Do you agree with ‘Change, if it came at all, would come from within—by a process of evolution.’?
Should societies wait for everybody to evolve so that changing to justice and equality doesn’t offend any sensibilities?
I am reading Those Days: A Novel How difficult was it to ban widow burning and to allow widow remarriage?
What were the objections? Who was objecting?
“Change, if it came at all, would come from within—by a process of evolution. He had opposed the Anti-Sati Act for this very reason and now he set himself resolutely against widow remarriage.”
“… contention was simple. The problem of Hindu widows was their problem and they [IHM: The ‘they’ here does not refer to the Hindu Widows] would solve it in their own way and in their own good time. An alien government had no right to interfere.”
So how do we bring change? Who should have the ‘right to interfere’?
“Putting up a petition for a new law sanctioning widow remarriage, he (Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar) started collecting signatures from many eminent men. Thirty-two signatures were taken—the last on the list being Vidyasagar’s himself. Radhakanta Deb flared up when he heard of the petition. Intellectual enquiry and debate was one thing. But getting a law passed to overthrow centuries of tradition was quite another. The rulers were aliens, who knew nothing about Hindu culture. What right had they to interfere?”
“The British government chose to ignore the mandate, overwhelming though it was, and passed a bill, legalizing the remarriage of widows. Not content with that it passed another, decreeing that a widow’s children by her second husband would have full legal claim to their father’s property.”
What if we had waited for every misogynist to agree to allow widows to live and get married?
What do we do if we have no rational arguments to continue an inhuman crime? Try to prove that someone, somewhere in the past said or did he same thing.
“Besides, he (Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar) had to get a law passed by rulers who were wary of hurting the religious sentiments of their subjects. The only way to tackle the problem was by quoting shloks from the shastras themselves, justifying his proposition.”
And what about widowers?
“The lucky man loses his wife; the unlucky his horse. The old adage was justified for with the death of a wife, a new bride was brought into the house, together with a new dowry. But the death of a horse spelled financial loss and a gap in the stables.”