ALL INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS JAMSHED...
ALL INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
The sessions of the All India Conference of Social W o r k were held from the 6th to 9th November,
1947. M r . Jamshed Nusseswanjee, ex-Mayor of Karachi, presided. The presidential address is printed below.
With the honour and privilege of tional waves do not constitute the strength
presiding at an important gathering like in social work, for very soon this enthu-
this All-India Conference of Social Work, siasm cools down and is followed by
goes also a sense of responsibility. And this feelings of tiredness and indifference.
weighs heavily for two reasons: First,
What does social work imply in India ?
because one feels keenly conscious of one's What is its scope? What type of agency
own shortcomings for the task. Secondly, does it need to work its details? What has
there are around experts with All-India so far been done in this field in the country ?
reputation in the field of social sciences, What is the next step? These are the
men and women, more competent to fill this
questions which need urgent attention and
noble chair. However, the choice is made study.
and has been gratefully accepted.
To think of social work in India is to
Social work in our country in modern come to grips with numerous problems
times is a stupendous task. Many factors that are staggering. Indeed it seems as if all
have contributed to the complexity of the the ills of society have aggregated in their
problem. And yet it is one that demands intensity amidst us. There is the appalling
immediate attention, especially in these poverty giving rise to disease, malnutrition,
days of social insecurity created by so and moral degeneracy. There is the pro-
many events in the country. In a time of blem of insanity and juvenile delinquency,
upheavals whether political or social, social enfeebled motherhood, neglected, un-
services constitute as important a national wanted children, the disabled, the crippled,
unit as fighting forces in the ordinary sense the illiterate, the beggar, the criminal, the
of the word; for while one battles on oppressed and the innocent in the hands
geographical frontiers to keep out the ene-
of the profiteer, the black-marketeer, and
my, the other has its work on social the blood-sucking money-lender who loans
frontiers to preserve human values without out at 100, 200 and 500 per cent interest.
which life would not be worth living. There again is the problem of the unnoticed,
Hence the convening of a conference like unencouraged youth who could be made a
the present one is opportune and not a day useful citizen but who is neglected and de-
too early. For the country needs the nied the opportunity to be trained into
strength, love and service of all its people, useful citizenship.
to help it to tide over difficulties with the
For so stupendous a task we need a
minimum of pain and misery. The task of strong agency to work out various schemes.
re-installing security demands a steady And this can only be supplied by the State
co-operation between the State and the and its local bodies. Individual effort at its
people, it needs a right social outlook, a best can but fall far short of the require-
practical technique, human understanding, ments, and can only be useful as a strong
strong organisation and dedication. Emo-
co-ordinating unit. As things exist in our

200 JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
country, there has been little or no co-
The city of Bombay has played a very
ordination between the State and private great part in building such charitable
endeavours. This is so because the State institutions and have always led the whole
and local bodies believe that social service country. It has produced charitable and
is outside their scope. A State is ordinarily philanthropic women and men and some
supposed to be an institution of adminis-
servants of the country whose names
tration for the safety, defence and pros-
will ever be remembered with gratitude.
perity of the country. A local body is There also exist other institutions offering
expected to be at its best, a means of water-
scope for social work in other cities and
supply, road-cleaning, an administration for parts of the country—now the two Domini-
sanitation, some dispensaries and hospitals, ons—and in several States, carrying out
to extinguish fires when they occur and last, useful work. A fairly good number of
but the most important, an institution of social workers are employed all round
tax collection to meet all expenses. This has the country of whom only a few are wholly
been a very unfortunate one-sided develop-
and fully dedicated to the service of their
ment of both—the States and local bodies fellow-men.
in our country. The fundamental fact has
been missed that States and local bodies
The questions which arise out of all the
are meant to be Temples of Social Service, social work of the past and present and out
not machines to manage certain well-
of experiences gained, are "Is it enough?"
defined departments of necessary human ' 'Is social work in our country on the right
needs. No doubt we need administrators track?" The answers to both these questions
but an administrator who is not, or cannot are quite clear. What has been done and is
be, a devotee in the Temple of Service can being done is very very little. It is also
never play the right role in the rhythmic obvious that social work in our country
organism of life to bring joy and happiness needs a totally different method, a new
in the hearts of the people. Our modem approach.
i social work is more artificial, half-hearted,
If the statistical figures of the amount
mechanical, emotional and therefore tem-
of money and energy spent in last 30 to 40
porary and patronising. Many a time it is years in our country are worked out and
irritable and irksome to those to whom it is measured and the results calculated and
offered.
recorded, it would be easy to find out
where we have erred, where we need to
While the State has worked thus apply changes and what are our real needs.
mechanically, the individual has had a It would be revealed to us that we have
different approach. To help, to be useful as yet only touched the problem super-
to their brothers and sisters is a natural ficially.
aptitude of the individual. With these
instincts, institutions have grown up here
In this vast country of two Dominions,
and there, some few for serving the country several Provinces, so many States, munici-
as a whole, some to serve people of different
palities, local bodies, charitable institu-
provinces and districts and more to serve tions, trusts and thousands of individual
particular communities and sections be-
social workers, we yet find ourselves in the
c ause the donors have built, established midst of poverty, ignorance and dirt so
and donated such institutions for the rampant that the problems appear out of
benefit of their own communities.
control. This is because the work is unor-

A L L INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK—PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 201
ganised, uncoordinated and undertaken by present day communal struggles, labour
untrained workers. The donor believes that problem, profiteering and black-marketing
with the giving of charity his work has would have been very much less and the
ended, but there is no effort to see that the country could have been saved from con-
inflow of wealth continues to keep the siderable misery. But there is no time to
institution running. The worker labours for mourn or shed tears. No thing short of
some time in enthusiasm, and when organised and trained social work with a
funds run low and no more is forthcoming, large band of devoted and dedicated mis-
he is discouraged and his enthusiasm is sionaries of social work can bring the
damped. The huge buildings remain— country out from its present chaos. W h o
monuments of noble work undertaken so is to begin it ? Present legislative machinery
warmly but with weak foundations.
to administrate states and local bodies
protect chiefly the capialists. It will and
Can private charities and institutions must bring ruin and chaos.
built up here and there solve or tackle these
huge problems? The present methods of
The British rule failed because it ad-
charity and social work can go on for two ministered and legislated mostly for the
centuries, but miseries will never cease, will capitalist of the country without giving any
continue to increase. Millions and millions impetus to social work leaving it entirely to
of rupees will have been spent and tons of private organizations and satisfying large
energy will have been wasted. Poverty, donors here and there with titles and
feebleness, ill-health, infirmity will increase praises. The new Governments of our two
and the world will be a human wreckage for Dominions must realise, and realise very
many, and a place of reckless pleasures for quickly that a large scale intelligent drive
the few.
has to be made to co-ordinate Governments,
States, local bodies, private efforts at social
The Parsee community gives a clear work and dedicated missionaries of social
illustration of this state of affairs. It has work to save the country from greater
charitable institutions of various types in miseries. If not, their failure will be greater
almost every quarter of this city. It has than that of the British rule.
donated, for a small community of not
more than 75,000 persons in Bombay,
Today, rajas, maharajas, nawabs and
between 15 to 40 lakhs per year on an capitalists are busy manipulating their
average for the last 20 years or more. capital where they can save income tax or
With what result? There is no visible keep their investments more safe. They fly
decrease of poverty or misery. It is all the their capital from one dominion to another,
time only ' 'Relief and Relief" from this or from one country to another in expectation
that, escaping from one ill to another. To of its safety. Little do they realise that
give in charities, to supply essential needs nature quietly smiles and plans exactly
is not the main object of social work; what is to be the final end of that capital.
but to give opportunities, amenities and It is time for all to open their eyes more
right guidance to those who lack these widely.
to enable them to take a step forward in
II
life is the true aim.
The scope of this conference is very
If there had been inspired and genuine ably drafted and split up for discussion in 8
social work throughout the country, the sections, which cover several problems of

202 JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
social work in the country. A hurried and trained to part with a portion of their
glance at some of these with some personal wealth in the form of taxations or duties
suggestions and views is the subject of the to provide for this total social work of the
second part of this address.
country. They must be made to realise that
this is the safest way to safeguard the re-
Section I
maining portion of their capital and a right
State and social service.—A total state royal middle path to balance the affairs of
planning and co-ordinating is the only way life.
if the country is to remain in peace and
How shall we set about the task?—One
prosperity. Having achieved "Liberty" it of the methods should be a special mone-
can only be kept up and maintained by tary fund or bank where an initial sum
"equality and fraternity" without which from a capital wealth levy of 5 to 25 per
liberty has no meaning, no purpose. If this cent from each citizen, graded according to
is not done, our liberty itself is in danger. recommendations of a special committee,
For social work in total and complete form, be deposited and an annual income both
all problems have to be taken into con-
from Government realisations and special
sideration—wages, earnings, housing,
taxes can be added. Those who have more
clothing, feeding, infirmity, old age, insanity, than they need, have to see the "Signs of
health, education, nutrition, leisure and the Times." Only a few days ago our great
relaxation, motherhood, infantile diseases Premier, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, said at
and mortality, cattle welfare, milk produc-
Allahabad that social democracy was the
tion, food production and several other ideal of Hindustan. Pakistan has the
vital needs of the country. All these can be same ideals. If this can be fulfilled
catalogued and considered carefully. It by willing co-operation, it will avoid
will be necessary to have these different chaos, struggles and will safeguard capital
problems discussed and full reports obtain-
sufficiently and more for the comfortable
ed through a central committee of experts needs of those who have it. If it has to be
for the whole country, and provincial forced, it will not lead to social democracy,
committees for each Province simultane-
but to communism. Many feel that this is
ously as was done some years ago for the
far away, it cannot happen. But when
banking problems. A co-ordinating policy things happen, they happen suddenly. An
for the Central and Provincial Governments exodus from one province to another of
with a scope for local bodies and municipal 20 to 40 lakhs of persons was never dreamt
corporations, and allowing therein the of a week before 15th August, 1947. A
fullest opportunities also to private chari-
complete change of property, of wealth, a
ties to fit in with the scheme, will make complete turn in life from richness to
ideal planning for practical social service poverty for thousands and lakhs of people
and work. In our country there are brains was not even imagined. Yet it has happened.
and hearts. The new liberty has created Sitting in Bombay it can never be realised
imagination and will for the happiness of what chaos, miseries, pains, sufferings,
the country and the present stage full of bitterness it has meant. Capital, wealth,
enthusiasm is the best opportunity.
trade, business, palatial houses, furniture,
cars and all such modern comforts of life
Side by side with this co-ordination the
lost almost overnight. When one sees
country should be prepared to realise its institutions built with love and hard
duties. Capitalists, the rich, millionaires labour, destroyed, devastated, empty, thou-
and multi-millionaires have to be persuaded

A L L INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK—PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 203
sands and lakhs homeless, jobless, rooted of defectives, crippled, disabled has to be
out of employment, trade and profession, made and last but not the least we must
motherless, fatherless, without relations, be vigilant about the problem of infectious
friendless, aimless,—all this happening with-
diseases. At present vaccination and inocula-
in 3 weeks, one is dazed. Only total social tions to 'prevent' epidemics or not to allow
service can save our countrymen from such them to spread are supposed to be the
calamities in future. Communal or sectional best health services which are being ren-
work, howsoever noble, must separate and dered in our country and that too in a few
one day collapse through hatred, bitterness places here and there. It is necessary that a
and wars. Those who can see, let them minimum adequate should be fixed for all-
learn to be human and help to bring about round health services in our country,
social democracy willingly, happily, joy-
beginning from antenatal period, maternity
fully admitting the right of each human welfare, defects and disabilities of children
being to live happily in the world.
and should be continued for different
periods of life. For each period a minimum
Health services.—Health services have adequate should be prescribed. Health
a prominent place amidst total State ser-
agencies should be increased all round for
vices. Yet in this country so little has been treatment and care of the sick with hospitals
done and so much yet remains to be done. and clinics made freely accessible and econo-
The vitality of most of our countrymen and mical to our people. Education on health in
women is sapped and low, millions die schools through charts, movies, exhibitions,
young, suffering and ailing from diseases and also to mothers is essential. Cheaper,
which could have been avoided by care, simpler and natural methods of cure are
knowledge, education, and treatment. So more important. Modern civilisation is
far it has been left to the individual to find dragging us to such costlier methods of
out the best means he can to get educated, to treatment of diseases and the sick that it
safeguard himself from diseases or to find will become impossible for any State in the
out means to be cured. Few municipalities world to afford it. Our country is too
here and there have certain laws of sanita-
poor to accept completely modern re-
tion, some dispensaries and hospitals.-
searches in drugs and treatment. If our
Health has been commercialised and belief ancient science of Ayurvedic and Unnani
in drugs has spread everywhere opening a is revived and if education is given on these
field for a number of companies to advertise methods with science and research added,
and sell their drugs at 20 and 50 times simpler and less costly methods of cure
more than the cost. To give wide knowledge could be evolved, and universally accepted.
how to secure good health does not seem Homeopathy and nature methods of cure
to be the duty of the health department of and treatment have also a great scope in our
the municipalities. "We have now begun to country, because they are much cheaper
recognise compulsory primary education as and no less effective if properly and scienti-
a minimum for the child. But what about fically offered. Much has been said and
his health ? There ought to be a recognition written about health insurance in our
of a minimum at least for health services country both voluntary and compulsory.
throughout the country, where a well-
In other countries it has been practised
planned health programme will cater first with much success where medical, sana-
to the education of every citizen in personal toriums, sickness, maternity and disable-
hygiene. A systematic plan for treatment ment benefits are being offered. The masses

204 JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
in our country too will benefit from his improvement, and his return to a cul-
similar advantages. Here also it will be tured and civilized society. Very little of all
necessary for a special committee to work this is yet introduced in our country, but
hard and give us a report on what lines our it is hoped that these new reforms will soon
country could take up for health insurance. find a place both in the prison-house and
There are arguments against provision of prison legislation.
health insurances, but in the end the
Adult education.—In a country like
country will demand what men and women ours with illiteracy so widespread and igno-
in other countries are enjoying and no rance sitting at the roots of all our problems
time should be lost by us to put our adult education appears to be a salient
minds together and evolve a rational remedy, and yet, its application in this,
human system of health insurance.
as in most other fields, has been unsystema-
Prison reforms.—The problem of the tic and haphazard, making the experiment
criminal and prison reforms is one where costly and fruitless. What we have not
much advance is made by research and realised is the fact that the problem of
study and where psychology is used to its adult education in India is not necessarily
utmost advantage. This has brought about the same as the problem in other—especially
a new attitude towards the criminal and western countries. While the fundamental
the law-breaker. It is now realised that there
need is the same, the social structure,
are many social factors which contribute mental development, range of receptivity,
to criminality besides hereditary weak-
level of emotional and intellectual progress
nesses, such as unhealthy environment in differ and hence must differ also the method.
early childhood, unhappy home, lack of A great difficulty that has been experienced
education resulting in moral and mental by the social worker in this field is the
unwillingness of the adult to be educated
under-development and hard economic or made literate. That is because the adult
conditions. This outlook has brought the does not feel that education will touch
criminal within the pale of human con-
his interests in any way, that his effort will
sideration and sympathy, and prison re-
have some real value in his improvement
form is very slowly but surely, tending and well-being. The worker therefore must
more towards reformation of the criminal, study the adult and find out his interests
than his punishment, at least in other and begin the education in that subject
countries. This brings the question under which interests him. It is only then that the
two heads:
adult will realise the value of such educa-
(1) To utilise this new knowledge tion. The brain-trust of the country must
and understanding in dealing tackle the problem efficiently and yet with
with the criminal.
sufficient simplicity and speed to meet
its extent in numbers and urgency. Psycho-
( 2) To eradicate those causes, here- logy will play an important role in its
ditary and environmental, which success in its application as a method and
encourage criminality.
system.
To this let the man-in-the-street add
his humanity and kindness. For it is the
Social security.—Social security is catch-
individual's attitude towards the prisoner ing the mind of the people more seriously
both when in and after he leaves the than any other phrase in the present time.
prison-house that will count a long way in The reports of experiments with various

A L L INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK—PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 205
schemes, statements of leaders at confer-
taxed most, paying duty even on his bit
ences, etc., are, widely read with greater of salt, while we enjoy exemption from
interest by men and women throughout income-tax, if we earn but Rs. 2,500 a year,
the world. In a country like ours mainly as though he earns more."
inhabited by poor men, it must attract
considerable interest and create feelings of
We have about 7,00,000 villages in this
hope, at the same time making us realise country as against only about 1,800 cities
that nothing has been done by us for the and towns. It is apparent therefore that the
millions living in ignorance, poverty and real India exists in our villages, fortunately
disease. Figures and facts about the needs uninfluenced yet by western civilization,
of our country in this direction have been and yet so neglected as to call forth the
worked out by well-known authors by above picture. The village is an important
diligent research. In an address like this, it factor in India's economic development.
is difficult to quote facts and figures, but the It is also the custodian of our culture and
country is looking forward keenly and it traditions. Any scheme therefore of India's
must be forcibly realised that the success of betterment can only begin in the villages.
the Governments of both our Dominions And it is only when the rural community
and States will depend upon such schemes is protected and well-looked after that
as can be made to meet unemployment, India's regeneration will truly begin.
sickness insurance, old age pension or
To tackle a single village in India
assistance, compensations for workmen, means to put total social service into
supply of necessities for dependent mothers practice. There will be the question of
and children, and such other services en-
health and cleanliness, removal of filth,
forced by legislation wherever necessary.
sanitation, child education, housing, roads,
Section II
veterinary aid, water supply and, above all,
Rural community development.—Pro-
means of livelihood—one of the major
problems of the villages due to economic
fessor K. N. Vaswani in one of his exploitation of the peasantry. Herein social
pamphlets—Agricultural Economics in
workers will find scope for all sorts of
India—gives a true picture of our villages experiments. Greater agricultural facilities,
and the rural community.
co-operative marketing, handicraft, weaving,
" H e who has been producing for all, cottage industries, growing vegetable, fruit
has been left nothing that he may eat; and flower gardens, dairy farms and manu-
he who has been clothing all has nothing to
facturing of pure milk products, all these
clothe himself with; the source of wealth will help to improve the villager's economic
to others, he is without wealth; the son of condition and make him self-supporting
the soil, he is without a patch of land that and hence self-respecting.
he can call his own; indebted as we all are
to him, for food and cloth and the raw
The problem does not end here. For
materials of our industries, the commodities there is the question of leisure which if
for our trade and commerce, it is he who not well-utilized can be made ill use of.
bears the great crushing burden of debt Public libraries and reading rooms, play-
on his bent shoulders; taxing himself to grounds, recreation clubs, education
the utmost to make both ends meet, with through the movies, folk-song and folk-
toiling and seeking to eat his bread in the dance, these must formulate the life of
sweat of his brow, he, is it again, who is leisure of our village communities if we

206 JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
are to drag them away from gossip, super-
brotherly contact will soon stir up senti-
stition and wrong habits.
ments of friendliness in these vast numbers
of our countrymen.
So far we have been tinkering with the
problem, applying haphazard methods,
Labour.—The problem of labour is
under untrained and often vain social in everyone's mind these days, but unfortu-
workers. The State must now step in and nately not because we have become
begin, with whatever resources available, conscious of its rights and needs, but
experiments in total social service in our because a long-term injustice and exploita-
villages.
tion have created a world-wide labour
Aboriginal welfare.—The problem of revolt, thus thrusting the problem on
aboriginal welfare has now come up in unwilling ears. Strikes and hartals spring
front, like most of our other social pro-
up periodically, demanding economic and
blems which lay festering below till tyranny social reforms of various kinds.
and exploitation brought them on the
A time has come when we must
surface through revolution and aggressive-
give a rational and well-planned reform to
ness.
this department of society, and not leave
Researches in. this problem reveal that the problem to the fads and whims or
aborigines, far from being criminal and low scrappy compensations of some directors,
class as is believed to be due to the mistakes
zamindars or industrialists. A satisfied
of a few, are a community possessing an-
industrial and agricultural labour is essential
cient and distinctive culture, religion and to production in our manufacturing con-
traditions. This culture is something superb
cerns and agricultural fields. A minimum of
in many respects, colourful, artistic and all amenities of life must be gratefully
in social status and freedom, extremely supplied to a class by whose toil and sweat
democratic.
we enjoy the luxuries of life.
One may ask how these tribes are so
Many labour problems confront us
enslaved and exploited politically. Extreme-
today, wages, and women and child labour
ly simple-minded, living in secluded colo-
being the outstanding ones. Nothing but
nies, happy and contented, they gradually understanding and sympathy of the haves,
lost ground to land hunters and oppres-
for the have-nots will bring about a satis-
sors who with their dominating attitude factory solution. Those who believe that
and grabbing methods soon overpowered by exploiting power through central and
their mastery of land. Ignorance of language,
provincial legislatures and through placing
laws and modes of their invaders kept supporters in ministerial seats and other
these classes subdued, while the selfishness high offices they will succeed in continuing
and intentional neglect of their oppressors to exploit labour must remember that
did nothing to ameliorate their condition. "the tears of the poor undermine the
Recently social service efforts have thrones of kings." They must realise that
again been directed to their welfare with labourers are also human beings whom we
outstanding results. The problem needs cannot drive too far without reaping fatal
above all a sympathetic and friendly results. By supplying their 'minimum
approach, and understanding of aboriginal budget' and by constant and humane
culture and an appreciation of his art and touch with his employees, an employer
traditions. Patient efforts and a close will succeed far more in gaining his co-

A L L INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK—PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 207
operation in work than by use of force or and have family life, they take them as un-
through legislation. It is only then that avoidable evils. Psychology and medical aids
there will be no room left for the agitators are being recommended and tried and
who are so often criticised by employers. legislation in different countries is being
Let a just legislation and wide sympathy enacted to enable people to face these pro-
unite to solve this imminent peril in the blems. But much more is required, —- to
country.
educate men, women and children to under-
stand the responsibilities and needs of
Section I I I
family life, and the place of the family unit
Family and child welfare services.—The in society. Most of these evils exist because
main problems which are to be considered of economic conditions in cities and towns
by this section of the conference are mater-
where the standard of living is much higher
nity and child welfare, education for than the income of the people and where a
marriage and family life, child guidance, good income is wasted on reckless pleasures
juvenile delinquency and the problem of the and so-called comforts, which create addi-
dependent and neglected child. These are tional problems, resulting in abortion,
problems accentuated by the modern civi-
maternal sickness, unhappy married life,
lization (or uncivilization). In ancient India super-sensitive children, delinquent juve-
these problems did not exist. Simple as niles and last but not the least, dependent
people were in those days, they were yet and unwanted children. These problems can
cultured and refined and possessed sound only be solved by ancient methods newly
knowledge on many subjects given from applied, of right living, taught by sages and
generation to generation. Maternity to hard rishis, helped by the light of science,
working mothers was not a problem. medicine and psychology. To meet the
Marriages and family life were happy and problem scientifically alone is not enough.
produced mainly happy children who were Where emotions have a strong play, faith
brought up and trained amid healthy sur-
and noble thoughts play a greater part.
roundings. Juvenile delinquency was rare
Section IV
and children were not at any time kept
dependent or neglected. All this was due to
Youth organization.—Youth organiza-
simpler, economic, friendly and cheaper tions to utilise their capacities in the well-
ways of life. The troubles have started since being of a nation are increasing. Many at-
the last 200 years and have increased to such tempts are being made to create youth
proportion that all these problems require movements, to bind youths together in
careful handling. The percentages of deaths
friendship, to afford them health and vitality
during maternity and infancy, unhappy and make them useful for the service of
marriages increasing day by day resulting in humanity. Youth is our greatest asset. It is
quarrels, separations and divorces, children unfortunate that in these days neglect of the
with defects and peculiarities and mentally youth has instilled in them racial discrimina-
retarded, unwanted children created through tion and communal feelings. One sees this in
passions of men and women, are increasing colleges, in schools and on the play-ground.
to such an extent that these problems have This unfortunate tendency has created a very
become major and important subjects in the great problem. When communal feelings
city and town life. These problems are tragic
started some years ago, it was hoped that a
and have caused youths to shrink from new generation will change that aspect, but
marriages and family life. If they do marry that hope has been completely shattered,

208 JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
There is no time here to enter into reasons, through various factors in life like wrong or
but it is vital that leaders of the country and
no education, heredity, unhealthy environ-
various communities view this subject with ment, national crisis like wars, accidents
some gravity and make earnest efforts to and economic conditions find themselves
build fraternity of youths which will bring physically and mentally handicapped to
to the country friendliness and brotherliness pursue their normal occupations in society.
which are so sorely necessary in our country.
In other countries where problems like
Our outlook hitherto has been narrow, these have cropped up due to the last two
each community desiring for their youths World Wars and other causes have made
good jobs, comfortable life, and good useful experiments in rehabilitation of
earnings with or without merit; schools and these unfortunate people. For what is
colleges are built for individual communities,
urgently needed is not to supply these
sporting teams divided on communal lines, people with livelihood in the form of
places of recreation separated for different pensions and compensations, charity and
communities, special cups and scholarships housing but to readjust them in social
marked for separate faiths, bitterness creat-
functions of life and livelihood, giving
ed in speeches of elders, moulvis and priests
such aid as is required in each case.
against communities other than their own
Some of these such as lepers have to be
are all ugly signs which create perverted segregated, and yet helped intelligently and
youths. Another youth problem is ignorance
sympathetically. Others with physical handi-
of the knowledge of the functions of body caps of another kind like the blind, lame,
and mind. This is so colossal that it is crea-
crippled have to be fitted to some work
ting problems beyond control. Another pro-
where their physical disability does not
blem is that of frustrated youths, who see hamper them. Mentally deficient brethren
with their own eyes that their brilliancy need an educational and psychological
in education, hard work, the time they gave approach.
to studies in apprenticeship have all been in
vain, and the opportunities which should
Simple and wise ways of life propagated
be theirs by right, were given to others of through right education to parents and
much less education and genius because children, minimise the increase of this
they had money or influence to help them class of society's unfortunates.
on. We must save the youths from frustra-
Prostitutes.—The problem of prosti-
tion and disappointment, and harness their tutes is truly tragic. Prostitutes are the
enthusiasm to create a beautiful world. But creation of our civilization and so-called
who has got the time to look into these society. No woman would dream of ente-
matters and feel for them? Everyone feels ring into such a profession unless she has
for his son and daughter and some for his been driven to it by man with ill-treatment,
community youths. Let youths themselves indifference and misguidance. It is not
solve the problem with the slogan ' 'Youths
enough to segregate this class. What is
of the country, unite, for your sake, for needed is society's right attitude towards
your country's sake."
women. In the city of Karachi once a
move was made to remove them and take
Section V
them outside the city. A protest came from
The handicapped and the maladjusted.— these unfortunate ladies and an opportunity
We now come to the problem of the handi-
was taken to meet and record statements
capped and the maladjusted, those who of 118 of them. This experience revealed

A L L INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK—PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 209
facts that some day will make a useful
Beggars.—We have in India about 15
publication for study. An instance may be to 20 lakhs of beggars and they constitute
quoted here—in actual words:
a vast problem which is keenly felt but
J: Sister, why are you here ?
about which very little has been done.
L: Jamshedji, a murderer convicted
Various causes have played their parts in
stands at the gallows; a king this vast problem—men driven away from
sits on his throne, you are work constituting the able bodied beggars,
sitting in your bungalow; I am the handicapped forced to these means
sitting here; each one sits and through lack of any other employment and
stands where God wills him or care provided for them, the waifs and
her to do so.
orphans left on streets without orphanages
to shelter them, children sold to profes-
J: Sister, God who has sent you sional beggars by parents due to economic
here has now arranged for you conditions, sadhus and fakirs, real and
to come out of this.
faked, who live by begging and last but the
. L: Jamshedji, where will you take most menacing to society—the idle man,
me?
the professional beggar taking these means
J: Do not be afraid, everything will
to earn livelihood without effort.
be arranged for you. You will
This classification makes it clear that
get your food, clothing and a the problem is not one by itself but is the
home. Do come out of this life. result of the neglect of the rest of our pro-
L: But Jamshedji, clothing, food blems, and solutions speedily applied to this
and house are not my problems.
problems will automatically reduce the
I am getting these comfortably beggar evil to a minimum. Social neglect has
even now. Will you take me produced the beggar, social vigilance must
back into society, to your absorb him back again to healthy conditions
sister, and allow me to sit of life and livelihood. This seems to be
down by her side? Will you the fundamental remedy. All other reme-
treat me as a friend ?
dies—so far suggested like segregation,
Jamshedji had no answer to give. He poor houses, employment, education of
knew how impossible this was with modern
beggar children, making begging a legal
society. Friends, these are hard facts. offence, all these will but temporarily
Prostitutes are made by society, driven mitigate the evil. They are useful to a
out, made to suffer and are then offered degree to solve the present problem but
bits of food or clothing. But is the society only a total social service will contribute
prepared to take them back as friends? an ultimate remedy.
Will society forget their past? Will society
offer them its sons in marriage? Society
Sections VI and V I I
creates prostitutes, drags them down and
Private philanthropy.—Naturally a
then takes pride in its own superiority question will arise as to what place private
against these poor uncared for ones, left to philanthropy and social service efforts have
the viciousness of men who use them and in a total state-organised social service
then make them haggard and unfit for life. organism. The rightful place will be seen
The problem and cure both are not in when one can learn to offer these gifts
these unfortunate ones, but of and with as a part of one's duties to the State. It will
the society.
take a long time before human mind can

210 JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
forget the words "Charity," "Donations,"
Section V I I I
"Subscriptions," "Monuments," " M e -
Training and equipment of social
morials." Feelings in this country especially workers.—Within this address, suggestions
are much attached to these words, per-
have been made that universities should
petuating names, gaining fame, giving chari-
take up as early as possible the training
ties as good and holy deeds to earn rest of social workers. The Tata Institute of
and peace in Heaven, or as religious duties Social Sciences has shown the right direc-
towards one's community or humanity, tion of the usefulness and potentialities of
to please God and his Prophet and to such training. The importance of this
satisfy one's conscience. Yet, it has to be education has not yet been realised in our
realised that to offer one's surplus wealth country, and the result is that the nation is
to one's State for total social service is suffering without planning and without
more noble, religious and preferable to any trained social workers. There are yet a
other way of parting with one's wealth. large number in our country who feel that
Instincts of charity and donations are not no training is necessary for social work
to be killed. Only they are required to be and only feelings of devotion and sympathy
diverted to a higher level. A day will come are required, but that is not true. Not only
and must come, when this will be under-
education in sociology is necessary, but
stood by all. Then alone private charity, organising social welfare with scientific
social work and private philanthropy will treatment, research bureaus, federation of
get a rightful place and fit in the larger various societies are all necessary steps.
national welfare scheme.
Dr. Kewal Motwani, a well-known socio-
logist, has suggested that all these should be
One of the functions of a provincial brought under the aegis of one central
committee suggested in the first section organisation, an Indian Academy of Social
of this address will be, to make a scheme Sciences, which should have annual sessions
for total service in the province, and so in the capitals of the Dominions. All
divide the scheme into small sections of high school teachers and college professors
work, that a private donor or philanthropist should be made to join this academy.
may be able to take up one of the sections His further suggestion is that this academy
and make his philanthropy useful in that should have two sections, Research and
direction. Even a humbler and a poorer Training, in permanent sessions, and above
man can have scope in offering his mite all at the top, in the Central Government,
to any of these sections where money is there should be, under personal direction
needed and will be needed. Today there of the President or of the Premier of the
are several philanthropists and charitable Dominion, an Indian Science Foundation,
persons who desire and even have reserved comprising of the cream of experts on
large sums of money for giving away, but physical, biological, social, medical and
they grope in the dark; they are afraid, other applied sciences for purposes of
they do not know in whose hands to quick and efficient mobilization of all
entrust their money. They get confused social services, for the service of the nation.
with different suggestions from friends. In This training and education of social
certain instances rich persons have died workers should no longer be delayed,
without carrying out their desire of giving because a large number will be required in
large sums in charity in absence of proper the service of the country very soon, if the
planning.
country has to be saved from tragic con-

A L L INDIA CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL WORK—PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 211
sequences of under-social mentality in socially, devotedly and permanently, bands
which a large number of people flounder of monks and nuns, sevaks and sevikas
and collapse as we have seen during the could be gathered not only in hundreds
last two months. Indeed one realises now but in thousands from all faiths, castes and
with full intensity how beneficial it would creeds. Such missionaries are born and
have been had our country some such not made. But the selfishness of the world
social service agency in this hour of great kills such noble instincts from very child-
crisis. A good deal of this misery brought hood. Late Dr. Vail, a well-known mis-
about by fear, mistrust, selfishness and sionary surgeon of the Miraj Hospital,
hatred could have been avoided.
once questioned, said that missionaries
were not obtained in adult age. The eyes of
III
those who sought them fell on children and
Missionary spirit.—Today in this coun-
youths during their school life or in col-
try a large number of men, women and leges. Such children and youths were"
youths exist with earnest longing to dedicate selected, trained and guided by the mission
themselves to the cause of human better-
and all the expenses were paid for their
ment. They yearn and long to find a scope training and upkeep, and such youths
where they can get a simple livelihood and became missionaries giving up everything,
be enabled to work hard not for themselves,
devoting all their life to service. Such
but for others. We have proofs of this in missionaries are needed in our country,
abundance. When the call comes, when regardless of castes or creeds. The elders
leadership attracts, when feelings and emo-
could select, guide and become the heads
tions of service are raised to the highest of such missions in different groups in
pitch a large number rush forth to offer different provinces. These sevaks and
help. Today in this country such youths sevikas, and monks and nuns, in whatever
are scattered, leaderless, spending their circumstances or place they may be called
energy in aimless work which they feel is to serve, will be the shining social workers
the cause of the country. These men, in the cause of humanity. Such missions
women and youths are politically and from our country then can go even to other
socially-minded and in them exist a mis-
countries where there is sickness and
sionary spirit which if well-guided and suffering and make India great, in name and
directed would be a valuable treasure to fame all round the world. Such an oppor-
the social work of the country. They will tunity of dedication for men, women and
make the work less costly and more useful youths of the country will create a mighty
being dedicated to the cause of humanity. spiritual force for true Blessing or Grace.
A number of them are detached, or can be This creative spiritual force is our vital
detached from the ties of worldly pleasures, need today. Our country cannot become
if there are leaders who can lead such international merely by political links.
lives themselves and can call others to International means inter-human and our
this vital need of the country. In history, country must achieve that goal. A quotation
social workers with missionary spirit have from Allama Iqbal will be a fitting end
played a wonderful part and it will be a to this address. Said the Allama in a New
great mistake on the part of the country to Year's message, "Remember, man can be
allow such a spirit to be subdued, depressed, maintained on this earth only by honouring
curbed and wasted. If they call men, mankind, and this world will remain a
women and youths to serve the country battleground of ferocious beasts of prey

212 JAMSHED NUSSERWANJEE
unless and until the educational forces of wealthy industrialists, and traders have a
the whole world are directed towards place in the country. But let it not be
inculcating in man respect for mankind. forgotten that there is a limit beyond which
National unity is not a very durable force. wealth and capital should not be allowed
Only one unity is dependable and that to accumulate, treasured or used for fancy
unity is Brotherhood of Man, which is and luxurious living, aimlessly wasting
above race, nationality, colour or language. man's power and energy. Governments and
So long as this so-called democracy, this capitalists both have to see the "Signs of
accursed nationalism and this degraded the Times." They cannot be blind to the
imperialism are not shattered, so long men forces which are mustering strong. The
do not demonstrate by their actions that path of the country can only lie on the
they believe that the whole world is the principle of "happiness of all" and "hap-
family of God, so long as distinction of piness to him through whom happiness to
race, colour and 'geographical' nationalities others."
are not wiped out completely, they will
Years ago the Mantram given to this
never be able to lead a happy and contented country was "Purna Self-Government."
life, and the beautiful ideals of liberty, It took 41 years after its proclamation to
equality and fraternity will never materia-
achieve it. Let the slogan now be changed,
lise."
to "Purna Samaj Seva," total social
Total social service and work, planned service for the country, and let us pray
for the country, is the only solution. that it may not take 41 years to achieve,
Governments are too keen today to save and that it may much sooner be achieved to
private enterprises and industries, trade bless the country with its many gifts to-
and capital lest these may sabotage the wards attaining true and lasting happiness.
prosperity of the country. The capitalist, Amen!