to picture them to the mind as "writ large" on the society and to realise what happy changes would thus be made, and what abiding good would thus be wrought. Judged according to this wise canon, purity in personal, domestic and social life commends itself as the very key-stone of moral strength and national greatness. "Trample on woman," says a distinguished friend of this cause, "and you trample on your own moral nature. Respect woman, care for her, work for her, give her knightly shelter and protection, and you shall find the loftier emotions gaining sway in your heart, and touching your life to finer issues." "Whether you be young or old, think, I pray you, of the holy names of sister, (daughter,) wife and mother; think of all the holy influences which stream forth upon an evil world from the relations which those sacred names represent, and resolve, one and all, that under no sky from which the sun shines down shall those names have a holier, tenderer meaning than in this fair land."
Nor need this inspiring appeal come amiss to a people with rich traditions and noble examples of. social purity in the past. The crowning merit of our national hero was that he never shot but one arrow and never loved but one woman, the Kohinoor of her kind. Our national pattern of truthfulness preferred gifting away an empire to plucking the rose from a maiden brow. Our national model of devotion made purity the basis of piety by beholding a "mother" in every "stranger woman." The greatest of our epics tells J man "to look upon his neighbour's wife as on her that gave him life." The oldest of our bridal hymns exhorts the couple being wedded to pray jointly, "May all the gods that live above blend our hearts in love!" The true ideal of chivalry in India made the 'knight' the rakhibaud-bhai—the bracelet-wearing brother—of the 'lady.' An ancient Indian conception of the Deity is that of 'half-man and half-woman,' the Harmoniser of the sexes. A hoary precept of purity in our literature charges every person to honour the body and to keep it pure for it is the abode of the spirit. May the sanctity of that Indian sage abide in us who, when a celestial nymph visited his hermitage, employed her blandishments to disturb his penances, and immodestly laid bare her 'mysterious charms,' exclaimed in childlike innocence, "Would that one could have a mother of such beauty!" The grace of the All-Holy be with us all!
A. For Adults.
With the help of God, I pledge myself to keep the following covenant:—
- 1. I will not attend any gatherings where nautches are present, or invite them myself, or do anything else that tends to encourage them.
- 2. I will not use impure language, or tell coarse jests, or sing indecent songs, or indulge in listening to such language, songs or jests.
- 3. I will not indulge in witnessing indecent pictures, paintings, or scenes,
- 4. I will not converse or read, for the sake of mere pleasure, about subjects that are calculated to suggest impure thoughts, and will do my best not to entertain any such thoughts.
- 5. I will be chaste in body and will endeavour my utmost to be chaste in mind, as well as to promote the cause of purity in general.
B. For Boys.
In order to preserve my own personal purity and to encourage it in others, as being one important factor of a sound character, I promise, with trust in God's help and guidance to try my utmost—
- (1) To cultivate such habits as will help purity in thought, speech and action;
- (2) To abstain, while showing obedience to the wishes of my father (or guardian), from such engagements as are likely to be harmful to personal purity; and
- 3) To persuade my friends and school-mates to do likewise.
- * "Surely a day is coming when it will be known again what virtue is in purity and continence of life; how high, beneficent, sternly inexorable is the duty laid on every creature in regard to these particulars. Well, if such a day never come, then I perceive much else will never come. Magnanimity and depth of insight will never come; heroic purity of heart and of eye; noble pious valour to amend us and the age of bronze and lacquers, how can they ever come?" —Carlyle.
- * See the specimen "Purity Pledges" at the end.
- * "Our temples cannot improve unless the dancing girl be first kicked out," was the remark made by the Hon'ble Mr. P. Ananda Charlu, when the present writer happened once to travel with him. As an interesting experiment, it may be mentioned that a friend of the writer's, who is the manager of an important temple in the Northern Circars, "disallowed dancing girls pbout four years ago," and he states that "no want was felt at any time in the real worship and temple service on account of their absence," that it "does not show any change for the worse," and that "a great majorty of the devotees feel it a change for the .better, although here are a few vulgarly people that complain of it."
- * The opinions of two other eminent medical men may be cited here. According to one of them, "there are no organs so much under control as those of generation. Their qualities peculiarly adapt them to subserviency to man's moral nature." The other observes, "No man ever yet was in the slightest degree or way the worse for perfect continence, or the better for incontinence."
- * A careful and sympathetic European observer of our nation has remarked that India produces neither so many rogues nor so many heroes as a country in the West does.
- * Alarming particularly ate the accounts given by several medical men of "that hideous sin, engendered by vice and practised in solitude" by a large number of students and other young men. It is to be hoped that the type of hotels and "eating-houses" from which nefarious stories come out occasionally, like blasts from hell, is fast becoming obsolete.
- * May it be reasonably hoped that the days are wholly gone when the carriages of the elite were her 'free conveyance,' and the wives of the fashionable were her "honorary maids"?
- * The exact number of these unfortunate women in India cannot be ascertained. According to the Census of 1891, those following "indefinite and disreputable occupations" were returned as 15,62,981, and actors, singers' dancers and their accompanists numbered 2,70,956. Probably, several appeared under the respectable heading of 'temple-servants.'
- * Census of India, 1891—General Report p. 110.
- † Mr. Besant is reported to have observed recently: "Music has been excluded (from the education of girls,) because of its shameful associations with the nautch-girl. Your sons, if they want music, have to mix with the most shameful of characters."