Page:Isvar Chandra Vidyasagar, a story of his life and work.djvu/637

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ISVAR CHANDRA VIDYASAGAR.

They also seemed to doubt whether the complaint applied to their servants. The Council of the Asiatic Society went farther and wrote to the Pundit in reply that native gentlemen ought to know the Indian etiquette in the matter. The Pundit, we learn, has sent rejoinders to the both. To the trustees of the museum he has written to say—'It was the servants of the museum, as he had distinctly stated in his first letter, who had required him to take off his shoes.' To the Council of the Society he has explained that the Indian custom is not to take off the shoes as a mark of respect, that the Indians do not leave their shoes behind in visiting each other if they are seated in rooms furnished with chairs, but that they do so when they sit on the Farash or carpet for their own comfort and convenience. The question is accordingly pending before the trustees of the Museum and the Council of the Asiatic Society. We are really surprised that the above question should be raised in institutions where above all others' no invidious race distinctions should be made. The Museum is a place of public resort like a park ox a public garden, and would a European gentleman think of taking off his hat at such a place, and if not why should a native be required to put off his shoes there. As for the Asiatic Society, it is the last place where the badge of racial degradation should be insisted upon. There men of all classes resort to cultivate

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