Page:Isvar Chandra Vidyasagar, a story of his life and work.djvu/700

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THE AGE OF CONSENT BILL.

the same time, such a measure could not be objected to on the ground of interfering with a religious observance.

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"From every point of view, therefore, the most reasonable course appears to me, to make a law declaring it penal for a man to have intercourse with his wife, before she has her first menses.

"Such a law would not only serve the interests, of humanity by giving reasonable protection to child-wives, but would, so far from 'interfering with religious usage, enforce a rule laid down in the Sastras. The punishment, which the Sastras prescribe for violation of the rule, is of a spiritual character and is liable to be disregarded. The religious prohibition would be made more effective, if it was embodied in a penal law. I may be permitted to press this consideration most earnestly on the attention of the Government.

Sd. "Isvara Chandra Sarma

The 16th February 1891."

But this time the Government did not accept his views. In spite of his very reasonable opposition, the Bill was passed. It is a manner displays the policy of the alien Government in the administration of this country. When this Vidyasagar had petitioned for a legislation on the re-marriage of Hindu widows, his prayer had been readily granted Widow-marriage is consonant to the feelings, customs, and policy of the ruling race,

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