Leave alone the Brahmo Samaj, wonder why Ramabai had nothing to do with even the Prarthana Samaj in Maharashtra which was founded on the basis of 1 open denunciation of caste system, 2 the introduction of widow remarriage, 3 the encouragement of female education, and 4 the abolition of child marriage. After repeated deliberations, the members came to the conclusion of making religious reforms the basis of social reforms. The first prayer meeting was held on 31st March , paving the way for the formation of the Prarthana Samaj.
She was probably looked at quite differently then than she was when she and her brother were penniless orphans during a period of recovery from famine! Several commentors have criticized my light-hearted comment in response to her dismissal of the scientific value of ancient texts like the Puranas. Its interesting to see a discussion on Pandita Ramabai being revived. Great to see posts on 22 June and RaoSaheb.
Even the arthouse flicks these days have been Bollywoodised. Of course she knew about it. It was BG Tilak, another Indian nationalist, who convinced him to stop. Tilak exposed the Sharada Sadan for what it was: a proselytizing body. That incident is famous and controversial. Tilak quipped that he would remarry thousands of widows upon the day India gained freedom, which signified that he had other priorities. But she argued from a Eurocentric and Christian vantage point, viz.
This is why she never made it to the gallery of modern Indian heroes, and likely never will. Let the new India emerge. Let her emanate from factory, from marts and markets. Let her emerge from groves and forests, from hills and mountains. Re: asceticism. I would say they ideal applied to the sanyasi, so if the pentecostals appropriated it, they were appropriating the sanyasi code, which would be rather fascinating. The rest of us browns, of whatever community, are rather fond of jewelry as you probably know. She sees Vivekananda as a prime creator of India nationalism. Since we are on reformers, here is another quote from the eloquent Swami:.
Where are the four castes today in this country? Answer me, [brahmins of Bengal]. I do not see the four castes. There are not [the traditional] four castes here. I see only the brahmin and the shudra. If there are kshatriyas and vaishyas, where are they and why do you brahmins not order them to take the yajnopavita [investiture with the sacred thread] and study the Vedas, as every Hindu ought to do? And if the vaishyas and kshatriyas do not exist, but only the brahmins and shudras, the Shastras say that the brahmin must not live where there are only shudras; so, depart, bag and baggage!
Pandita Ramabai's American Encounter: The Peoples of the United States by Pandita Ramabai
Do you know what the Shastras say about people who have been eating mlechchha [non-Hindu] food and living under the government of the mlechchhas, as you have been doing for the past thousand years? Do you know the penance for that? The penance would be burning yourself with your own hands. Do you want to pass as teachers and walk like hypocrites?
If you believe in your Shastras, burn yourself first like the one great brahmin who went with Alexander the Great and burnt himself because he thought he had eaten the food of a mlechchha. Do like that, and you will see that the whole nation will be at your feet. You do not believe your own Shastras and yet want to make others believe in them.
If you think you are not able to do that in this age, admit your weakness and excuse the weakness of others; take the other castes up, give them a helping hand, let them study the Vedas and become just as good Aryans as any other Aryans in the world, and be you likewise Aryans. They took the Whites to their own countries, and gave them whatever help they needed.
As a result, although their enemies were defeated by the Whites, they themselves also incurred a heavy loss instead of gaining anything.
Thus, both the weak Indians who helped the Whites to defeat enemies of their own race, and the similarly despicable people in our own country, were guilty of joining the common enemy and helping him to injure their own people. The Europeans, such as the Spaniards, Portuguese, French, English, and Dutch, made the best of the opportunities described above, and employed different means to wrest away the motherland of the [Red] Indians, made their own colonies there, and established their own kingdoms.
Two Memorials to Dr Meera Kosambi
Today the Indians are scattered all over America like fragments of a broken glass bowl. Their only aim in life now is to eat and drink whatever is provided by their White enemies and rulers, to be utterly dependent on them, to live out the lives they are born to, and to die like wild animals or birds hunted by the White people. I shall not dwell on them here, because the subject matter of the present book is 72 The Peoples of the United States unrelated to any but the English colonies.
A man named Sir Walter Raleigh went to America in to settle a colony there. The people who accompanied him on that visit did not live there respectably, plowing and cultivating the land on which they had settled, but, instead, started searching for gold and oppressing the Indians. Therefore their colony in the new land was not a happy event, needless to say. Later on, one John Smith came to settle a colony in the province of Virginia, discovered by Raleigh.
The people who accompanied him at the time included a number of women, so that the settlers lived in families. Afterwards some Puritans went to America and settled colonies known as New England. Thus, one after another, English colonies sprang into existence in North America. They cultivated the land in America and built large cities and towns in what used to be jungles. They possessed the very praiseworthy qualities of adventurousness, valor, strong resolution, and hard work.
At the end of the eighteenth century, there were altogether thirteen English colonies in North America. Thinking that the English discovery of the new country should serve the prime objective of making England prosperous with its revenues, they employed various measures to extract wealth from the colonies. Chief among these were the barriers to the trade and advancement of the American colonies, erected by acts of Parliament.
Parliament had resolved that the settlers in the English colonies should mine gold, silver, copper, iron, and other metals in America, but not use them for manufacture; that all the metal ores from the mines should be sent to England and to no other country; and that the colonies should not trade directly with any country but England.
Through these and other similarly oppressive laws, England began to harass the settlers in America. But even such laws failed to satisfy the greed of the English. It became impossible to write a legal document without buying stamp paper printed in England. Finally the matter was exacerbated to such an extent that the English Government realized that the Stamp Act was destroying the peace of the colonies. At that time the American people had two political parties: those belonging to the Tory party were favorable to England, but the supporters of the Whig party were opposed to the acts of Parliament.
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Even this was resented by the Americans. The English Parliament had representatives of the English people; but the American colonists did not have a similar right to send their representatives. The Americans began to regard it as a terrible humiliation that they should have to submit quietly to the laws made by the people of England for their own convenience. They declared that they would boycott all goods which were taxed.
After the Stamp Act, almost all Americans had resolved not to use those goods manufactured in England which would adversely affect the trade of their own country. This resolution dealt a serious blow to English trade. As a result, the English Government acceded to their request and abolished the tax on all goods except tea. In the ships reached the principal ports, like Philadelphia.
Their captains, seeing that no one bought their cargo in New York and Philadelphia, headed for New England. In the city of Charleston the tea was unloaded, but not bought by the local people; it was stored in warehouses, where it rotted. When three ships laden with English tea came into Boston harbor, several young men of Boston boarded the ships, broke open three hundred boxes of tea, and dumped their contents into the ocean. This caused a great deal of hardship to the residents, but the people in other parts of the country helped the Bostonians a great deal by supplying them with essential commodities.
After this incident, the oppressiveness of the English Government became notorious throughout the American colonies. In the English army camped in Massachusetts to punish the Bostonians. Later the matter was greatly aggravated. The American colonists began to complain that they had no representation in the English Parliament. They demanded that they should be con- 74 The Peoples of the United States sulted while laws were being made which would affect them, and they asserted that it would be unjust of the English Government to impose arbitrary taxes on them without consulting them.
On this occasion the American people unanimously attempted to protect their rights. The different colonies sent their elected representatives to Philadelphia, where the Congress of the American people was established. Subsequently, many wars were fought between the English and the Americans. At the end of the year , the American Congress appointed George Washington to be the general of its army. On the 4th of July , the people of America declared to the world that they had severed all connections with the English Government and become totally independent.
At that time, the States of America had a total population of 3,, people, including all men, women, and children.
They did not possess much wealth, or superior arms such as those possessed by the English Government. But so strong was their desire for independence that it made them regard as mere molehills the mountains of obstacles which repeatedly confronted them.