"I Have Two Daughters," He Explained, "One Five, The Other Six
If I do not find a husband for the eldest of them in
the course of the coming year, she will grow too old to get married,
nobody will think of espousing her.
Suppose I suffer my caste to
excommunicate me, both my girls will be dishonored and miserable
for the rest of their lives. Then, again, I must take into
consideration the superstitions of my old mother. If such a
misfortune befell me, it would simply kill her....."
But why should he not free himself from every bond to Brahmanism
and caste? Why not join, once for all, the ever-growing community
of men who are guilty of the same offence? Why not ask all his
family to form a colony and join the civilization of the Europeans?
All these are very natural questions, but unfortunately there is
no difficulty in finding reasons for answering them in the negative.
There were thirty-two reasons given why one of Napoleon's marshals
refused to besiege a certain fortress, but the first of these
reasons was the absence of gunpowder, and so it excluded the
necessity of discussing the remaining thirty-one. Similarly the
first reason why a Hindu cannot be Europeanized is quite sufficient,
and does not call for any additional ones. This reason is that by
doing so a Hindu would not improve his position. Were he such an
adept of science as to rival Tyndall, were he such a clever politician
as to eclipse the genius of Disraeli and Bismarck, as soon as he
actually had given up his caste and kinsmen, he would indubitably
find himself in the position of Mahomet's coffin; metaphorically
speaking, he would hang half-way between the earth and the sky.
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