NOTES AND COMMENTS MISS BEATRICE BUDDEN (1890-1942) THROUGH the sudden...
NOTES AND COMMENTS
MISS BEATRICE BUDDEN (1890-1942)
THROUGH the sudden death of Miss B. Budden on July 17th of this year,
Bombay has lost not only its first full-time Juvenile Court Magistrate
soon after her appointment, but a truly sincere and earnest social work-
er. Miss Budden was interested in social work from early life and she re-
ceived her first training in Birmingham at the well-known Quaker Social Cen-
tre. After her arrival in India, she worked in a girls' industrial school near
Delhi and spent about two and a half years studying rural life and conditions
in an Indian village. Miss Budden's connections with Bombay itself date
from the time she returned to India after her training in the London School
of Economics where she obtained a certificate in Social Service. On her return
in 1937 to India, she was appointed Secretary to The Children's Aid Society,
Bombay, and Superintendent of The Umerkhadi Remand Home; later she was
appointed as Chief Probation Officer to the Juvenile Court as well. From
then onwards, Miss Budden contributed much to the improvement of the Pro-
bation Service in the city. She strove hard throughout to secure the services
of as adequate a number of well trained probation officers as possible to cope
with the ever-increasing amount of work.
A matter to which Miss Budden rightly paid a great deal of attention
was the question of providing some kind of occupation for the mental welfare
of children. She tried always to procure for the children of the Umerkhadi
Home training and opportunities for working in different kinds of crafts, and
she was generous enough to provide for such training herself when it could not
be secured in other ways. She had a soft corner in her heart for the mentally
defective children also, and infinite patience and sympathy for them. It was
largely due to her that the mentally defective children were taught different
kinds of satisfying and interesting handcraft whereas previously all that they
did was to make small paper-bags.
Another contribution of Miss Budden's was in the nature of providing a
Foster Home for children in whose case it was felt that the best psychological
treatment would be in the nature of providing a foster home. Foster home
placement was almost unknown in Bombay for delinquent children or children
with behaviour problems, and it was due to Miss Budden's genuine love and
sympathy for them and her knowledge of child psychology which prompt-
ed her to initiate such Foster Home Treatment and carry it out successfully.
NOTES AND COMMENTS
The spirit behind the sympathy and care which she bestowed on these children
by being a mother to them was also noticeable in her general attitude to all the
hundreds of children who have been in the Umerkhadi Home and others with
whom she came in contact. As Superintendent of the Remand Home, she was
exceedingly popular, and considering its restricting atmosphere and confining
nature, her popularity indicates clearly how genuine must have been the
sympathy and care she bestowed upon the children in her charge.
Helpful, friendly, amiable and generous to a fault, Miss Budden was a
sincere friend to those who knew her and through her death Bombay has lost
not only its first Juvenile Court Magistrate, an Office which she held with dis-
tinction, but a genuine social worker as well, and her friends and admirers have
lost a sincere and friendly soul, ever ready to lend a helping hand, free from
prejudices based on race or religion, but concerned with the one thought of the
amelioration of the lot of the children under her care, and of the establish-
ment of progressive and scientific methods in dealing with the problems of ju-
venile delinquency. We bemoan her death and hope that her spirit will con-
tinue to live in the minds and hearts of those who had the privilege of being
her fellow workers in the major field of her activities here in India.
THE MISSION TO LEPERS
THE official census of 1931 states that there are only 147,911 lepers in India.
But the report of the Committee, appointed by the Central Advisory
Board of Health to report on leprosy and its control in India, says that
the true incidence is on an average eight times this figure and that in some
highly infected areas the incidence may be from 5 to 10 per cent of the popu-
lation surveyed. The very haphazard and meagre attention paid to the cure
and control of leprosy in India makes it probable that the number is still on
the increase. "What is being done at random by private and public agencies
does not touch even the fringe of the problem. Among the few agencies that
are at work, very commendable work is being done by the Indian Auxiliary
Branch of the International Mission to Lepers. The well-illustrated and neat
Report of the Mission for the year 1940-41 tells us of the excellent work that is
being done in 40 homes in 8 provinces of British India ; 2 homes in Burma
and 7 homes in seven Indian States. The total number of inmates in these 47
homes are 10,109 among whom 934 are healthy children who were saved from
the ravages of this disease. Among the 9,655 leper inmates 969 are children,
3,177 are women and 5,509 are men. During the year 5,934 out-patients also
were treated. Of 10,181 cases treated during the year as in-patients, of whom
records are available, 1,092 had been declared 'disease-arrested' before
THE MISSION TO LEPERS
deformity had begun. Another 596 were declared 'disease-arrested' but with
The total expenditure for running these homes has amounted to
Rs. 7,48,590/-, nearly half of which came as Government and local grants and
the rest through contributions by the Mission to Lepers Headquarters in Lon-
don and contributions made direct to the Mission's institutions. Local sup-
port by way of gifts of money and buildings are also much in evidence; as, for
instance, the postal workers of South India contributed largely to the cost of
creating a beautiful Social Hall at Manamadura; the Mithibai Koba Munga-
seth Ward at Calicut was erected through the benevolent gifts of a medical
The inmates are helped to make social adjustments and by the cheer and
encouragement given to them by the noble band of workers at the respective
centres, they are helped to get out of the 'slough of despair' and take a new
lease of life. The faces of the inmates as shown in the pictures reveal cer-
tainly a happiness seasoned with the agony of pain and sorrow. The report
cites many telling stories of individual cases. How much these poor victims
of this scourge suffer is revealed in the following story:—"I passed my
matriculation," writes this applicant, "and came to J . . . . to continue my
college course. I have passed my first year exams but cannot study further as
I am not healthy. You will understand what I mean from the fact that I am
writing to you. To write and think about it gives me a shock almost to death.
I feel the agony of death facing me; it seems to have already laid its cold hands
on me and I am in its clutches. I feel doomed to death and feel inclined to
commit suicide. You can perhaps understand my agony, for I can't put it
into words. I cannot mix with healthy society, and there is no place for me,
even in my home."
A Brahmin, educated and well-to-do, came to one of the homes saying
"my home, my money, my friends, my children and my own wife—all mine,
but all have forsaken me and driven me out into the streets because of the
disease." One boy, driven out of his village by his own mother, has found
another foster-parent in a supporter overseas. It is opportune to state that
support of adult lepers may be shouldered at any of the Mission's Homes for
Rs. 100/- per annum, and of children for Rs. 75/- per annum.
"Krishna came when 12 years old, ragged, dirty, covered with sores,
hopeless and weeping. He had walked alone over 12 miles in the heat because
some one had said we would give him a home. The burden of his cry was
"My mother beat me out of the village ! " Yes, just because neighbours said
that she must go also if the boy would not go alone—his own mother sent him
away in this manner. Now Krishna has been adopted by a friend overseas."
NOTES AND COMMENTS
The gratitude of these unfortunates, their willingness to serve, their
contributions for Red Cross and other such humanitarian work make their
coppers shine like gold. A young untainted lad, who was an inmate of one of
the homes, has been working as a mechanic in an Aluminium factory in
Calcutta. He recently donated Rs, 425/- for the purchase of a microscope for
use in the Asylum.
The reports from almost all centres narrate the tragic and painful neces-
sity of turning away applicants for admission to these homes. At Fyzabad
alone over 400 were turned away in the course of 5 years. The Report states
that support of adult lepers may be shouldered at any of the Mission's Homes
for Rs. 100/- per annum and of children for Rs. 75/- each per annum.
Mission to Lepers is an expression of the creative aspect of the Christian
religion. The heroic self-sacrificing and loving spirit of these Ambassadors
of Goodwill and Angels of Mercy are too sacred and deep to be scorned or ex-
aggerated. Whatever one may say against the practices of certain evangelical
missionaries and mission bodies, such humanitarian services are expressions
of the vital force of dynamic religion. The atmosphere in the homes make
the inmates feel that all is not lost yet; that there are many things beautiful
in life even for a leper. These stalwarts of faith, courage and kindness
are frequently accused of using these homes of service as proselytising traps.
Such criticisms are irresponsible and often indicate that through such remarks
the critics only compensate their own sense of failure to do something for
these lepers by belittling what others are doing. To most religious groups,
these lepers are just so much socially discarded timber. If they come out of these
leper homes as socially useful citizens with a halo of cheer and courage and if
in this process of regeneration they by their own free will adopted the faith of
those who served them, it is nobody's business to throw stones at them or at
those who helped them.
There are, of course, other organizations and agencies tackling the pro-
blem of leprosy in India. But are they adequate ? Can we postpone the
urgent necessity of extending the services to a greater degree to meet the
needs adequately and soon? We wish the Mission to Lepers a long period of
continued usefulness and congratulate the staff at the respective centres for
their splendid achievements.
CASES convicted of unnatural offence were not till recently eligible for
admission although they may be casual. This created interest and we
made enquiries as to the prevalence of this offence in a certain district
and we are putting the information we gathered before our readers.
SEX DEVIATION 223
In the opinion of three local citizens—one of them is a magistrate—
33% of the male population (age between onset of puberty and when physical
degeneration sets in) is given to the unnatural offence. The local bar believes
that 20% of the male population practises this vice. According to an experienced
police officer, 33% of the male population is given to this offence. So also the
inspecting officer of schools maintains that 50% of the boys in rural area is given
to this offence. The officer in charge of municipal schools states, and that is
based on the figures of the complaints received, that 23% of the school popula-
tion is addicted to this unnatural practice. Therefore, if we consider the actual
figures to be 30% we would not be over-estimating the prevalence.
In January 1939 we examined the inmates of this institution (Juvenile
Jail, Bareilly) medically. We found 22% of the boys showed evidence of having
played the passive role. To this we must add the number that played the active
role, and that is invariably higher. For an active agent it is an outlet for
sex urge and a source of pleasure. In the case of a passive agent it is due to:
(a) fear of punishment, (b) identification with a rich or influential person,
(c) monetary and other material gain, and (d) perversion in a few cases;
to such it is a sensation of pain. Pleasure is only possible in cases of a few
perverts of the masochistic type.
On the basis of the above information it will not be an over-estimation
if we come to the conclusion that roughly 30% of the male population in this
district at one time or another indulged in homosexuality.
The police records of the district showed only four arrests and three
convictions for the year 1939. This reveals a vast difference that exists between
the offence on the one hand and the arrests and convictions on the other.
Roughly 30% of our admissions, on the basis of the above investigation, have
indulged in homosexuality at one time or another, and yet those who have the
hall mark of conviction under section 377 I.P.C. were not eligible for ad-
mission into this institution. This restriction has lately been removed.
Every one passes through the age of homosexuality (homosexuality is
used in the broad psychoanalytic sense, i. e.,
love for the same sex) between
the age of six and onset of puberty. After the onset of puberty one must have
the opposite sex to take interest in, in order to develop a normal sex interest in
life. In the absence of free association with the opposite sex in this province,
regression is a possible alternative. Therefore, large number of people must
remain or revert to the level of homosexuality, and homosexuality after the
arrival of puberty is likely to take the form of unnatural offence. This appears
to be the reason why unnatural offence is so prevalent. It is likely to continue
to prevail so long as the society forbids the free association of the two sexes.
Our further interest in this matter in our own institution was to see
224 NOTES AND COMMENTS
how far we could reduce the malpractice inside this jail through our correctional
programme. The medical examination done on the 15th January 1939 showed
that out of a population of 136, 30 hoys had physical evidence of having played
the passive role and that gave the percentage of 22. We cannot give any figure
as to how many played the active role. On this subject we found enquiries
would have not given us any information that we wanted ; but we know from
private sources that a certain number came in as passive agent from outside
but a good deal of sodomy was going on inside the jail. The distribution of
22% is given below : —
Caste Population Number Percentage
High caste ... 41 12 27%
Low caste ... 79 16 20%
Mohammedans ... 16 2 12%
Second medical examination was done on the 13th July 1940, i.e.,
year and a half after the introduction of our correctional programme. Total
population at the time was 183. 21 out of the total number of boys on medical
examination showed evidence of having played the passive role, percentage
Caste Population Number Percentage
High caste ... 42 9 21%
Low caste ... 116 10 8%
Mohammedans ... 25 2 8%
This shows a decrease of 12% amongst the passive agents during the
period. It also means proportionate reduction in the active agents.
The third medical examination was held on the 14th November 1941, i.e.,
about three years after the introduction of our correctional programme and
about a year and a half after the second medical examination. The population
of the jail on the day of examination was 195. Out of these 14 showed
definite signs of having played the passive role. One was a doubtful case.
This gives a percentage of 7. The distribution of 7% is given below :—
Caste Population Number Percentage
High caste ... 40 5 12'5%
Low caste ... 121 7 5.8%
Mohammedans ... 33 2 6%
195* 14 7%
This shows progressive decrease among the passive agents from 22% to
7% in three years. We attribute this reduction to the following reasons i—
*This includes one doubtful case.
SEX DEVIATION 225
(1) Our correctional programme, which has been in operation for almost
3 years, keeps the boys occupied from 5 o'clock in the morning to 9 o'clock in
the evening and gives no time for idling or evil talk.
(2) We stopped boys having control or authority over other boys. We
still make 'Stars' but they are made because of their conduct and habit of
work. This enables them to get more remissions, and serves as an inducement
to industry and good conduct. But no boy is allowed to exercise authority of
any kind over other boys except the captains of the teams and that only on
the playground. All authority is vested in the paid staff.
One of our visitors, when discussing the subject of unnatural offence,
asked : Would it not lead to increase 'in a still bigger vice'—masturbation ?
He was asked why he called it a vice. He replied : Because of its ruinous
effects on the victim's mind and body.
Masturbation as a result of normal urge and in moderation has no de-
teriorating effect either on the body or on the mind. It may be looked upon
as an alternative outlet for sex relief in absence of natural outlet for sexuality.
Deterioration takes place when sense of guilt plays a dominant role in the men-
tal mechanism. Then it does lead to neurosis and physical deterioration. Root
cause is the sense of guilt. Sense of guilt is created by the faulty teaching by
the father, religious teacher, associates and perhaps the school teacher. Our
aim should be to free the boys from the sense of guilt. If the boy wants to
know anything about sex, he should be given the required information in a
"natural way" without showing emotion and without creating emotions in the
boy. Our own attitude so far has been such as to prevent us from volunteering
any information. Hence, boys do not come forward of their own accord. Only
when there is any case of evil effect, we take him in hand.
Uptil now in this institution we have had only two boys who showed evil
effects of masturbation. One was a Sikh. He complained of loss of appetite,
strength and weight, inability to exert and take part in the normal activities of
the institution and growing loss of sight. The other boy was a Mohammedan.
His complaints were similar. Both the boys under psychotherapy showed
a great deal of the sense of guilt regarding masturbation. The Sikh boy was
easily cured because his sense of guilt was created by his associates after the
onset of puberty, i. e.,
the roots were in the comparatively superficial strata
of his consciousness. The Mohammedan boy was a difficult case. His sense
of guilt was created by his father and later by his religious teacher in the very
early stages of life. Both of them are perfectly fit now and are taking part
in every activity of the institution.
LIEUT.-COL. A. H. SHAIKH, I. M. S.
Inspector General of Prisons, United Provinces
NOTES AND COMMENTS
WOMEN WORKERS' TRAINING CAMP
THE need for training women workers for social work has long been felt
and at the Coconada session of the A. I. W. C. Report of the Sub-
committee dealing with the Women Workers' Training Scheme was
adopted unanimously. Srimati Kamaladevi was appointed Convenor and
entrusted with the carrying out of the scheme, assisted by a Sub-Committee.
The primary idea was that the work undertaken by the branches of the
Conference would never be carried out systematically and developed satis-
factorily unless there was a steady supply of trained social workers which
would increase year by year. It was, therefore, decided that a Provincial
Workers' Training Camp be started, which would train women to become
organizers of social work in their respective provinces. The branches of the
A. I. W. C. were to send one woman from each province and be responsible
for the expenses of her training, provided she gave an undertaking to work
in the province for a minimum period of two years looking after the social
work already started by the branches, developing it and arranging for the
training of other women workers in the province.
Srimati Kamaladevi, assisted by Srimati Mridula Sarabhai, a member
of the A. I. W. C. Workers' Training Sub-Committee and our Hon. General
Secretary Srimati Urmila Mehta, lost no time in working out a curriculum for
the proposed Training Camp. They were assisted by members of the Sir
Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work in Bombay and other social
workers. Rules and time-tables were drawn up and Srimati Mridula Sarabhai
succeeded in finding a suitable place for the Camp.
Abrama is a village in Surat district, about three miles from Vedchha
which is a railway station on the B.B. & C.I. Railway. The camping grounds
themselves are situated between Vedchha and Abrama. The place was chosen
because of its nearness to the sea—and therefore cool enough to permit
outdoor activities—and of its proximity to several rural reconstruction
centres where students could see work of various kinds in progress.
Unfortunately many of the branches did not or could not avail them-
selves of the opportunity thus offered to them. This was partly due to the pre-
vailing uncertain conditions; the branches could not find women willing to
travel long distances or be away from their homes for a period of three or four
months. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that only Andhra, Baroda,
Bombay, Cochin, Gujarat, Kathiawar, Karnatak and Mysore sent candidates
to the Camp. Of the other candidates admitted, 7 were already engaged in so-
cial work and were sent for further training by the institutions where they had
been working; the rest were independent candidates, for 18 of whom the organ-
WOMEN WORKERS' TRAINING CAMP
isers succeeded in raising scholarships. Admission to the Camp was limited
to fifty students and a number of applications had to be rejected.
The site of Abrama Camp is a large grove of mango trees, some of them
so big that all the campers could sit in their shade and listen to a lecture or do
other work. Facing the road is a long-stretched building with a number of
rooms where the girls kept their things. The back verandah was used as a
dining place. In front of this building is a big open space which was used for
physical exercises in the day and sleeping out at night. Distributed in a semi-
circle round the main building, but at a good distance away, are very attrac-
tive little huts with 1-3 rooms each and a front verandah, which housed some
of the instructors, visitors to the Camp and visiting lecturers. It was Mira
Ben, I believe, who was responsible for the planning out and building of these
huts, which not only added to the charm of the scene, but were also very com-
fortable despite their extreme simplicity. She also directed and supervised the
construction of bathrooms and lavatories for the Camp, and from my own ex-
perience of a week's stay in the Camp I can say that they were a great success
from the sanitary point of view.
The campers themselves formed a very happy family with Kamaladevi
at its head. From 5-30 a.m. when the first bell of the day aroused the Camp
into activity till the last bell at 10 p.m. when all lights were put out, the whole
place reminded one more of a busy beehive than anything else. What struck
me, a new-comer, most to start with was the orderly, well-planned activi-
ties of the day, the apparently effortless discipline which everybody accepted
naturally and the spirit of friendship and cooperation all round. It is very
seldom, as far as my experience goes, that an atmosphere of freedom is com-
bined with a discipline which is effective and yet not irksome, but it was cer-
tainly achieved in this experiment.
Of the fifty campers, 11 were Muslims, some were Parsis and the rest
Hindus. They all merged into one harmonious group in work and play; they
dined together, served the food in turn irrespective of religion or caste and
helped in cutting vegetables for the kitchen. But all was not smooth sailing
from the beginning. The cooks around in the neighbourhood decided to boy-
cott the camp because of its unorthodoxy; thereupon the campers cheerfully
assisted in the cooking themselves. Srimati Mridulaben came to their rescue
by sending her own cook, for no local cook was willing to work in the Camp.
Incidentally, the Camp was the sole gainer; for, the food produced by the new
cook, though simple, was well-cooked and delicious. The Camp food was ve-
getarian, but those who wanted meat were given an opportunity of cooking it
themselves in a place specially provided for the purpose. Some of the non-
vegetarians started off by cooking meet twice a week or more often, but finally
228 NOTES AND COMMENTS
decided to cook it only on Fridays which is the Camp holiday. It, however,
happened several times that in the excitement of camp life they forgot all
about it, even to their own astonishment.
The curriculum drawn up for the Camp was very comprehensive and
well thought-out. Its main purpose was not only to teach women a variety of
subjects, but to give them an idea of the structure of our society, economic,
political and social, in which they have to live and work, and to introduce them
to problems which they would come up against as social workers in one form
or another. The range of subjects taught, both theoretical and practical,
would, it was hoped, provide a background for the social worker which she
could draw upon and develop according to the needs of her work. In introduc-
ing and explaining the curriculum to the campers the fact was stressed that
most, if not all, social problems are inter-related and that the range of subjects
had to be wide enough to cover problems arising in all strata of society. The
curriculum thus included problems under the headings of "Man and his
Fellows", "Man and his Environment", "Development of Culture", by way of
a general introduction. Current problems included the Present Economic and
Political Condition of India, Problems Specially Related to Women—social,
economic and legal— and Problems Specially Related to Children, National
Problems and Constructive Movements, Social Psychology and Mental Hygiene,
Physiology, the Planning of Future Social Order and so on. In addition, there
were music classes and manual training classes in spinning, toy-making
gardening as well as instruction in soap-making, dairy-farming, bee-keeping,
fruit and food preserving and laundry work.
Physical culture and games, riding and cycling were not forgotten which
made a full day for the campers with all their other work of washing their
own clothes, cleaning their rooms and performing in turn the various camp
Trips to surrounding villages and rural reconstruction centres were
arranged nearly every week. On these excursions the campers had an oppor-
tunity of seeing practical work done and of learning to make family budgets
for families earning varying incomes.
Friday was a holiday for the Camp, but to all appearances it was as busy
a day as any other. Games-clothes were washed and dried, clothes mended,
things arranged and the day passed very quickly. In the evenings there was
a Camp fire to which various groups contributed items of entertainment. They
mostly consisted of small sketches written and acted by the campers and often
topical of camp life and therefore very spontaneous and amusing. There were
also among them a few good musicians who contributed their songs on these
WOMEN WORKERS' TRAINING CAMP
The working day started with an hour and a quarter of physical exercises
and lathi drill, for which the campers wore their games uniform—salvars and
shirts—and after the morning tea there was time for practical classes and bath-
ing and washing of clothes. At 10 a.m. there was the first theoretical class.
If the lecturer spoke in Hindustani, all the girls assembled under one of the big
mango trees to listen and take notes. If there was an English lecture, the
campers were divided into two groups; those who understood English attended
the lecture and those who did not formed another group where a previous
English lecture was given to them in Hindustani. After lunch at 11 a.m. the
Camp rested for an hour and a half, after which the library was open for the
girls. Classes began at 2 p.m. and continued till 5-15 p.m. with a break for
tea in between. After that there were games for an hour and dinner at 7 p.m.
Dinner over, the campers strolled in the grounds in groups; sometimes indivi-
dual girls brought up problems and questions arising out of the day's lectures
and there ensued a discussion which attracted others. On some days the whole
Camp met and administrative difficulties were brought forward, complaints
lodged, announcements made. On other days there was community singing or
a music class.
I found this after-dinner hour one of the most attractive features of the
social life of the Camp. It enabled lecturers and instructers to get into
personal touch with the girls and discuss all kinds of things with them.
Though there was usually a discussion towards the end of every lecture and
girls asked questions freely, discussions of a more personal kind, of personal
difficulties in actual work or personal doubts in a particular theory, came up
spontaneously at this time.
These evenings gave me an insight into the keenness which these girls
and women—for some of them are mothers—brought to bear on all that was
given to them in the Camp, and made me realise how receptive their minds
were to new ideas. Their discussions convinced me that a three or four
months' intensive training in a Camp such as this left a greater impression on
the students than a year's instruction given in the ordinary way. Taken away
from their accustomed environments and responsibilities, their minds are
obviously much more ready and able to concentrate on new problems and
assimilate new ideas.
Watching over the day's work of the Camp in letter and spirit was
Kamaladevi. She inspired, organised, advised and supervised everything
from the academic work down to the office and the kitchen. Her eyes during
the day were ever on the clock, lest the bell which directed the day's activity
be a minute later than the appointed time, with the result that everything
and everybody was punctual to the minute. But that was not all. In a Camp
NOTES AND COMMENTS
like this, emergencies arise almost every day which have to be coped with,
from visiting lecturers who did not arrive on the appointed day (so that the
next day there are four of them instead of two) down to, let us say, the
vegetable man who failed with his supply because he had gone to attend a
marriage ! However, all that did not seem to ruffle her or if it did, she did
not show it. The Campers respected and adored her, and she in her turn was
always ready to help them however big or small their problems. It must be
said that she made a thoroughly good job of the Abrama Camp which was
appreciated by the Campers, visitors and lecturers alike.
The organizers were also fortunate in securing the help and co-operation
of prominent men and women who came to Abrama to lecture and teach. I do
not mention names, because there are so many of them and it would be
invidious to single out a few. They came from Bombay, from Ahmedabad,
from Baroda, and one—the music teacher—from Santiniketan, without stint-
ing time or expense and gave of their best, some of them staying for a week
or two, and some just for the day.
It is encouraging that the first Camp organized by the Conference was
such a great success, except for the one fact that the A. I. W. C. branches
failed to send their own candidates for training. I hope, however, that they
will make up for it by taking heart from what has been done in Abrama and
organizing their own local camps. I wish the Conference would decide to
make these training camps a permanent feature of their programme of work
and start a permanent fund similar to the A. I. W. C. Education Fund. This
would ensure continuity in the work of training social workers, who are
needed in thousands, and would be the greatest contribution the Conference
can make towards social work in India.
KITTY SHIVA RAO
CARING FOR RELEASED PRISONERS
MOVED by the plight of the unfortunate in the jails and prisons of his
day, a humble Boston shoemaker began a great movement in the re-
formation of offenders when in 1841 he took from the court for a period
of probation a delinquent who under his care and with his friendship became
a man again. During the 100 years from then John Augustus' example has
been followed by many, and probation system has been introduced into the
treatment of juvenile offenders in many parts of the world. Compared with the
progress made in this line in many other parts of the world India is lagging
far behind. But there are small attempts made here and there to introduce the
probation system. One such attempt is the organization of the Discharged
CARING FOR RELEASED PRISONERS
Prisoners' Aid Society in the United Provinces. The Report of the Society for
the year 1941-42 says : —
"At the end of the year under report, 236 probationers were under
supervision of the Probation Officers. Out of these 218 or 92.5% were helped
to obtain employment. In the first quarter of 1942, 70 new probationers were
placed under the supervision of the Probation Officers; 23 probationers success-
fully completed their period of probation and in 3 unsuccessful cases probation
had to be terminated. In the first quarter of 1942 the Probation Officers were
asked by the courts to make enquiries in 144 cases under Rule 12 of the U. P.
First Offenders' Probation Rules, 1939.
"Probation work is gradually developing in the Province and it is hoped
that it will be doing effective work in the eradication of juvenile delinquency
and in reformation and rehabilitation of young offenders. The Society hopes
that the Government will see its way of extending the entire Act to some other
districts of the Province."
There are District Committees in all districts of the Province except
Muttra. Assistance given to the discharged prisoners is of various nature; it
includes finding jobs, paying for railway fare, board and lodging, providing
tools, clothing, shelter and land, placing in institutions, and such other aids.
In some places free legal aid is given to deserving under-trial prisoners. Homes
for homeless on the model of the one at Cawnpore are being established at
Allahabad, Agra, Lucknow and Aligarh. Some district committees are doing
intensive work in rural areas. At Farrukhabad, they are considering a very
commendable scheme for the proper upbringing of small children of female
prisoners confined in the Central Prison. Posters, charts, khadi and industrial
exhibitions are the methods of propaganda. The Society was publishing an
official organ 'The Penal Reformer' to educate the public. It was a good
publication in its own way, and it is unfortunate that it was running at a loss
and the Provincial Government found it difficult to give it financial assist-
ance. We do hope that the efforts of those responsible to revive the publica-
tion will meet with success.
The detailed report given by the Chief Probation Officer is helpful in
studying the various aspects of the problem. The remarkable decrease in
the number of cases of failure (only 2.4 per cent) under the probation system
must be encouraging to all those who believe in this system of reformation
and rehabilitation of young offenders. Analysis of the residence of offenders
show that 61 per cent were from cities and 39 per cent from rural areas.
Assuming that the vigilance of the police is equal in both areas and other
conditions being the same, this would go to prove that urbanization leads to
greater incidence of crime. Theft and criminal trespass were most popular
NOTES AND COMMENTS
offences and 81 per cent were found guilty of these offences. This shows that
poverty especially in the strange and impersonal atmosphere of cities leads
people to crime.
The monthly average number of probationers in hand ranged from 1.6
at Aligarh to 44 at Lucknow; the case load of each probation officer every
month was approximately 23.3. In regard to visits, on an average a Probation
Officer met every probationer twice a month. This is too low a frequency of
contacts. The number of Probation Officers should be increased and the Officers
and probationers should have more contact.
Of the 288 preliminary enquiries made, only 35 percent were recommende
to be released on probation which shows that the success was also due to very
careful selection. Thirty five per cent is too low. Larger number of well trained
qualified Probation Officers will make it possible to place a larger percentage
of offenders under probation. It is gratifying to note that the Government has
issued orders suggesting to the magistrates to call for enquiries from Probation
Officers in all cases of offenders below 24 years of age. Even though there are
no juvenile courts, in many places all cases of first offenders below the age of
24 are tried by a particular Magistrate in the respective towns. But it is high
time that juvenile courts be established to deal with the problem of Juvenile
delinquency more thoroughly and effectively. A thorough training in the
causes of crime, knowledge of the psychology of adolescents and children,
general background knowledge of sociology, social psychology, social
pathology and other allied subjects and acquaintance with the methods adopted
in the treatment of Juvenile delinquents in other parts of India and in western
countries are necessary for any person who deals with juveniles. Even in
the U.S.A., where the treatment of delinquents is comparatively more on a
scientific basis, most of the critical literature dealing with the problem fixes
the cause of failure at one point, namely the lack of adequate training on the
part of Probation Officers.
Most important of all it must be borne in mind that even the best train-
ed Probation Officer in the world cannot succeed in re-establishing the young
offender in the normal stream of community life unless the people of the com-
munity collaborate with him and with each other. Experts functioning in a
community can succeed only when their experience is blended with the expe-
rience of the people with whom they labour. If then we really want Proba-
tion to succeed better than it has in the past, we need probation officers train-
ed in a new way. The skill they need above all others is that of releasing the
social forces of the local community. If they cannot do this, they cannot suc-
ceed no matter how much they know about criminology or individual psycho-
logy. We have to reorientate the attitude of the public towards crime espe-
CARING FOR RELEASED PRISONERS
cially among juveniles to a new and modern approach. Juvenile delinquents
are the socially sick, and they are to be treated and not punished and probation
officers are the social doctors who can cure and rehabilitate these sick persons.
BOMBAY PRESIDENCY WOMEN'S COUNCIL
HE Women's Council has substantial work to its credit in this city and
presidency, and has blazed the trail for the whole Council Movement in
India. Through its efforts the National Council of Women in India was
organized in 1925 and in the same year it was affiliated to the International
Council of Women.
The Bombay Presidency Women's Council is one result of the war
of 1914-18. The Women's Branch War & Relief Fund Association was
organised to make and supply clothes and comforts for our soldiers at the
various war fronts. The experience gained and co-operation achieved in the
war work made them feel that some agency should be formed to continue the
co-operative spirit and activity. So in 1919 the Bombay Presidency Women's
Council was formed and "designed to act as a co-ordinating and directing
body for all social and philanthropic work connected with women and children
throughout the Presidency."
From the start, the Council was interested in the eradication of "Social
Evils". In the first year it undertook the organizing of Famine Relief. In
the second year it started an Employment Bureau. A Rescue Home for Indian
Women was founded in the third year. Such activities characterised the work
of the Council in the succeeding years. In the field of Education, Relief,
Public Health, Labour and Cinema, the Council has been active. In the field
of legislation, favouring the cause of women and children, the Council has
been untiring and persistent in its efforts to help. It actively supported the
passing of various bills such as the Sarda Marriage Act, the Girl Protection
Bill, the Bill for Suppression of Dedication of Young Women to Temples and
the Hindu Women's Inheritance Bill.
As usual, the Council has had a busy year of many-sided activities as is
revealed by their Twenty-Third Annual Report of 1941. Through their various
sub-committees, this Council has been rendering valuable services. Their
Beggar Problem Sub-Committee has tried to tackle this age-old problem by
talks with magic lantern slides, posters, interviewing and enlisting the
interests of the Government and Municipal Officials and attempting to form a
Beggar Relief Society. It seems, however, that these measures, no matter
how well-intentioned, can hardly be fruitful of any results, for they seem to
have no reference whatever to the social forces that produce beggars. This
formidable profession of begging cannot be wiped out by laws and enactments
NOTES AND COMMENTS
calculated to decorate the Statute Book.
We do have legislative enactments to prohibit begging. But the
authorities are neither keen on enforcing it, nor are they able to enforce them
in the absence of any well-organised agencies to take care of the beggars
whom the police may arrest on the street. The appalling poverty of the rural
areas, unemployment, the lack of stigma attached to begging, the time-old
religiously sanctioned practice of indiscriminate almsgiving are the major
causes of beggary. The able-bodied should be found work, and compelled to
do it; the disabled and handicapped should be taken care of and the diseased
should be segregated and cured. We have appointed committees, passed
resolutions, agitated for long and have done enough propaganda. It is about
time to start going.
Substantial and successful have been the activities of the Haj Sub-
Committee, the Home Industries Depot Sub-Committee, the Rescue Home
Sub-Committee, and the Labour Sub-Committee. The Literacy and Education
Sub-Committee has carried on its important work as usual in spite of great
financial handicap, and it is gratifying, though not very encouraging, to note
that during the year 107 women passed their literacy tests. The Parliamentary
Sub-Committee has expressed its definite views in reply to the Rau Committee
Questionnaire on Hindu Law Reform insisting that the revised Law be passed
on the principle of sex equality; that polygamous marriages should not be
permitted and that the right to ask for dissolution of marriage and judicial
separation under specified circumstances be given both to husband and wife.
In view of the splendid work done by the various sub-committees it is
not surprising to note that their Twenty-Third Annual Meeting and Seventh
Conference was attended by over 400 people and proved a great success. We
hope the Council will keep up its high tradition and continue rendering such
yeoman service in spite of the grave and distracting world situation.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN BOMBAY PROVINCE
IF platform outcry and high-sounding generalities were enough to solve the
manifold economic and social problems of India, we would have had no
problems to be solved now. If the annual administration reports of the
many Government Departments are to be accepted on their face value, then
there is nothing much to be suggested by way of improvement. The Annual
Administration Report of the Rural Development Department of the Province
of Bombay for the year 1940 41 is such a one. The activities listed are many.
Agricultural improvement by development of land, improved tillage methods,
implements and manure, seed multiplication and distribution, co-operative
protection, horticultural development, co-operative marketing, installing grain
RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN BOMBAY PROVINCE 235
depots, development of rural industries, communications, irrigation, public
health and sanitation, education, general propaganda and training centres for
rural assistants—all these are there. Can a wider range of programme for
rural development be ever drawn up ? Well, no. But what are the achieve-
ments ? Of course, much. But then success of rural development is to be
measured in reference to rural areas rather than the amount of manure
distributed or the number of pigs killed etc. In the first place, we would have
liked to have a report describing the activities around area units rather than
one where the activities of different sections of the department are narrated.
The District, Taluka and Village are the area units and they are the areas to
be developed. It was with such a view that in 1939 the Co-operative Depart-
ment was organized into the Co-operative and Rural Development Depart-
ment—a single administrative unit with a single main purpose. But the
Report says that it did not prove successful "as it resulted in officers, who
are experts in their own line, having to devote much of their time to duties
for which they had no adequate training and of which they had no adequate
knowledge." That is to say, the rural development programme had to be
such as to fit the staff and not vice versa.
If at all this rural development is to
gain momentum and be a really constructive, creative force in India, we have
to develop it into a strong, well-integrated and self-sufficient unit with enough
resources of qualified men and money.
The financial report reveals again another story. Of the Rs. 3,46,339/-
of expenditure, Grants-in-Aid amounted to Rs. 1,66,909/- or 48%; pay of
establishment, allowances and honoraria, Rs. 1,01,430/- or 30%, contingencies
Rs. 39,868/- or 11%, and works Rs. 38,832/- or 11%. Here again it is the
same story—"Rolls Royce administration" in the "bullock-cart" villages. It
is to be supposed that a large proportion of the amount designated as grants
also go for administrative staff. It will not be far amiss to say that nearly
50% of the amount is spent on a top heavy administration. It seems that it is
a case of urban employment at the expense of rural development. If India is
90% rural, the major emphasis should be on rural development. But we have
built up an urbanised capitalistic system and administration at the expense
and to the neglect of rural areas. It is about time that we paid more attention
to rural development and revitalized the old social units of villages, and made
them real self-governing, increasingly self-sufficient economic units. But
such a thing can be achieved only when and if we change the entire approach
to the problem.
NOTES AND COMMENTS
RECLAMATION OF ABORIGINAL TRIBES
AN interesting and so far encouraging emperiment is being conducted by
the Kolaba District Rural Development Board to reclaim to civilization
the aboriginal tribes of Katkaris.
According to the last census, the Katkari population in the district was
a little over 40,000. They are a jungle tribe, living in what are called the
"in-forest" settlements. They maintain themselves mostly on earnings as
labourers and supplement these by collecting and selling forest produce and
by cultivating lands assigned to them within the forests. These lands, called dali
lands, cover an area of about 28,000 acres and are held on what amounts
to a permanent tenure subject to certain conditions.
146 Katkaris, comprising 22 families have been settled in a colony at
Chikni in Roha Taluka of the district. There they are given practical lessons
in the art of civilised living, beginning with the knowledge of growing rice.
The total area assigned to the Chikni settlement is about 56 acres. Develop-
ment of the dali
land was the first of the series of improvements. 3 acres
were developed for paddy cultivation; the good crop and the taste of rice have
made the settlers keen on having more of paddy cultivation.
The next most important problem is housing. Huts of the settlers are
little more than a patch-work of grass and bamboos, and are overcrowded.
The Board has laid out 30 building plots providing sites also for a school tem-
ple and village square with 30 ft. wide roads. The settlers are being taught
the value of sanitation. There is a "spring cleaning" every week and the
refuse is conserved in a pit to ripen into valuable compost manure.
Education, it is realised by the Board, is the basis of all improvement.
So efforts are being made to educate the "young hopefuls". After very
great and strenuous efforts, 14 children are attending a primary school at
Negothana. Shirts and shorts are supplied free to every child attending
school. As the Negothana school is two miles away from the settlement, the
children find it difficult to walk all the way back and forth. Hence, it is
proposed to establish a grant-in-aid school in the settlement itself.
During the last monsoon 31 maunds
of paddy were distributed among
the settlers for maintenance to be repaid at the next harvesting and the entire
advance has been repaid. A bin to store corn, a topela
for cooking food for
festival parties and tals
have been donated by Mr. P. J. Gandhi.
Quality mango grafts and poultry were supplied free to the settlers. The
Board has donated to the settlers a pair of buffaloes. A new well has been
budgeted for. The whole scheme is still in its infancy and will require con-
tinual supervision, guidance and care for many years to come before it can
RECLAMATION OF ABORIGINAL TRIBES 237
make an appreciable impression on the life of the settlers.
Reclamation of aborigines is a two-way process:—introducing civilisa-
tion into their midst and introducing them to civilization. Changes in pat-
terns of living have to be introduced to them with caution to make them real-
ise the advantages and necessity for the change. Colonisation in complete
segregation does not help in the thorough reclamation. They have to have
contact with the better side of the outside civilization, and it is best to give
such opportunities when they are young and at school. The continuance of
the settlers' children at the village school is to be preferred to the idea of
having a separate school for the children of the settlers at the settlement it-
self. Conveyance may be provided to take these children to the village school.
Such contacts of children in the school will be advantageous to both sections
of the school children. Reclamation is effective when they are young and the
fundamental basis of reclamation is to treat them as equal and normal just
like others. Paternalism and imposition of alien ideas and ways of living
should always be scrupulously guarded against.
All those interested in the reclamation of the backward tribes will watch
this experiment with interest in the hope that in due course of time what is
being done for the 146 Katkari settlers will be done for all the 40,000 of them
and for other aborigines in other parts of India. Let us also hope that they
will not graduate into the type of civilized life and attitude the ravages of
which we are witnessing in the "civilized" world today.
BOMBAY CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY
BOMBAY can boast of a Children's Act, a Borstal School Act, a Juvenile
Court, and a Children's Aid Society which has under its supervision and
management a Remand Home, an Industrial School and a very modern
scheme of rehabilitation of juveniles at the Chembur Home. Almost all the
Probation Officers of the Society are well trained. The Fifteenth Annual Re-
port of the Society for the year 1941-42 makes interesting reading, as it gives
in detail the activities of the Society. There is no denying the fact that many
of them are really commendable.
But certain aspects of the treatment of juveniles deserve attention. Of
the total 1,817 new cases admitted during the year 1,538 are boys and 279
girls. In the classification of charges made against them, we find that 770
children (637 boys and 133 girls) were brought in on the charges of destitution,
wandering or being without guardian, living in brothels or being in moral
danger. 195 children (83 boys and 112 girls) were victims of abusive treat-
ment at the hands of elders, strangers etc. Only 852 children (818 boys and
34 girls) were cases against whom there were charges of delinquency. That
238 NOTES AND COMMENTS
means 965 or 53 per cent of the children are not delinquents as such. Destitu-
tion, we admit, is one of the major causes of delinquency. Organising child-
ren's homes as a hold-all for all kinds of children merely because they are
children is not scientific. Having the delinquents and destitutes in the same
institution and treating them alike is unreasonable and unjust. There is not
much to be corrected in the destitutes excepting giving them a chance by im-
proving their economic status. Arrangements should, therefore be made to
separate the destitute from the delinquent lest the former by association with
the latter take to their undesirable ways of behaviour in due course.
In regard to probation, we notice that the average number of children
under the supervision of the Probation Officer ranges from 30 to 52 which is a
bit too high a case-load; for treatment of delinquency through probation is
successful only to the degree of efficient case-work and frequency of personal
contact between the child and the Officer.
The Children's Home at Chembur is a novel institution in India, and the
separate home for the mentally deficient children at Chembur is a worthy in-
novation. The basic principle on which the Children's Home is organised is
sound. The environment and set up are excellent. The new ' farm colony '
scheme is sure to be of much help in the retraining of the delinquent child-
ren. The Chembur Home in theory corresponds to Father Flannagen's "Boys
Town" in America. We should expect the children to be extremely happy
there. Being denied a happy home, loving and understanding parents, heal-
thy group life with friends, good play centres etc., they are the victims of un-
fortunate social circumstances. But, though they are given or supposed to be
given a home with all the necessary elements of a healthy environment, we
find from the Report that out of 586 children, 104 absconded during the year.
If 20% of the children sent to the Home abscond, then there must be some-
thing radically wrong somewhere. We hope the authorities will pay special
attention to remedying this situation and make Chembur a model institution
as it is the only one of its kind in India at present.
The finances of the Society are not at all in an enviable condition. The
year under review ended up with a deficit of Rs. 16,115/-. The total receipts
amounted to Rs. 1,42,079/- of which Government grant-in-aid was Rs. 1,15,000
and donations and subscriptions Rs. 4,940/-. The justification for the existence
of a private social service agency, such as the Children's Aid Society, is that it
escapes the impersonality of Government agencies and also becomes a matter
of voluntary interest and concern of the public. The meagre sum of about
Rs. 5,000/- donated and subscribed to it reveals a sorry state of affairs. If only
3% of the expenditure is raised by the efforts of the non-official body and all
the rest is coming from public treasury, then is there any justification for its
BOMBAY CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY 239
management by a private body ? It is time the Society exerted itself to raise
more funds. Such an effort will greatly stimulate public interest in the care
and training of these unfortunate children.
In the matter of general policy of treatment of juveniles we are at a loss
to know why this department and the Certified Schools are under the Back-
ward Class Officer. The very set up implies that we have not yet the correct
attitude towards the problem of juvenile delinquency. We dare say that it
ought to be tackled as an educational problem, and brought under the Depart-
ment of Education.