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Report No. 81

Reactions to the Bill.- Some inhabitants of Barasot and its neighbourhood referred to Srijoot Ishwarchundra Vidyasagar as one "the most patriotic and the learned-in-Hindu law". While certain inhabitants of Zillah Tippra in their petition dated 5th April, 1856 after reiterating the assurances of Government regulation of 1793 asserted that the number of Hindus who have asked Government to bring into force the proposed law "belonged to some tribe" who preferred to follow their own opinion to the dictates of religious law. The Brahmins of Poona by their petition dated 27th February, 1856 opposed the measure and expressed their opinion that those who are in favour of the measure must not be Hindus.

The Poona petition throws light on the manner in which signatures were collected to the memorials to be presented to Government. It appear that one "Aba Bhusari" (a grocer) went round to collect the signatures and in token of having effected the collection, wrote his name at the left-hand top corner. Some of the overly circumspect signatories superscribed an endorsement, "signed as being against re-marriage" just below their signature, to ensure that the signature pages were not attached to a memorial on some other subject. It is remarkable that the signature of collector "Aba Bhusari" has not appended his signature in the general catena of signatures, probably because, not being a Brahmin, he had no need of any such law.

Though the signatures are mainly in Devanagari and Modi script, an occasional Telugu signature appears and the use of the Persian word "Bin" for "son of" was also common. The signatures on petitions emanating from Bengal were mostly in English or in Bengali, but an occasional "Shri Ram Dayal Tark Vachaspati" in Devanagari also appears. The inhabitants of Zillah Maimansingh characterized Vidyasagar's move as one from a "very thoughtless and improvident youngman who would suffer unlimited troubles which God knows well only".

Hindu Widows Re-marriage Act, 1856 Back

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