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Litlte Rock, Arkansas
June 24, 1911     Arkansas Catholic
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June 24, 1911
 

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THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN INDIA. ! I: ! (The Ray. John Piatti, M. F. M., in Annals of the t)rol)agation of the Faith,) igor twenty-four years I toiled as a missionary in distant Hindustan. Then my health broke down, and I was sent home to my native country to recuperate. Now I am about to rcturn to the work which God and my heart recall me; uD' poor people are waiting for me to resume my minis- trations among them. Yes; I am on the point of going back to India. \\;Vhat shall I take to tny converts .'.m \\;Vestern civilization? \\;Vhat aid v/['t I carry to India, the htnd so "i.iluently dcsolated by famine; In- dia, recently devastated by a terrible inundation; India, whose children stretch out their hands appealingly to the West? What can tile missionary bring to them? This time I shall bring Missionary Sisters to co-oper- ate in the work of evangelization. pared to tile child-widows. The lat- ter are the little girls whose husbands died before the youthful brides are old enough to leave the parental home. These child-widows are le- gion and we must save them if we can. A horrihle law in the Hindu re- ligion ays : "If a man dies before his time it is because of s,nne crime connuitted hy his wife. Therefore, no matter how yottng she may be she is guilty of the nmrder of her husband. She should, accordingly, voluntarily offer her life Comparatively few readers of the Annals, 1)erhal)s, understand tile cot> dillon of the pagan women of India. In fact, the ntA)le name of wotnan is seldom applied to her; she is better known by the appellation "slave." Do not call her a wife; the title is too honorable; she is, rather, simply a domestic animal who keeps the household of her lord and master in order, after a fashion. In the lan- guage of India, the l)ronouns, adject- ives anti verbs that describe or refer to animals arc also used indescribing or referring to women. In India tile sacrifice of woman be- gins in her childhood. A little girl, 8 years of age, is sold by her parents in marriage. \\;Vhois the hridegroom? Sotnetimes a youth; as often a man of middle age. In a region of 300,ooo,ooo inhabitants, a few years ago, the cen- sus showed 3,ooo,oo0 little girls mar- ried before they were 9 years of age, and 6,ooo,ooo girls married between the ages of 1o and 14. Think of it! Nearly m,ooo,ooo married children! And what is the life of these little brides? No pen can adequaelypicture the misery of one of these young cre- tures who, in \\;Vestern lands, would be called a wife. How does she spend her tithe? In preparing food for her husband, wait- ing upon him when he is at home, bringing water for him to wash his hands when he has finished his repast, etc. Only when he has linished his meal may she presume to take a mor- sel. In India a woman must never, under any circumstances, share the mealof her husband. She must never call him by name. When she ventures to address him she says "master," "my lord" or "nay king." He is, to her, ahnost as a God. And the hushand exercises his au- thority to the fullest extent. The young wife can never visit one of her women friends save in company with her mother-in-law or her hus- hand's sister. When she accompanies her husband to one of tile native festi- vals or to another village she must walk behind hitn like a slave, never beside him as an equal. If she has no children he tnay take another wife. He may be unfaithful without heine regarded as reprehensible. Fidelity is obligatory only for the woman. Such is the native law. What happiness or peace can ensue from such a marriage, a couple joined by the will of others; a husband and wife with no tie of affection; no mu- tual tastes to unite them! What a martyrdom for the victim of such an arrangement! Yet few of these young girls have the courage to persist in rebelion against this tragic fate. A few years ago a native girl, who is still living, caused a great excite- ment in East Indian circles. At so early an age that she did not remem- ber the event she was married, but was permitted to remain with her own people. As she grew older she at- tended the public schools, learned the English' language and received ahnost as good an education as is ob- tained hy a young Atnerican or Eng- lish girl. One day, when she was ad- vanced in her teens, an uncouth, ig- norant and sickly young man pre- sented himself at her home and an- nounced to her that he was her hus- band. The girl indignantly denied having ever aven heard of hitn and refused to accept his conjugal authority. He on his part, however, sure that the law was in his favor, instituted legal proceedings for the possession of his wife. Tile court, which was presided over by a British magistrate, decided in his favor. Rukmahar was directed to follow her lawful husband; impris- onment was the penalty for persist- ence in her rebellion. Happily for the poor girl, relatives came to her rescue and offered the yonng nlarl 2,000 rupees on condition that he would abandon his claim to Ruknlabar. He accepted the money, and her liherty was thus secured. The great majority of the East In- dian children thus married, however, stocially submit to their destiny, feel- ing that, as is a fact in most cases, rebellion is hopeless. Unhappy as is the lot of these , ?'qd-wives, they are fortunate corn- as a sacrilice (,f atonenlent on tile fu- neral pyre of her sponse, and in this manner she will apl)ease the anger of the gods against him. Thus will she attain to the l'aradise set apart for women. If she prefers to live she rill be execrated by all, considered as a being accttrscd, worthy only of eout enlpt." :\\; British colonial law 5)r India, forbidding the rite of Sutti (tile vol- untary self-imnlolation of widows) has been ill effect several years. Tile goverunlcnt cannot, however, control the attitnde of the natives toward the little widows now permitted to live, nor the oppression and ignominy heaped nl)on these hal)less children, many of whonl are only 4, 6 and 1o years old. These child-wldows are, however, forbidden to contract a second mar- riage, so there are few chances (ff bet- tering their condition, even iu a slight degree. In India tile marriage of children is valid, legal and tndissolnble. A widow, especially if she belongs to tile Brah- min class, has her hair cut off and her head completely shaved. Her gar- ments are shahby; she is deprived of the rings and other articles of per- sonal adorument that arethe joy of the Oriental woman. Tile widow is despised hy all the people of her acquaintance. No one offers her protection; no one ad- tresses to her a word of affection. A widow's tnother-in-law insults and maltreats her, saying ever: "Wretched child, I hate you hecause you have killed my son, who was your husband." She is never invited to a festival or merrymaking. At home she never shares the repast of the members of her late husband's fanfily, nor is she [permitted the of eomf')rtable right a 'corner wherein to repose. "You may sleep upon the ground; such a couch is good enough for such an outcast," she is told. "Take your meal alone; no one wants to eat with : brOil. ') Out of doors she cannto proceed farther than a few steps without en- countering humiliation. If a widow is the first person whom an East /n- dian happens to meet upon going froth his house in the morning he regards tile circunlstance as an un- lucky omen and at once abandons any enterprise he may have had in mind for the day. Sometimes a child-widow, in des- peration at the universal scorn she receives, commits suicide, perhaps hy casting herself into a river or well. When the hody of such an unfortu- nate is found and identified there is manifestcd a cruel indifference to the tragedy. "After all, it is only a widow," is the usual ct)nllnent. Many child-widows llve to follow an even sadder path of self-destruction; that which destroys tile soul as well as the mortal life. The chihl-widow in India must be saved hy Catholic zeal and charity. The surest means of effecting this re- sult is the conversion and Christian edttcation of the wonlen and young girls of this land of Buddha. Our holy religion alone can effect in India the miracle that, in past cen- turies, it wrought among the senti- barharous tribes of Europe, the ele- vation of woman to an equality with man and the recognition of her dig- rely as wife and mother. In order to do our part toward the realization of this happy end we have need of an additional number of Mis- slonary Sisters who will estahlish re- lations of friendship and confidence with the women and tile young child- wives and widows and teach them the truth that will bing them consolation. May God inspire generous souls in THE SOUTHERN GUARDIAN rg. ',, i call the death, a few years since, of the poet's brother, Father Sterling, a saintly Aloysius-likc young priest of \\;Vashington, D. C., whose memory was beautifully celebrated in a sou- net by Maurice Francis Egan. Here is Mr. O'Day's story: At tile age of 15 Sterling became a Catholic and developed a prejudice against ]'resbyterianistn. To give his prejudice visible form he and another boy, who is today a prominent citi- zen of San Francisco, climbed at mid- night to the top" of tile steeple of the I)reshyterian Church, 1I 5 feet in the air, and fastened an Irish flag to the i lightning rod above the weather ;vane. In tile morning, however, tile flag had blown away. I Nothing daunted, the lads tried again, this time with a priate flag. It was a piece of huntin 9xi2 feet, with the skull and cross-bones on one side and the cross on the other. "When wc were two blocks away frotn the church," said Sterling, "we could still hear that ttag flapping in tile wind." Next morning Sag Harbor was in ;in nl/roar. "There was ,lot a member of the church who would dare go up to the top of that steeple and take the flag down. ]t stayed there for three clays and then they had to bring a steeple jack from llrooklyn, who charged them $2oo for taking it down. The New York papers were full of the af- fair and l was a hero. But the Pres- I)yterians go t ahead of me. They made a crazy quilt out of the flag and raffled it for $5oo. I saw I couldn't 1)eat Presbyterian comnaercialism, so left Sag tlarbor."\\;Vestern Vatch- nlan. i THE BAGGAGE SMASHER STORY. Just Why This Onc Familiar Tale Is Missing From Current Literature. "How is it," the traveler asked the railroad man, "that we don't hear any more stories nowadays about the baggage smasher?" "\\;Vell' said the railroad man, "more care in handling the passengers' bag- gage is required nowadays, for one thing, and as hetween the trunk smasher and the trunk maker the sit- nation is about the same as that be- tween the armored ship huilder and the projectile manufacturer, first one is ahead and then the other. One day you may have a ship that cant' he perforated, but the next day may put the projectile aheaC "There have been improvements in trunk making, as in all things else, and just now you find a good many trunks that are solid and rugged, well huilt and well adapted to stand the strain of travel and rough handling, hard to smash. With this advance in trunk building the trunk smasher is somewhat overmatched, placed at a disadvantage, and so the. trunk smashing story goes, for a time at least, into decline; but a new and greater and stronger breed of trunk smasher may at any moment arise, and if that day should come, why, then the trunk smasher will be again on top and we shall have a gladsome revival of trunk smashing stories with tnodern frills and attachments."--The Sun. PRESBYTERIAN ORGAN AND THE BLESSED MOTHER. The Mother of Jesus."Is this a startling subject for an editorial or a sermon in a Protestant newspaper or pulpit?" asks the editor of the United Presbyterian iu an article on the Blessed Virgin appearing in that pa- per a short time ago. "Yes, brother," remarks, the Ave Maria, "it certainly is startling, especially so as regards Presbyterians, and we venture to say that no Preshyterian person in read- ing your editorial was more starteled ; than ourselves. To us it was like hearing the rattle of dry bones, for we well remember ta have seen some ye{trs ago, in a Presbyterian cate- Funeral I)esl00ns ! 1 .......... I Also Artistic Floral Tokens for Weddings a specialty VESTAL'S, 409 Matn St. P. M. PALER, Manager. Phone 463 After business hours call 687 Christian lands to lend their aid to ........................................................................... "Too Busy Ever to Close." Open 24 Hours Daily What a convenience it is in case of sudden illness to be ahle to get medicine any hour of the night. We have a qualified prescription clerk on duty all night, and whether it is a prescrlptFon, a proprietary medi- cine or any simple remedy, we maintain a FREE DELIVERY ALL NIGHT, as well, of course, as all day. ZEISLER'S Pharmacy this project, and may He multiply the numbers of vocations to the work of of the foreign missions among pious young wolnen. For naaterial aid we adtnit that we look especially to the Society for the Propagation of the 1:aith. We feel that its associates, in their charity and zeal, will assist us to do some- thing more than has hitherto heen at- tcml)ted, to improve the condition of :lae women ira India. UNDER THE LIBRARY LAMP. (By Mrs. S. M. O'Malley.) A good story is told by Edward F. O'Day, a keen-witted Western Cath- olic writer, about George Sterling, whose new volume of poems, "The House of Orchids," is just out. Ster- ling, it will he remembered, is the poet whose "Wine of Wizardry" cre- ated such a stir in the literary camp tWO years ago. Readers will also re- chism, a reference to the Mother of ()ru Lord so horrihly OPl)robrious as to excite wonder how any ordinary decent person could have penned it. But--thank God--tithes have changed and Preshyterians have claanged with them. Witness these passages from the editorial in question: "We set hefore ourselves for exana- ples the virtues of other Bihle characters. \\;Ve study the character and extol the virtues of tile disciples, )rol)hets, saints and early Christians. Sermons are tilled with references to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the naother of Zebedee's children), Simon's wife and tuother, and many otlacr women, but the naother of Jesus is a]nlost ignored ill nlore than one Protestant pulpit. Surely there is tao reason why we shouhl refusc or neg- lect to honor her who was and is "blessed among women." "That which makes her character grcater is her faith, shown in ]her naeek- hess, hutnility, quietness, fidelity, obc- dicnce and love. All these things, and His death itslf did not triunal)la )verherfaith. We need herintheupper room, with those who trusted t-litn, lust after His Ascension. She naust have heard Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost and witnessed the won- derful ingathering that followed, and that nlust have gone far to heal the hnrt ita her heart. She was the incar- nation of :ill that is pure and sweet m wonaanhood and motherhood. 'Blessed is she that hellevedY Bless- ed also ftre ye that believe." There is more of the article that might lie quoted, but it would he commonphtce to Catholic readers. We congratulate the editor of the United Presbyterian on his courage in pul)- lishing such an article, and we hope that as the years go by he and all his brethren will "grow in knowledge of Our Lord and Savior" and iu venera- tion for His Virgin Mother, who prophesied of herself, "Behold, frona henceforth all generations shall call nae blessed."--Catholic Bulletin. BREAKING IT EASY. Sinapkins was soft-hearted. This is "-hat hc wrote: "Dear Mrs. Jones--Your hushand c,mnot come honae today because his bathing suit was washed away. P. S.Poor Jones was inside the suit."--National Monthly. J Why take a chance on any new or unkown brand of GAS STOV The Quick Meal is an old re- liable, well known line and one that is very complete. It includes all disirable styles and sizes. |Beautifully fin- ished and moderately priced i 00'OSTED |HARDWAREI | = COMPANY 301-303 MAIN STREET -= =-_ II :.: IHIIItllI11ttlltltt ttIllttlllltllttllttlllltt-ii_ i i i Save Today Thinte of Tomorrow State Bank Building. We Pay per cent on Savings Southern Trust Co. Southern Trust Building Holding Back Your Live Stock will be no easy task if there is a meal of our lead or grain ahead of them. They will be too eager to get at it. Your stock know good [eed and grain when it is offered them. Feed yours with ours; they will express appreciation of the treat in better condition, better ap- pearance and better service. Wm. E. 0verstreet Grain Co. SEVENTH AND CENTER STS. Phones 19. 39 and 629 The German National Bank OF LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS CAPITAL, $300,000 Founded 1878 Surplus and Profits. $350.000 R. A. LITTLE, President E.T. REAVES, Cnshler R.H. THOMPSON. Ass't Cnsh'e O. P. ROBINSON, V.-Pres. D. G. FONES, V-Pres. M.H. LONG, Aas't Cush'r uur mrge list of correspondents and the superior equipment of our Colhctlon Department afford unequalled facilhles foe handlinu all busiaess entrusted to us. The conterva,ve yet pmleuive methm]s which have characterized the manase- ment of this bank have  only marked its hlstory with sucu, "but assure continued safety and satidaction to its patrons. WE PAY INTEREST ON TIME CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT We respectfully |nvlte Accounts of those who desire a Safe DepoMtory for their Funds THE AHHUNCIATIOH ACADEMY England National Conducted by SISTERS OF CHARITY, OF NAZARETH BANK cm,A,. ,,oo.ooo.oo Cawiey Grocery CO. J. E. DIGLAND. President C.T. COFFMAN. V..Prll DEALERS IN J. E. GtAND. Jr., Cashitr ROCK, ARK. 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Remme], Pres. Emmet Morris, Treas. - = Max Heiman, Vice Pres. R.W. Ne,ell, Atmt. See'y. Satistaetion or . W.L. Hemingway, See'y. Fred gehmttz, Trust 0flieer. money back _ _-- P IIIl.lllllllllllllllllllllllllllll|llllllllllll I|||||1I